As writers, we want to make our characters as unique and interesting as possible. One way to do this is to give your character a special skill or talent that sets him apart from other people. This might be something small, like having a green thumb or being good with animals, to a larger and more competitive talent like stock car racing or being an award-winning film producer.
When choosing a talent or skill, think about the personality of your character, his range of experiences and who his role models might have been. Some talents might be genetically imparted while others are created through exposure (such as a character talented at fixing watches from growing up in his father’s watch shop) or grow out of interest (archery, wakeboarding, or magic). Don’t be afraid to be creative and make sure the skill or talent is something that works with the scope of the story.
Description: having a natural talent for music in one or more of its forms: singing, playing musical instruments, composing, conducting, etc.
Beneficial Strengths or Abilities: having an ear for pitch; being able to hear parts, as opposed to only melodies; being able to recreate a piece of music once it has been heard; having a basic understanding of music theory
Character Traits Suited for this Skill or Talent: analytical, creative, disciplined, focused, industrious, inspirational, meticulous, passionate, sensual, studious, talented, perfectionistic
Required Resources and Training: When it comes to musicality, many people are born with a bent in that direction; there definitely can be a genetic component. This bent is often developed by frequent exposure to music.
Formal training in the form of lessons, classes, and schools that specialize in the arts has been proven to improve musicality, though it’s not always necessary. Many people with a knack for music have no formal training but instead hone their gift by studying the greats and surrounding themselves with music. And there are, of course, the rare examples of true prodigies like Mozart, Chopin, and Yo-Yo Ma, whose musical abilities seem to exist and flourish without much instruction at all. Despite these exceptions, whether classically trained or self-taught, disciplined practice is almost always a necessary part of becoming an accomplished musician.
Associated Stereotypes: child prodigies, idiot savants, talented children who are driven by obsessive or controlling stage parents
Associated Perceptions: gifted musicians being socially awkward
Scenarios Where this Skill Might be Useful:
- When the adult caregiver is unable to work and the family needs money
- In a culture where the arts are highly valued
- In a society where musicality is rare
- When a character is in need of validation and self-confidence
- In a stressful environment where music can bring solace and hope to others
- When an oppressed group of people need or want to be reminded of their culture or shared history (as was the case with African-American slaves)
Resources for Further Information:
You can brainstorm other possible Skills and Talents your characters might have by checking out our FULL LIST of this Thesaurus Collection. And for more descriptive help for Setting, Symbolism, Character Traits, Physical Attributes, Emotions, Weather and more, check out our Thesaurus Collections page.