Talents and Skills Thesaurus Entry: Musicality

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. 

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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:

Musicality: Instinct or Acquired Skill?

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.

About BECCA PUGLISI

Becca Puglisi is an international speaker, writing coach, and bestselling author of The Emotion Thesaurus and its sequels. Her books are available in five languages, are sourced by US universities, and are used by novelists, screenwriters, editors, and psychologists around the world. She is passionate about learning and sharing her knowledge with others through her Writers Helping Writers blog and via One Stop For Writers—a powerhouse online library created to help writers elevate their storytelling. You can find Becca online at both of these spots, as well as on Facebook and Twitter.
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6 Responses to Talents and Skills Thesaurus Entry: Musicality

  1. Pingback: Cynsational Information & Giveaways | TiaMart Blog

  2. Interesting concept for a talent – immediately made me think of Kvothe in Rothfuss’ The Name of the Wind.

  3. Auyan says:

    This one’s actually a mixed blessing, and not in the way you’d expect. You don’t (usually) have to deal with obsessive parents or horribly written parts on the radio. But when you have Solsbury Hill (written in 7/4 because the universe hates me) stuck in your head, it’s not going away, you hear every note because your brain is perfectly capable of simulating them (instead of, say, a simple melody you could ignore) and therefore refuses to do anything less, and any other song that you hear while it’s there will sound out of time. 7/4 is a horrible time signature.

  4. Great entry, Becca! I wish I had been born with that bent, but alas! The MC from my MG book (The Disorderlies) has an artistic ability. Maybe I should look for an entry of yours on that!

    Thanks!
    Beth

  5. fran w says:

    Muscians also need to create music. I read a novel once where a proffessional violinist ended up back in medievel time without her violin; the Author didn’t relay the heartache this would have caused her. She also would have been learning another instrument to keep sane. As a musician it was frustrating to read this lack of depth or reality of the character.

  6. I can sing but not play anything. I sometimes over the years wanted to play the piano or a violin but I could never afford either.

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