Being a songwriter requires many skills, from lyric writing to melody creation, ideally basic music theory knowledge as well as piano or guitar skills to give you all the tools it takes! If you are a singer/songwriter you most likely also focus on vocal technique, performance skills and the like.
To acquire all those skills takes practice! There is no shortcut to getting good at something! It takes a certain amount of time you need to put in! Take it or leave it!
If you are a focused and disciplined mind, that should be no problem. Most creatives however, struggle with staying committed and focused on only one or two things at once and enjoy hopping into various fields and come up with different ideas instead! This constant “change of interests” and “need for new stimulations” is a key element for coming up with new ideas and concepts and is a big strength within the creative process. Psychologists call these type of people “scanners”.
While scanners gain knowledge in a wide range of disciplines quickly, they do encounter challenges when turning their knowledge into actual skills.
While gaining knowledge doesn’t require the dedicated, persistent focus, learning a skill, definitely does! Repeating the same things over and over is keys.
You may find yourself starting too many projects, and quitting too soon, or you may get distracted constantly. You probably put a lot of pressure on yourself for not pulling through! I can tell you this: You shouldn´t be too hard on yourself! Being a scanner does have many advantages, too! You see the bigger picture much easier than people that are invested in one field of expertise only!
If you identify as said scanner personality and want to learn playing an instrument or become better as a writer, the following strategy might help you become an expert
Think in terms of intense workshops!
Instead of forcing yourself to sit down in front of the piano, or guitar or whatever it is you want to learn every Monday for the rest of your life, try this instead:
Focus on one topic for 30 days only. Pick a different topic each month and focus on getting as good as you could within these 30 days.
Picture this: November could be guitar month, while December might be vocal month etc.Take all the courses you can find online, practice every day in the morning and at night and have fun with it! Pretend like you only have those 30 days (and not a lifetime of Mondays) left for it. The time shortage might keep you interested and engaged!
Why it works?
As a scanner you probably love diving deep into certain topics and skills for a while, right before getting bored. Make sure “time is on your side”!
Take full advantage of your deep diving lust! You may find, that as you get better quickly, you will actually keep diving a bit longer than just 30 days in a row. You may start enjoying to practice! Or, if you don´t, you´ll can just focus on something completely different the month after.
In order to maintain the skills you learned within a 30-day period, it will be necessary to keep applying some of those new tricks regularly…but that can come in the form of playing songs (instead of practicing them), performing and having fun. No more “excersises”.
I generally encourage you to not focus on exercises only anyway, but on applying these exercises in different contexts instead. Luckily music offers many opportunities and new lands to discover!
You can sit in front of the piano and practice chord shapes every day. But that won´t make it easy for you to actually play these chords in songs. Instead…just start playing the songs and you´ll learn the chord shapes automatically. Find new songs everyday to prevent getting bored!
Think of it this way
If you were to learn a new language and were focusing on vocabulary only, how could you ever become fluent? Wouldn´t it be easier to make up conversations in your head or translate lyrics and the likes in order to put down associations for all those new words and understand them in different contexts?
Same goes for music!
Now, try diving deep into whatever field you want to invest time and energy into and go hunting for success as long as you are hungry! But don´t judge yourself, if you want to go back to the beach and sunbath in between fishing sessions!! You don´t have to be a fish in order to be a good swimmer! A dolphin gets the best of both worlds! Diving deep and jumping high! So embrace your true nature, get wild and don´t be shy to go grasp for air whenever you need to! 😉