Windows of opportunity may feel like they’re closing, but becoming creative can open them again.
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If you’re reading this and you’ve had very young children in your life, you know that the world of make-believe is important to them. It seems as though at least 75% of a child’s day is taken up with pretending, and using their imagination in very creative ways. Think about how odd that would be if we spent 75% of our adult lives in play and imagination. At any given moment, a child can pretend that they are anyone they choose – a pirate, a mother or father, a fireman, and these days even a CEO. Creative play is a necessary part of intellectual development in the young mind.
We often talk about the “window of opportunity” as it pertains to the arts. And what is usually meant by that term is that the older you are before you involve yourself in creative activities, the more difficult it is to have those activities feel natural or easy. Sadly, we often speak of the window of opportunity closing. When do we ever speak of an opening window of opportunity?
The term “window of opportunity,” however, is one of those unfortunate expressions that becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Just the very mention of the term implies that it is a verity that needs to be dealt with.
If you’re an adult and you don’t remember using your creative skills as a child, particularly with regard to music, you probably wonder if there’s any point to even trying. How good a songwriter can you be if you’ve never even dabbled in it before your adulthood?
There are several important reasons to believe that songwriting can be fulfilling to anyone, no matter what their age or previous musical experience is:
- Those childhood imagination games have lifelong benefits. You may think that your creative mind has atrophied, but those games you played as a child, when you dressed up as a pirate and put a patch over your eye, stimulated the creative part of your brain and set it up for life! That’s true even if you don’t recall playing those games. You are creative today because of those games you played 20, 30, 40 or more years ago.
- Humans are naturally creative. All people should include activities in their life that require their brains to invent.
- Creativity improves with time. Creativity is not a fixed commodity. Creative activities, like musical composition, tap into creative abilities that were forged in your brain as a baby and very young chid.
In the world of classical music, composers are considered “fully developed” and mature usually only by the time they reach their 40s. By that age, they are creating some of the best music of their careers. It’s surprising that we often think the best songwriters are in their 20s. This isn’t true. It happens that the subject matter of most songs (love, the social scene, breaking up, etc.) are topics that appeal to young people. But the best music is arguably written by older writers.
If you’re wondering if your best years are past you, the answer is no. For every day you engage in a creative activity, your mind becomes better able to create, imagine and visualize.
There is no “best before” date when it comes to songwriting. Any age is the best age for you to start. Don’t let fear or intimidation stop you from diving into songwriting, or any musical activity. You may very well be opening up the floodgates of creativity in a way you never thought possible!
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