Are Musicians More Sensitive?

Jonathan pours his soul into his music.
Jonathan pours his soul into his music.

Jonathan Evans, as you know, is a gifted musician. He picked up the violin when he was only a child, and it became his world. He loved practicing, listening to music, and learning to express himself through the songs he played.

Like Jonathan, I, too, am a musician. I began playing piano at age four and went on to study at the Conservatory of Music in Kansas City. I also loved practicing, listening to music, and expressing my thoughts and feelings through music.

Are musicians perhaps more emotional and more sensitive than other people? That’s a question I’ve been exploring recently as I’ve been watching Jonathan’s story unfold. His father, Edgar, brought up the question one day as he pondered his son’s recent behavior. Jonathan, it seems, has become a bit of a player, and not in the musical sense. In other words, he’s doing a lot of skirt-chasing, getting emotionally involved with several young women, and no doubt charming them right into his bed.

Here are the thoughts going on inside Edgar’s head:

And Jonathan? Well, that boy is so busy he doesn’t even call. Being a musician is a fine profession, but maybe it doesn’t provide the right amount of structure for Jonathan. Maybe he’s too sensitive, too emotional, too passionate. In other words, maybe he’s spending too much time chasing after love. Or lust. More likely lust.

Edgar’s thoughts sparked a bit of curiosity. I could identify with thoughts of being too sensitive and too emotional. Is this common among musicians? For an answer, I turned to one of the reference books on my shelf: The Writer’s Guide to Character Traits by Linda N. Edelstein, Ph. D.

Although her research suggests that musicians are generally introverted and unadventurous, reserved and sober, she also indicates that, indeed, musicians can be more imaginative than others and much more emotionally sensitive.

The “introverted”, “unadventurous”, “reserved” and “sober” traits hardly apply to most well-known musicians. No one would ever use those terms to refer to Metallica’s James Hetfield or country music star, Blake Shelton, or many other popular musicians from a variety of genres. In fact, most successful musicians are extroverted and out-going. They love showing off and performing on stage.

In that regard, Jonathan seems to have much in common with many of the greats, yet he definitely still has that sensitive, imaginative, and passionate side to his nature. He’s also learning to use it to his advantage as he charms the young ladies he meets.

Music speaks to us. For those in the performing arts, music also speaks for us. It can express thoughts and emotions that can never be put into words.