Originally Posted by cylon
I find myself really struggling with this, I've been a graphic designer for years now, but of course my passion is music, so I've decided to put my focus there... wondering how the two could mix. I suppose I can use it to promote my music, but I still love graphics, just not as much as music. And, graphics is more "practical", music is "a dream".
I always wondered if my knowledge from one field helped me in another, completely un-related field. Would my problem-solving from graphics result in different approaches to song-writing.
Steve if you're reading this, I'm sure you know the phrase "jack of all trades master of none". You talk a lot about skill, and how it should be developed. If you spread yourself out, isn't your skill development in one area naturally going to suffer since it gets less attention?
I think you are answering your own questions there. You like bits of graphic design, including its practicality, but your passion is music. I'm a musician myself, so I can definitely relate to the conflict -- as music can take a lot of time to develop sufficient skills to do well.
1) Absolutely, I encourage you to keep exploring the path of combining what you have. Each skill in itself may not be something to write home about, but the unique combination that only you can create has a potency to become a totally unique output. Music and visual art can combine in so many ways, I'd think you'll find it an exciting terrain to explore. You could make visual effects for live music shows, or multimedia presentations, or create music videos and post a bunch on YouTube -- all with your unique brand of music and visual identity. There's no need to piece yourself apart into separate disciplines. They are parts of you that make up the whole -- no need to break your whole down and reduce yourself to the pieces.
2) This may not apply to you, but I do think that some people become Jack of all trades because they are primarily unfocused and undisciplined. To master any discipline, you have to overcome some obstacles -- and this takes some will power. If running away from obstacles is a reason why someone ends up becoming Jack, then that's not good.
People with diverse interests still can find common threads between his/her interests by examining closely which part of that activity engages you. For example, I was trained as a musician, but like many of us, I ventured out into web developing out of necessity. They are both very creative work, and I enjoy making up something by piecing things together. The same thing can be said of my interest in writing and blogging. And of entrepreneurship and marketing. It's all very creative work -- and I find satisfaction in any aspect. Music still has a special place in my heart, as it expresses parts of me that are untouchable through other disciplines. But the creative skill I honed through my music is transferrable, and I do feel comfortable calling myself a master of that.
So to sum up, don't become Jack because of lack of discpline -- instead, find the common thread among your interests and focus on that.