For a long time, I thought of composers as these lofty beings, in touch with the innermost struggles of the human soul. I thought they heard bone chilling chords in their nightmares and heart-wrenching melodies in the most heated moments of passion. I thought that orchestration ideas sounded in every footstep they took on their daily walks. And I always linked those developments to emotion. Struggle. Passion. Inspiration. Otherworldly callings from the infinite depths of music.
I assumed it was a magical experience to write music.
And as someone who claimed to be a musician, someone who long ago dabbled in the creation of riffs and poorly constructed MIDI ideas, I felt frustrated when I did not feel those moments arise while writing music.
I thought for some reason I had failed.
I thought I was no good.
Years later, I've realized something that I never heard once from my composer mentors who always discussed the abstract and emotional in music. That music is in fact a blend of two elements, both parts equal and necessary and incomplete without the other.
Passion and intellect.
Emotional music will all sound the same without new and complex techniques, while disjunct and advanced techniques will mean nothing without emotional connection.
It is neither one, nor the other. It is neither a sole night of inspired composing, nor an endless week of drudging through hundreds of ideas. One begets the other. When one is lacking or absent, turn to the other. Write what you feel when what you know sounds terrible, and write what you know when what you feel is nothing but the product of emo trash.
But most importantly? Do it every day. Miring through the bad will bring out the good until decades from now, you create nothing but good. After all, my high school guitar teacher told me to throw away my first fifty ideas. I swore I never would.
Years later, I realize I have. And I have no regrets.