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Advice for the Emerging Composer, Distilled

December 21, 2012 at 12:03 pm UTC

If you want to learn to compose, compose a piece of music. Don’t ask anyone how to do it. Look at other scores, write your best piece, FINISH IT and then get real human beings to perform it. You will learn more from that single experience than you ever will from a teacher.

  • Matt Nielsen

    Taking finished pieces to a trusted mentor to critique has been the best learning experience for me.

  • Russ Davis

    I’m not surprised that’s true for obvious divine geniuses like Eric and Bach (the latter of whom “learned” from copying the scores of others) and maybe Matt Nielsen above too, but those of us who are mere lower mortals need teachers! — like manifestly wonderful teachers Eric and Bach (manifest from their students in multiple venues)! What wonderful guys; I wonder if in our age of epidemic familylessess and especially fatherlessness Eric has considered how profoundly him uniquely being a husband and a dad and a dad of a son has been in God so marvelously shaping his brilliant life.

  • Russ Davis

    PS As seen with St Paul & John Rutter, unbelief is no limit for Almighty Father God working miracles in one’s life, for that’s not how the divinely orchestrated journey of coming to His gift of faith works, as the great C. S. Lewis found out. The free pdf book “Don’t waste your life” (also available in printed form) at has great insights on this great anticipation of divine joy.

  • Jerry Merkel

    Thanks Eric :) PS. River Cam was the best piece on Water Night, most used christmas gift ever.

  • Jacob

    I never took this advice from my teachers… they even spoon-fed this advice to me. Almost verbatim. I’ve finally heard it from my idol.


    I’ll take it seriously now. I promise.

  • Luca

    Thanks Eric for these words :) you make me happy and i want to write other several pieces, i want to make music. Now, in the last 18 months i wrote 7 pieces for large orchestra, but the hard thing is i can’t find someone who wants to perform my music (well, i have to share the full scores before searching ;-) ).
    Thanks again :)