I once attended a lecture by Ray Bradbury at Pasadena City College. He knew that most of those in attendance were aspiring writers and so what he talked about was writing. The lecture had a very profound effect on me.
One of the things that Bradbury said was that, if you wanted to be a writer, you should read and read and then it would start coming back out.
This was counterintuitive to the standard think about becoming a composer. I had even heard it voiced that, if you wanted to do anything original, you should shut yourself away from other music in case you ‘subconsciously’ stole from other composers.
What really happens, in the case of music, is you listen and listen and what comes back is a reflection of how you like to hear music. This is predicated on the idea that you are really honest with yourself about what you like and what you don’t.
Obviously I wouldn’t be writing this if I didn’t think that this was something quite unique in our society; people who know their selves well enough that they can be totally honest about what they like to hear.
Music, of course, is just one example of this thing I’m talking about but we will stick to talking about music.
I, of course, have met people that I thought could be very honest with their selves but I observe quite a lot of people that make me wonder if they know their selves at all.
Society provides us with compelling reasons to like a particular thing such as music. One of the most compelling is peer approval. There are many other reasons such as intellectual pride or political or religious considerations.
Personally, I think you should beware whenever what you like is prefaced with a reason or two, or three.
"An artist is someone who has learned to trust in himself" Ludwig Van Beethoven