I couldn't resist - here is another early Red Book entry:
A Composer is a master Listener. Other Listeners find expression in the music of others, but for the Composer this is not enough. He listens, and wants to create his own. He listens, and hears music that could be. He listens, hearing something closer to the essence of music than has been captured before, then he strives, struggles, to express to others what he has heard, bringing to them a piece of the divine inspiration, carefully crafted, because although he is a master Listener, he can only hear shadows of the eternal fabric of music, and express them in whatever way he can best. Lesser Listeners hear what he has done and in turn create a lesser fragment...
Okay, here are a few modern (March 1, 2009) thoughts on the above:
I have since come to appreciate more and more the amount of effort, skill and craftsmanship required to bring even the smallest 'piece of the divine inspiration' to life. Rereading this entry made me think of the four and half years since then - I have learned so much about music, I have heard the music of hundreds of composers. Still, as I said then, "this is not enough." I feel now more than ever the need to create my own. Nothing that has gone before...satisfies what I need from music? ...expresses what I want to express in music? ...creates music just the way I long to hear it created? This seems to be the norm for composers...there is simply a deep-rooted urge to create my own music, no matter how similar to existing music or how groundbreaking it will be. It is like a constant hunger. At times when I'm not composing much (like this busy school year) I am constantly looking for new music, new composers, hoping to find something that quenches some part of that musical thirst. But until I write my own, nothing is enough. The best effect I can hope for from any other music is that it will inspire me even more in how to write my own.
A composer is...a frustrated listener until he can listen to his own music.
The other day I had that opportunity: I walked into the Snow (music) building on campus at BYU-Idaho and heard my recently composed hymn being sung down the hall by the 100+ member University Choir that will perform my hymn next Wednesday at the Hymn Festival here. I tell you, the experience of unexpectedly hearing my own music coming from someone else is one I intend to repeat in my life as much as possible.
What else do you think a composer is?