Category: Mind Power
"One of the best insights into how Mozart's creative process functioned comes from a letter he wrote in 1789. In this letter Mozart describes his strategy for composing music with impressive detail, outlining four basic stages in the composition process. He begins with the following description:
"When I am, as it were, completely myself, entirely alone, and of good cheer - say, traveling in a carriage, or walking after a good meal, or during the night when I cannot sleep; it is on such occasions that my ideas flow best and most abundantly. Whence and how they come, I know not; nor can I force them. Those pleasures that please me I retain in memory, and am accustomed, as I have been told, to hum them to myself."
Mozart starts by describing the psychological and emotional state from which his musical inspirations sprang. He begins by saying, "When I am ... completely myself..." Being 'completely oneself' bespeaks some sort of internal harmony and congruence on the identity level. There is no inner conflict or confusion about who one is. Being "entirely alone" indicates that he is not in any immediate relationship with another person. He is free to have an uninterrupted relationship with his own inner world. Mozart also specifies being "of good cheer" - being in a positive feeling state.
So, Mozart identifies three psychological conditions: being 1) congruent, 2) in an undisturbed inner relationship with himself and 3) in a positive feeling state.
He then identifies some physical conditions, giving the examples of "traveling in a carriage or walking after a good meal". These seem to imply some type of physical motion. Mozart does not just sit and think, there is some kind of accompanying movement.
Mozart continues by saying, " .. .it is on such occasions my ideas flow best and most abundantly". It is important to note that he does not say, "on such occasions I make my best music". The term "flow" indicates that the ideas arise naturally and without conscious control. It is almost as if he perceives his neurology as a kind of musical instrument that plays itself, and that by adjusting it correctly, the music will come out on its own. Mozart seems to focus on setting up the psychological and physical conditions that will allow musical ideas to emerge spontaneously and automatically."
— Robert B. Dilts, Strategies of Genius Volume 1 (Meta Publications, 1994)