A few years ago, I wrote about a contemporary composer, Oscar Bettison. Interesting fellow, good composer, Fulham supporter. In one of our conversations, he recalled one of his composition teachers, Martijn Padding. Bettison, in the story, had just described to his teacher the next piece he wanted to compose. Oscar recalled Padding's response:
Martijn said, “No, you shouldn’t do that, because that’s the piece you can write. You should always write the piece that you can’t write. Never do the thing that you know you can do.” Which is the greatest piece of advice I’ve ever been given. Now I always try to make myself uncomfortable. I deliberately create problems and challenges for myself. The difficulty is kind of the attraction. It’s addictive, you know? Now, if stuff comes easy to me, I’m really, really suspicious of it. I don’t accept my own ideas. They’ve got to really prove themselves.