Canadian composer (and long-time friend o’ mine) Robert Bruce has just published the second of three books in his series In Between the Lines.

I think Perspectives on Writing Inspired Music is so important that it should be absolutely required reading for all music teachers and students.

From Robert’s website:

In Between the Lines – Book Two: Perspectives on Writing Inspired Music offers an unprecedented collection of practical and unusually vivid insights into the inner workings of writing music and the creative process, and is presented with a thoroughness and level of detail that won’t likely be found in any other writing on the subject. All of composer/author Robert Bruce’s most far-reaching secrets, gathered over almost four decades of writing inspired music, are shared in an easy to follow overview that addresses many subtle and usually-unspoken concerns and gives the reader a great deal of solid ground to stand on in creative matters.

“Possibly the most encouraging and ‘cut to the chase’ writing on composition ever published, this book without a doubt has the reader’s interests at heart and will help practically any composer connect some of the inner, intuitive dots in ways that anticipate and inevitably lead toward the desired end result of adding more life and vitality to his or her own original music, regardless of its style or genre. The reader is invited into a world of pure creativity and inspiration and may take from it as many ideas as he or she deems desirable for his or her own creative/musical purposes.

“The author not only clearly explains how to develop one’s own compositional method and style but also details a number of elements that can be potentially damaging or confining to the creative process, particularly in the earlier stages of development when one’s habits, patterns and working methods are formed. Some of the things to be cautious of are so commonplace, subtle and seemingly innocent in nature that they are very often overlooked.”


“Cut to the chase” is an understatement. Robert pulls no punches, especially on the disastrous effects of misguided pedagogy on aspiring young composers.

In music composition, perhaps more than any other creative field, the aspirant must find his/her own unique way. Having devoted nearly four decades to seeking his own compositional voice and delving into the deeply personal process that this requires, Robert understands this probably more clearly than most. He does a great job of pointing the way for anyone who’s interested, regardless of their place along the path.

The first chapter is available for free download, and after reading it I believe you’ll find the book worth well worth buying.

I can’t recommend this book enough to anyone who’s interested in music, whether as composer, performer, teacher, student or listener.