1. All truly inspired ideas come from God, and the consciousness of being inspired by him. Your religiosity will make you more conscious and aware of that fact, and of the fact that God is nearer to you than others in your craft, and that you can consort with him without fear.
2. The contact of inspiration though God cannot be done merely by will power working through the conscious mind, which is an evolutionary product of the physical realm and perishes with the body. It can only be accomplished by the soul-powers within - the real ego that survives bodily death. Those powers are quiescent to the conscious mind unless illumined by Spirit.
3. To realize that we are one with the Creator, as Beethoven did, is a wonderful and awe-inspiring experience. Very few human beings ever come into that realization and that is why there are so few great composers or creative geniuses in any line of human endeavor. All this should always be contemplated before commencing to compose. This is the first step.
4. When the urge to compose is present, appeal directly to the Maker and ask Him three most important questions pertaining to our life here in this world - whence, wherefore, whither [woher, warum, wohin]? This appeal will immediately manifest feelings of vibrations that will thrill your whole being. These are the Spirit illuminating the soul-power within, and in this exalted state, you can clearly see what is obscure in your ordinary moods; then you feel capable of drawing inspiration from above, as Beethoven did. These vibrations assume the forms of distinct mental images, after you have formulated your desire and resolve in regard to what you want - namely, to be inspired so that you can compose something that will uplift and benefit humanity - something of permanent value. Straightaway the ideas will flow upon you, directly from God, and not only should you see distinct themes in you mind's eye, but they also will be clothed in the right forms, harmonies and orchestration. Only with divine inspiration will finished product be revealed to you, measure by measure.
5. Most of the time you have to be or will be in a semi-trance condition to get such results - a condition when the conscious mind is in temporary abeyance and the subconscious mind, which is part of Omnipotence, that the inspiration comes; and to be careful, however, not to lose consciousness, otherwise the ideas will fade away. That is the way Mozart composed, and when asked what the process was with him while composing, he replied: "The process with me is like a vivid dream". He then went on and described how ideas, clothed in the proper musical setting, streamed down upon him. God and His Omnipotence, His awe-inspiring grandeur, His glory, and above all his closeness to you are things that should be pondered on just before commencing to compose. It is most stimulating and inspiring process to think along those lines before entering that trance-like state in which inspirations come.
6. The dream-like state is like entering a trance-like condition - hovering between being asleep and awake; you are still conscious but right on the border of losing consciousness, and it is at such moments that inspired ideas come. Then it is of the utmost importance to put the ideas down on paper immediately. Then they are fixed and cannot escape; and when you look as them again, they conjure up that same mood that gave them birth. This is a very important law. Themes that occur this way usually are the ones that will endure.
7. Spirit is the light of the soul. Spirit is universal. Spirit is the creative energy of the Cosmos. The soul of man is not conscious of it's powers until it is enlightened by Spirit. Therefore, to evolve and grow, man must learn how to use and develop his own soul forces. All great creative geniuses do this, although some of them do not seem to be as conscious of the process as others. Beethoven was aware of the fact that he was inspired and he left records to that effect.
8. All true inspiration emanates from God, and can reveal Himself through that spark of divinity within - through that psychologists call the subconscious mind. Any composer capable of entering into that state can create immortal works, only in believing in which no less an authority than Jesus, Himself, says, in John 14:10 "The Father that dwelleth in Me, He doeth the works, and in the 12th Verse of the same chapter, He adds, "He that believeth Me, the works that I do shall he do also, and greater works than these shall he do". All these things mentioned here have a direct bearing on the mental, psychic and spiritual processes when attempting to compose. The powers from which all truly great composers like Mozart, Schubert, Bach and Beethoven drew their inspirations is the same powers that enabled Jesus to perform His miracles. We call it God, Omnipotence, Divinity, the Creator, etc. It is a power of All that created our earth and the whole universe, and Jesus taught us that we can appropriate it for our own upbuilding right here and now and also earn Eternal Life. Jesus is very explicit in Matthew 7:7, saying, "Ask and it shall be given you, seek and ye shall find; knock and it shall be opened unto you". There would not be so much good music paper wasted in fruitless attempts to compose if those great precepts were better understood. That is why atheists works are utterly lacking in inspiration. Their works are purely cerebral. The great Nazarene knew that law also, and He proclaimed it in John 15:4, "The branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine." No atheist has ever been or will be a great composer. Jesus taught us that there is true supreme hope for all. He came not as the great exception, but as the great example for us to emulate. Adherence to can create nothing but divine values and an alliance with the Creator, that is capable of a life on earth full of inspiration and masterpieces of music to accompany that life for others to witness. This is the secret of inspiration; which is the ability to synchronize the conscious and subconscious minds, just as Jesus did, but on a much higher level.
9. Inspiration is of such importance in composing, but by no means all that there is to it. Structure is just as consequential, for without craftsmanship, inspiration is a 'mere reed shaken in the wind' or 'sounding brass or tinkling cymbals'. Great compositions are not the fruits of inspiration alone, but of severe, laborious and painstaking toil. No composition will live long unless it has both inspiration and craftsmanship, which Beethoven had to a superlative degree. There also must be in relation, with inspiration and craftsmanship, a natural aptitude, where ideas come to you with more or less no conscious effort, with a sense of comfort and relative ease, like a aspiration being fulfilled. But parallel to that, as seen in Beethoven's sketchbooks, comes the proof that he toiled incessantly in order to leave us such masterpieces. Only with your religiosity, God's inspiration, and the utilization of all three, can one achieve mastery of classical music composition and achieve true fame and immortality, which is what oblivion constantly tries to challenge. This is the proven universal formula for success in music and any and all other endeavors of human life.
10. Another aspect of this art which is extremely vital and demands great emphasis, is privacy. It should be unthinkable of attempting to compose unless you are sure you will not be interrupted or disturbed. The Muse is a very jealous entity, and she will fly away on the slightest provocation.
11. A composer who wishes to write worth-while music must devote his whole time and energy to that one occupation.
12. A composer in order to study, learn and absorb all that the masters have to offer, and put to use that knowledge in his own works, must have the capacity to judge objectively an individuality that differs from his own.
Compiled from Talks with Great Composers: Candid Conversations with Brahms, Puccini, Strauss, and Others by Arthur M. Abell. New York: Carol Publishing Group, Citadel Press, (1955), 1994, 182 pp. ISBN 0-8065-1565-1