Despite it being the busiest part of my school year and busier than usual, I have taken advantage of odd moments to complete my transcription of Harold Budd’s 1982 piano solo Children on the Hill. A friend asks if I couldn’t persuade Harold to transcribe his own damn solo, but that’s beside the point: there is nothing, I think, more educational than transcribing or arranging a work of art you particularly admire. I could never have internalized the piece so deeply from playing through another person’s transcription. And I do a lot of such work for no practical benefit beyond the enlargement of my own musicality. I have a full, playable piano transcription of Ives’s Third Symphony that I wrote several years ago and presumably can do nothing with, because of copyright issues; and also partial piano arrangements of Harris’s Third Symphony and Sibelius’s Fourth, works whose inner logic I wanted to imbibe in full. Mozart learned to compose by copying out the works of others and turning sonatas by lesser composers into his own early concertos. I don’t know a more efficient way to become a composer.