I'm currently reviewing my counterpoint, 20th century techniques and analysis so I can be in top shape for Toronto in September. As I'm laboriously composing grim Lutheran chorales, desperately evading consecutive fifths to spare the kittens from death, it makes me wonder how Bach did it effortlessly every week. I'm naturally assuming everyone was more productive back in the 18th century without Netflix.
Brahms remarked that the best thing a composer can study is strict counterpoint. Generally, I agree though studying music history has done wonders for my creativity as well. After you learn all the rules, then you can learn when to tastefully break them in a composition. Just ask Bach about that, it seems he was quite good at it:
Tyler Versluis is a composer and pianist.