The inspiration to compose – whether in general or a specific piece – can come from anywhere.

When people think of classical music, they often think of it as something from the past: perhaps performed in tony concert halls or baroque churches, but not necessarily a part of modern life.

But TJ Bruce knows that’s not the case, as he’s recently been greatly inspired by the classical composing of 38-year-old composer Wilbert Roget II, whose work is most often heard in video games such as Call of Duty: WWII.

“I grew up listening to almost every genre of music, rock, pop, indie, country, rap… It’s only been recently that I really started listening to classical music. Michael Salvatori, who did the music for Halo, expanded my knowledge of how classical music can be composed, and Roget’s “Brotherhood of Heroes” really strikes me.”

Only 16, TJ started composing when he was in the 6th grade, after joining his school band. He was intrigued by sheet music and headed to Google to find out more. Tapping “composing websites”, he quickly discovered Flat.

“My experience has always been great! I’ve tried out some other apps too, but I always come back to Flat, in my opinion nothing else comes even close.”

As he’s grown as a composer, TJ’s been able to take advantage of a key Flat feature, instrument playback, and often in ways that surprise him.

“I had to realize that instruments don’t have just one purpose. An acoustic guitar isn’t just for country music, a trumpet isn’t just to signal a climax… It’s up to you as the composer, but it took me a while to figure that out.”

He also figured out another big aspect of composing, namely that you sometimes need to get out of your own head.

“You can’t force creativity! I try to compose from the soul now, not just my mind. Obviously the mind is there for more complex parts, but I’m really working on trying to let inspiration flow.”

TJ hopes to continue with music as a career, following in the footsteps of those who have inspired him.

“Music means so much to me, how it can make people feel the same thing, or completely different things, is astounding. It’s the most beautiful abstract art. So I’ll keep going, maybe one day I’ll get to see my name on the credits of a movie or video game.”

Good luck TJ, the whole team at Flat is rooting for you!