I compose in a way that I believe little to no one else does, or I couldn’t teach someone how to write this way. But I literally compose everything in my head first from start to finish then go to staff paper to write out the basic themes and structures, then straight into Finale for live players or into a DAW for electronic fixed media simply trying to capture the sound in which I hear within my head. For extremely virtuosic music written for live professionals with complicated runs I will often write down the rhythms first then “find” the notes. Lastly, I will take an “acoustic” instrument to figure out correct flow and ornamentation. For pieces with 3 or 4 part harmony I don’t even need to hear it simply writing the melody first, then the bass, and lastly writing in the inner lines which are my favorite. Mozart wrote in this way also (EDIT for those reading: concerning his homophony writing.) If I am writing just for DAW then it’s not uncommon for me to have most of the composition written out. Then I will try to play in everything live keeping the natural human aspect. Next I will improvise lines using expressive sampled instruments or live instruments playing whatever feels right often discovering countermelodies and if it fits it stays even if “the math” doesn’t make any sense. Lastly I will add percussion if needed for accents, drive, and ambience. Also if I am writing solely for DAW without the intent of live performances, I will add noises just for texture and feel even if the ear doesn’t notice it. I will also commission other sound designers, musicians, or even actors if I need a certain sound, ambience, or even spoken text to enhance the composition to match the audible sound with what I’m hearing on the inside.