What classical music does for me:
I learn mostly from composers that I adore. Maurice Ravel, Fréderic Chopin, but also contemporary composers like Joe Hisaishi (Studio Gibli film score composer) and Ludovico Einaudi (composer of the soundtrack "The Untouchables“) inspire and, by that, teach me on many different levels. From Chopin I learned a lot of left hand patterns and structures for accompaniment of melodies that I compose. From Ravel I learned how to use certain scales to create a watery, flowing kind of element in music (For example "Jeux D’eau", a piece I first studied when I was about 15 or 16. It has a chromatic scale which creates the sound of flowing water, the name Jeux D’Eau means „Play of the Water“). Those two are highly sophisticated composers and especially Ravel has very complex structures in his compositions.
Ludovico Einaudi on the other hand taught me that music can be minimalistic, repetitive and very simple and still be immensely beautiful. It doesn’t always have to be complex and abstract to be „special“ or beautiful. For me personally this was a particularly important lesson, since my compositions and improvisations come most easy when I don’t judge myself or what I play. I had to allow the music to flow naturally and without the barriers of the mind that judges what comes along to develop my work further.