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Flow said the Crow...

Updated: Aug 14, 2023

Making music is another activity where, encountering a flow state, a term coined by psychologist Mihály Csíkszentmihályi which is not only desirable, but beneficial. A flow state is one where an

individual finds themselves so immersed in an activity that awareness of time and self-consciousness cease to exist and continual creativity is heightened.

There is so much one can say about a flow state. I was surprised to find so many benefits. In addition to making activities more enjoyable, flow also has

a number of other advantages:

• Emotional Regulation

• Fulfillment and Happiness

• Intrinsic Motivation

• Engagement and Performance

• Learning, Skill Development, and Creativity

In fact…In this flow state, I am noticing my need to take a pause and go do other things. See you in a bit.

Ok, I am back…

How does music making create a beneficial atmosphere for a flow state?

• Total concentration (You are fully immersed in what you are doing, nothing disturbs you: not even your critical or praising thoughts)

• Autotelic experience (The experience in flow is intrinsically rewarding)

• Action and awareness merges (The activity you are doing becomes spontaneous, almost automatic; there is a feeling that the task and you are united)

• Sense of control (Being in control)

• Loss of self-consciousness (In a flow state, you are too involved in the activity to care about protecting your ego, you just are immersed in the activity which you enjoy doing)

• A distorted sense of time (The experience that time transforms)

(credit: Emese Hruska)

How do we access this state while making music?

It’s not an exciting answer: PRACTICE. When we commit to practicing something regularly, the varying components that we generally need to think about as beginners start to fall into place and become second nature. Our critical voices get quieter and we merge with the activity as though we are one.

Do you need to be highly skilled musician to access a flow state with music? It helps, but many rivers flow to the ocean. Even short practice sessions where you concentrate on skill building until you “got it” will allow you to access a flow state.

Float on over to Sound Nouris

hment and let’s forget some things as we flow down the river together.

Until soon – be well :-)

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