FLOW FOR MUSICIANS
Music teaching is a wonderfully fulfilling yet demanding profession that requires incredibly patience, energy and dedication! Teaching in Flow enables teachers to enhance their experience and skills by learning unique methods to guide students to optimise their practice and performance, by reducing anxiety and increasing creativity.
Having a successful international career in Europe as a performer and teacher, I have recently returned home to Australia to share the knowledge and expertise I have gained about the beauty and the passion of music, with audiences and students. Through directing and leading orchestras and ensembles in both Europe and Australia, I have developed many skills required in a position of leadership, including motivating and inspiring students and professionals, and a determination to aim for and achieve the highest possible result. Presenting master-classes, lectures and workshops, I have also been able to develop a keen awareness of the needs of students to allow them to become masters themselves in the performance of music.
I have had the unique opportunity to research my studies on Flow with Andreas Burzik and Eve Newsome and develop and present courses on Practising in Flow for music students and workshops on Teaching in Flow in Europe and Australia, since 2005. This unique methodology enables musicians to have an increased enjoyment of music-making, a reduction in anxiety, frustration and boredom, an ability to remain rejuvenated whilst playing, an ability to learn and absorb musical information in a deep and permanent way, an opportunity to create a unique and individual playing style, an ability to be spontaneous whilst performing, a deeper understanding of the mind/body connection and an opportunity to achieve full musical and expressive potential.
My personal experience of Flow is of having uninterrupted time and an inspiring space to be completely immersed in music, whether practising, rehearsing, teaching, recording or performing. By becoming fully involved in the creative process one loses track of time and the stresses of the world disappear and you find an inner peace and happiness. A sense of achievement and joy takes over when you are in this state of Flow where everything feels effortless and you are in touch with all your senses at once. Your imagination runs wild and you feel completely connected to the earth at the same time. This wonderful balance and ease settles where your brain is usually occupied with a thousand jostling thoughts, allowing you to focus on one thought, one motion, one sound and make it the most beautiful you have ever heard!
based on the work of csikszentmihalyi
A GUIDE TO FLOW
Prerequisites to Flow
Clarity of goals and immediate feedback
Balance between ability and challenge
A high degree of concentration/focus on a limited field
A sensation of heightened control
Effortlessness of action
An altered perception of time
The melting together of actions and consciousness
Benefits of Flow
Focus & engagement
Balance & connectedness
Impediments to Flow
Practising, Performing and Teaching
Solo, Chamber and Orchestral Repertoire
WHAT DO YOU NEED TO ASK YOURSELF TO PREPARE FOR FLOW?
How do I feel right now?
How much energy do I have?
Am I bored OR am I anxious?
Or am I just trying to be too perfect?
By bringing yourself into the present moment with these questions, you can begin to focus your energy. Our state of awareness and our environment is constantly fluctuating, so these questions can help you to bring you into a state of Flow at any moment.
SIMPLE AND EFFECTIVE FLOW IDEAS FOR MUSICIANS
In practising and performing music, Flow is achieved through four basic steps: continuous contact with the instrument, developing a sense of resonance produced by the instrument and one’s body, an ease in playing which is enhanced through movement and the use of improvisation to study repertoire.
FEEL - be aware of your creature comforts
MOVE - allow yourself to move, your body is intelligent!
ENGAGE - be mindful of your energy level
TOUCH - enjoy the contact with your instrument
RESONATE - search for overtones
IMPROVISE - play around with the music
SLOW DOWN - enter the sound world of each and every note
HOW CAN YOU APPLY FLOW TO YOUR WORK?
- Set realistic and obtainable goals
- Awareness of your skills and abilities
- Awareness of the challenge of the goal
- Trust confidence in your own abilities
- Remove judgement
- Remove external expectations
- Create your own space and time
- Reduce distractions and interruptions
Article published by ABRSM NZ
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