The experience of the flow state in live music performance
This study examined the optimal psychological state of flow in a live music performance context at an Australian tertiary music institution in order to advance understanding of this under-researched experience in music performance and education. The Flow State Scale-2 (FSS-2) was administered to 236 students from five instrument families immediately after their performance examinations. A further aim was to examine the psychometric properties of the FSS-2 in order to determine its suitability for use as a measure of flow in music performance domains. The findings provided the first empirical confirmation of the validity and reliability of the flow model in live music performance. The flow experience was found to be consistent with findings from sport performance and did not vary substantially according to instrument type, year level, or gender. Most students in the sample did not believe they were sufficiently skilled to meet the challenge of the performance and most did not experience it as absorbing or enjoyable. The implications of the findings for the enhancement of teaching and learning methods were examined. Future research directions were discussed, particularly in regards to psychological skills training to help improve the music performance experience.
Psychology of Music