Flow in Music Performance: From Theory to Educational Applications


  • Katarina Habe University of Ljubljana, Academy of Music, Ljubljana, Slovenia
  • Michele Biasutti University of Padova, FISPPA, Padova, Italy


flow, musicians, music performance, strategies for inducing flow, improvisation


Flow is a specific state of consciousness when people are completely immersed and concentrated on a task, that they lose the sense of time, and feel as if doing things unconsciously. This article aims to provide a brief overview of the flow in music, focused on music performance, and shed light on aspects such as psychological correlates, occurrence and educational applications. Our objective is to build a bridge between theory and practice examining the implications of flow for improving the musical practice. Several studies analyse flow in various musical activities, including improvisation/composition, listening and performance. Music improvisation is considered one of the most crucial pedagogical tools for promoting flow from the early years of music education on. Flow in music performance is the most extensively studied, and practical implications to facilitate optimal experience and flow conditions could be developed. In the final part of the article, educational strategies for inducing flow are proposed based on the nine characteristics of flow (Csikszentmihalyi, 1990).