This project is a small scale investigation of various factors concerning "Flow" in Piano Performance. "Flow" is the sweet spot where ability and challenge are about equal, and usually high (Csikszentmihalyi 1990). Piano performance is a state of playing the piano with some intent to perform. In this case, the intent is to create something new or improvise. Improvisation is one form of expressive creativity on the piano stemming from some knowledge and extrapolation upon that knowledge (Nachmanovitch 82). Creativity is essential to the development of new music, and though extensive literature exists on both creativity and music independently, there is a gap in research regarding links between the two (Macdonald et al. 2006). This project aims to address some of these gaps by working with piano players and non-musicians of various technical skill levels to examine the "Flow" state in improvisation as well as potential factors affecting creative performance. Factors such as listening, self-confidence, frustration in methodology, and meditation practices were found to correlate positively with technical skill. Participants who completed the practice program were able to reconstruct challenges and enter the "Flow" state in improvisation regardless of high or low technical scores.
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