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Zlata Brouwer

Practicing in flow

February 13, 2013 at 3:17 PM

Just yesterday I read a German article (some English explanation here) about making music and practicing in 'flow'... I recognized exactly the feeling that I have while playing violin. Violin playing is meditation for me. It's not just study or work, it's spiritual and healing.

It's funny to read an article to learn something new and to realize you are already doing what is written there.

I played violin all morning today and when I left from home to my work. The sun shined, I heard birds whistling and everything seemed to be all right, simple and one. My mind was clear and focussed. It was like the world was music... that this morning I had made de world music.

But very soon I landed on my feet... I had to mind all the traffic, when I got at my work I got thousand of phone calls, had to answer lots of e-mails and had to rush for appointment after appointment. I realized that I wasn't really benefitting from my flow experience from this morning. My challenge is now to keep the feeling of flow I have during my violin playing during the whole day... during my work, while driving, while playing concerts...

Do you recognize the feeling of flow? Or is it new to you? Can you keep this feeling all day and also in stressful situations? Please share!


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From Eric Rowe
Posted on February 14, 2013 at 11:35 PM
Someone told me about "practicing in the flow" years ago but I could not find any information about it.

Having read the English information, I am struck by the description of "polishing movements to remove rough edges and corners" and "micro holes".

It reminds me that problems do often arise from (possibly minute) hesitations or distractions in movement or experience. This is one of the reasons I am so interested in becoming comfortable with all the fingering patterns related to interval patterns (separate from musical notation) and being as aware as possible of what the entire hand is doing at any one time.

I like the idea of experimentation as a way to find the path that works best, a path being defined by its "edges" (this is actually very reminiscent of the path integral formulation of quantum field theory!).

What I find interesting too is that if I practice something very consciously aware of what every element is doing then when I come back to it that same awareness is also there automatically. It is as if during initial practice thought (such as "I put my third finger here") proceeds the action but later action induces the thought and I am training myself to be more aware. If only I could make sure I always did the undistracted focused practice first as I believe you can literally train yourself to be distracted.

From Zlata Brouwer
Posted on February 18, 2013 at 3:59 PM
Thanks for your contribution! :)

I think practicing in flow takes practice... it becomes easier and easier along the way and the length of your super-focus becomes longer and longer... I would love to follow a workshop around it!

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