In the zone : an autoethnographic study exploring the links between flow and mindfulness for a piano accompanist
journal contributionposted on 06.12.2017, 00:00 by Judith BrownJudith Brown
Flow is a phenomenon that describes those best moments in our lives when we feel in control of our actions and experience a deep sense of exhilaration and enjoyment that becomes a landmark in memory for what life should be like. First defined by the American psychologist Csikszentmihalyi in the early 1970s, flow is described as a phenomenon with seven distinct characteristics and, as part of a broader autoethnographic study of the phenomenon of flow as experienced by a piano accompanist, this paper explores the links between one of these characteristics—focused attention—with one of the concepts related to flow—mindfulness. Using an autoethnographic approach, this study teases out the complex nature of the music performance from a personal perspective. Autoethnography is a process where authors use their own experiences in their culture to look more deeply at what they term ‘self’ and ‘self-other’ interactions. In these contexts, autoethnography, as a way of studying the self and connecting the personal to the cultural and social provides a framework for critical self-reflection for me to examine my own performance practice. Through the use of an autoethnographic narrative I aim to shed light on how focused attention and mindfulness are experienced in collaborative music performance by a piano accompanist.