Date of Award

Summer 2018

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Committee Chair

Webb Parker

Committee Chair Department


Committee Member 2

Mark Waymire

Committee Member 2 Department


Committee Member 3

Joe Brumbeloe

Committee Member 3 Department


Committee Member 4

Danilo Mezzadri

Committee Member 4 Department



Positive psychologist Csikszentmihalyi (2008) describes flow as a state of heightened concentration and arousal where a balance of skill and challenge cause someone to be so absorbed in a task that everything else seems to disappear. The result of the experience can be one of immense enjoyment and satisfaction. Musical activities lend themselves well to the flow experience due to the multifaceted tasks of listening, practicing, performing, or teaching music. With flow being an ideal creator of intrinsic motivation, music teachers and performers should consider flow and its implications for music making and music instruction.

The purpose of this study was to employ qualitative content analysis to identify and synthesize similarities in themes found across the body of literature that exists on the phenomenon of flow as it pertains to music. The approach of content analysis provides a thorough, transferable, and personal look at the flow experience which is subjective and unique to each individual (Neuendorf, 2017). The researcher examined pertinent studies from major scholarly journals and texts grouped together in three categories: music consumption, music teaching, and music performance. Each of the categories was examined independent of the other categories, and research with overlapping themes were contained and described separately within each category to which that theme pertained. This content analysis is intended to form a more complete picture of flow in music, and could prove beneficial to the understanding of the experiences of music performers, teachers, students, and consumers.