International Journal of Education & the Arts

Volume 10 Number 14

April 21, 2009

Music Making, Transcendence, Flow, and Music Education

Rhoda Bernard
Boston Conservatory, USA
Citation: Bernard, R. (2009). Music making, transcendence, flow, and music education. International Journal of Education & the Arts, 10(14). Retrieved [date] from
This study explores the relationship between flow, transcendent music making experiences, transcendent religious experiences, and music education. As a teacher-researcher, I studied my graduate students' autobiographical accounts of their experiences making music. Across these narrative writings produced over the past four years, a pattern emerged: many of the texts describe transcendent experiences. Transcendent music making experiences are distinguished by two main qualities: (a) that the performer is functioning at the height of his or her abilities; and (b) that the performer has a sense of being a part of something larger than him or herself in some way. The concept of transcendent music making experiences provides powerful insights into a unique feature of musical engagement. Music educators at all levels can relate to and learn from a more nuanced understanding of the unique qualities of musical engagement.

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