You may have come across the phrase ‘in a state of flow’ or ‘in the zone’ before.
‘Flow’ is a kind of heightened state of mind, where your conscious thinking mind is less active and your sensory, automatic mind takes over and knows exactly what to do.
What is ‘flow’?
Imagine a downhill mountain biker, charging down the hill over rocks, avoiding trees, dealing with different surfaces and controlling their bike as if it were their own body, they are able to make millions of calculations every second without consciously thinking or hesitation.
Through thousands of hours of training, they have created the muscle memory, the techniques, the understanding and the experience to deal with a huge range of variables and are able to enter a flow-like state of hyper focus.
Or imagine a band jamming together, reacting off each other, reacting to the melodies they have just played, reacting to their instruments and responding automatically and in harmony.
They’ve practiced and played together for so long that that the music simply flows 🎵
What it feels like
Achieving this state can be a fulfilling, exhilarating, almost out of body experience. You become so engrossed in what you are doing that other parts of your body literally shut down, allowing you to focus solely on the task in hand.
Not having to ‘think’ but just ‘do’ is liberating! We use our conscious brains every day and it can be tiring. Entering a state of flow can help us escape from our busy thinking mind and exercise our reactive, sensory mind instead.
To achieve flow state, the goal is to prime our automatic brain in the right way so that when we use it, we get the results we are looking for. By teaching our automatic selves how to act using our deliberate mind, we can do amazing things.
How to achieve a state of flow
Achieving a state of flow is something that is notoriously difficult, but something that can be highly rewarding, liberating and effective. Being able to reach this state of mind can empower you to be at your absolute best and to do things your logical mind just wouldn’t conceive.
For your ‘automatic mind’ to know how to react to certain situations, it needs to have already learned from previous experiences. And here comes the news not everyone wants to hear … when it comes to music production, the only way it can do that, is through practice. Regular, disciplined, lots of practice!
When you practice, you’re teaching your mind and your body how to respond to certain inputs automatically.
Got an idea in your head? Teach your hands how to express this idea. Wondering how to develop that melody beyond a 4 bar loop? Teach yourself how other people do it, teach your body the fundamentals behind it, then develop your own interpretation. Put in the hours and you will be rewarded.
There are some things you can do to help you achieve a state of flow more often so that you can enjoy the experience and also use it as a tool to improve your music making skills.
Play, rinse, repeat – you have to put the hours in to reach this heightened state. Practice and you will be rewarded! 🦄
Get in the mindset – don’t overthink things, embrace your lizard brain and trust your automatic self to take over 😃
Create the right environment – whether it’s removing distractions like the internet, being with the right people, turning down the lights or firing up the good old lava lamp, creating the right environment is key. 🗝
Stay healthy – for your automatic self to be at its best, take time to exercise, go outside, eat well and be the best version of yourself you can 😇
Thanks for reading ❤️