A typical morning for me often goes like this: meditate, practice my handpan or other percussion instrument, and then go for a bike ride or ski. At first blush, these things may not seem particularly related, but my goal in all three is the same: to find a flow state.
A “flow state”, or “finding flow” is a feeling I get when all of a sudden whatever it is I’m doing feels effortless, almost magically easy. It’s not something I can just conjure up and make happen, but I do find that practicing a musical instrument makes that state much more likely to occur. On my best practice sessions, nothing else exists for me during that time except me, the instrument, and the sound that I am producing: that’s flow!
How does it connect to cycling and skiing? Here’s a specific example: When I’m on my gravel bike, a proper pedal stroke is important. What that means is my feet are making complete circles, and I am engaged through the entire cycle of the stroke. When I’m riding, I think of this in musical terms, what I’m after is for my pedaling feeling like one long sustained note. And from there it will often feel as if the bike is pedaling itself, navigating every corner and obstacle effortlessly. Flow!
My ultimate point is this: no matter what it is you are working on, maybe it’s skiing or some other outdoor/recreational activity, maybe it’s doing your homework, whatever!, spending time practicing a musical instrument can help you focus, find flow and achieve your goals.
Kevin Sport, Percussion Instructor