Soundflow is a word that gets at what set me on my path as a musician, not quite realizing it at first, but more and more consciously in time. It gets at a fascinating world of minute differences in the sustained sound of the piano, which my principal piano teacher, Ms. Rosetta Goodkind, opened for me in my teens; soundflow also gets at the sense of being wonderfully immersed in playing, so that it feels like you only imagine a sound, and it sounds out, even more alive than you imagined it, an experience that kept me in love with playing the piano over the years.
This is also an experience that is well described by what some researchers, like psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, have called “flow,” or a state of "optimal experience" characterized by a sort of effortless concentration, full absorption and peak performance.
Soundflow is about the flow of sound as an immersive experience. In my case, it is something I experience most directly in playing the piano, or in other words, in imagining, making and hearing sound at the same time, while playing. In that sense, to me, the idea of soundflow is another way to talk about piano tone. But soundflow can also be about simply listening or experiencing sound fully in any context.
Soundflow has yet another meaning to me, and it is as a platform for doing artistic research: as a symbol of all the richness, intricacy, and beauty of what we come to know in and through playing music, of all that becomes possible, accessible and real in the experience of a practicing musician, which is an endless spring of knowledge, waiting to be articulated, cultivated, expanded and of course, shared. This is the conceptual basis for the Soundflow Institute.
Above: Professor Csikszentmihalyi's TED talk on flow.
Below: some performances that (to me) embody the idea of soundflow in real life action. Enjoy!