In this investigation, the aim was to explore optimal performance experiences through the lived experience of flow amongst professional full-time and part-time orchestral musicians. The study followed an IPA approach and data were collected through semi-structured interviews. Eight professional orchestral musicians took part in the study, three full-time and five part-time. The study endeavoured to identify factors that influence flow positively and negatively and to ascertain whether there are factors unique to South African context. The findings identified four superordinate themes: factors that influence flow, performance environment, impact of life experiences, and comparing the flow experiences of full-time and part-time orchestral musicians. The first superordinate theme, Factors that influence flow, included subordinate themes instrument, repertoire, conductor, venue, fellow-players and balancing the level of challenge and skill. The second superordinate theme, Performance environment included the following two subordinate themes: solo-, chamber- and orchestral settings, and rehearsal- or performance settings. The third superordinate theme, Impact of life experiences, explored maturity, emotional investment as well as life experiences as subordinate themes. Lastly, the differences between the experiences of full-time- and part-time orchestral musicians regarding their view of the musical activities in which they engage, formed the fourth superordinate theme. This theme included responses about income, available time and frequency of playing, pressure and playing music for the love of it. In conclusion, it became apparent that both full-time and part-time professional orchestral musicians can relate to the experience of flow and that multiple factors exist which can positively or negatively affect their flow experiences.
Mini Dissertation (MMus)--University of Pretoria, 2018.