In The Positive Pianist: How Flow Can Bring Passion to Practice and Performance, author Thomas J. Parente applies Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi's concept of flow to the practice of piano playing, demonstrating how student musicians can experience enjoyment and confidence from succeeding at something that challenges them to an engaging level. Parente shows that linking productivity and enjoyment in piano playing has a positive impact on students, motivating them to practice more in order to experience flow again; this creates optimal learning conditions for piano practicing. As the chapters progress, Parente shows students how to evaluate their own progress and offers teachers the tools to impart on their students an optimal practice method: one informed by flow. Parente argues for an objective, goal-oriented backdrop that will lead piano students to achieve greater confidence, accuracy, and musicality. The Positive Pianist draws on the author's forty years of teaching experience and research to show piano students and their teachers how to develop a productive, focused mental state when practicing the piano. The book is written for independent piano teachers, college students (especially piano majors), professors teaching piano pedagogy, and, with some guidance, high school piano students.
Many thanks go to my two fabulous collaborators — Dillan Comtois who played the majority of the excerpts and Micah Fink, the videographer. I have taught the brilliant Dillan Comtois for the last nine years. She has won many awards and accolades both in her home state of NJ and elsewhere. Currently a junior at Glen Ridge High School, her performances include participation at NY's Alice Tully Hall chamber music concert sponsored by the Junior Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center.
Micah Fink, the founder of Common Good Productions, is an award-winning producer, director and writer specializing in international affaires, public health, and environmental issues. He is also on the faculty at the Graduate Program in Social Documentary at the School For Visual Arts in NYC. Recent projects include "The Abominable Crime," a feature film about the life-altering consequences of anti-gay violence in Jamaica, the "Climate Reality Project" with Al Gore, and "Mann v. Ford."