Assessing creativity in musical compositions: flow as an assessment tool

Charles Byrne, Raymond MacDonald, Lana Carlton

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    This study was designed to examine any links between the concept of flow or optimal experience and the creative output of student compositions. The creative products of group compositions by university students ( n=45) were rated for creativity and on a number of standard criteria and compared with scores obtained from Experience Sampling Forms (Csikszentmihalyi and Csikszentmihalyi, 1988) completed by each participant. A significant correlation was found between optimal experience or flow levels of students and the quality of their group compositions as measured by creativity ratings. Some implications for educators and learners in themusic classroom are explored and a proposed self-directed learning tool is discussed. Some of the issues on the assessment of creativity in music raised by Sheridan and Byrne (2002) are also discussed. This paper highlights the subjective nature of existing assessment procedures, considering whether examiners need extended criteria as opposed to a single dimension of creativity. The formative assessment nature of the flow paradigm is also explored.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)277-290
    Number of pages13
    JournalBritish Journal of Music Education
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2003


    • education
    • musical compositions
    • assessment tool
    • student compositions
    • music education


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