Flow is research project funded by the Agency for Innovation by Science and Technology (IWT) in Flanders. It is a collaborative effort by EMRG, IMEC and B-Classic that aims to explore creativity in classical musicians, using brainwave monitoring.
Previous research has shown positive correlations between EEG alpha activity and performing creative tasks. In this study, expert classical musicians were asked to play their instrument while being monitored with a wireless EEG headset. Data was collected during two rehearsal types: in their regular, fixed ensemble, and in an improvised, mixed ensemble with unfamiliar musicians and less rehearsal time. A positive correlation was found between alpha power and the improvised setup (p<0.01, d=0.4). A positive correlation was also found between alpha power and more intense play (p<0.01, d=0.2). There was a negative correlation between alpha power and arousal due to stress, e.g., frowning after playing a false note (p<0.01, d=0.6). Finally, the realtime capabilities of wireless EEG monitoring were explored with a data visualisation during live performance on stage.
De Smedt T., Menschaert L., Heremans P., Lechat L., Dhooghe Gaëlle (2016). An EEG study of creativity in expert classical musicians (submitted).