Document Type


Date of Degree

Summer 2018

Access Restrictions

Access restricted until 08/31/2020

Degree Name

DMA (Doctor of Musical Arts)

Degree In


First Advisor

Getz, Christine

Second Advisor

Esposito, Nicole

First Committee Member

Getz, Christine

Second Committee Member

Esposito, Nicole

Third Committee Member

Gier, David

Fourth Committee Member

Miller, Courtney

Fifth Committee Member

Montilla, Jorge


This thesis reaches across multiple disciplines, including music psychology, performing arts, and philosophy, to propose using Lao Tzu’s philosophical thoughts in his book Tao Te Ching (also Dao De Jing, daodejing) to cultivate a classical performing musician’s “professional mindset.” “Professional mindset” is defined as the performer’s attitude in dealing with people including himself, and philosophical perspectives in making music.

Part I evaluates the recurring traits of classical performing musicians (CPMs) as key for later arguing that Tao Te Ching helps enhance and transform the associated behaviors of a CPM’s recurring traits. These traits include being aloof, intelligent, emotionally unstable, dominant, sensitive, imaginative, self-sufficient, having high ergic tension, along with the associated second-order factors introversion, anxiety, independence, and being unrestrained.

Part II introduces Tao Te Ching by building its thinking system map, with each of the book’s components explained and the underlying concepts hidden in the map uncovered via my English translations of the text as found in Chen Guying’s commentary.

Part III presents three perspectives that collectively argue how Tao Te Ching cultivates a CPM’s professional mindset. The first analyzes anecdotes from the biographies of flutist Marcel Moyse using the recurring traits of CPMs in order to show how Lao Tzu’s thoughts can enhance or transform the associated behaviors of the recurring traits of CPMs. The second philosophically applies the duality of Lao Tzu to a CPM’s main musical activities and defines his daily performing cycle. The third explains how Tao Te Ching creatively deals with musical matters.


flute, Lao Tzu, Laozi, music, performance, Tao Te Ching, daodejing, Dao De Jing


xiii, 292 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 280-292).


Copyright © 2018 Jing-Fu Jeffrey Chiou

Available for download on Monday, August 31, 2020

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