Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Weston Sprott, trombonist with The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and Dean of the Preparatory Division at The Juilliard School on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Orchestras


🙌 Well said!!! ✨👏✨ We have so much in common when it comes to speaking out about the underrepresented in our field (just different topics/areas of inclusion), and the desire to create change and a better future for classical music and generations to come. Would love to hear more of his thoughts! Important work, and Weston Sprott's words need to be heard!!

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

TwoSet on Mental Health (Bravo for speaking out!!!!)

Wow! I really encourage any musicians and students to watch this! Brett and Eddy cover a number of topics over psychological pressures and its affects on students/musicians.
I’m so so soooo proud! SO PROUD of Twoset Violin 🎻 for speaking out about their own experiences. I was especially surprised to hear about how Eddy ended up in a wheelchair. But what I love is that he spoke about how helpful his neurologist was, and the use of mirror box to retrain the brain signals.
This is a vital area to point out within the brain-body connection, and how both extrinsic and intrinsic factors can throw a wrench into the way the body responds and the brain adapts to change (in a maladaptive way, but ideally out of the need to protect...it just backfires)...a chain-reaction...almost like phantom limb manifestation.
There’s that point of transition where the brain starts associating playing with pain, or manifests an illness in the body, or a disorder. It doesn’t even have to be pain induced through playing....can be an external cause (ex. a car accident that causes a fracture in the arm or hand, or facial trauma and the pain still resides even after fully healing). Both injuries and mental health disorders come with a slew of extrinsic and intrinsic dynamics at play because the brain rewires when it starts receiving changes in the signal; whether physical or mental or via sensation, literally any type of change.
But it’s not just a headspace thing or all in your head, it really is a neurological rewiring that is happening via sensation and other stressors and factors. And it’s hard to catch when it’s setting in like that because we’ve been taught to endure, or that it’s just a day or week of intense playing and it will pass. Our brain holds onto it even after recovered, and there’s some research surrounding how the body suppresses memories and pain. It’s great that he points out it’s not helpful to label any physical or mental illness as “all in your head.”
I also can’t say enough about how happy I am they addressed the need for education and being more open about the mental pressures and physical challenges within the profession.
It’s really humbling and moving to hear them speak out, and I don’t think they’ll ever know how much this means to me, and to others who care as deeply about musician health and well-being.
Although it’s always scary to speak out; the fact that there’s so much fear surrounding talking openly about issues and challenges within our profession (especially controversial topics) means there needs to be a change!
With the rising demands, and how much we put into our profession, and for how little appreciation and respect the arts receive publicly and with funding, we need to start taking care of each other and considering how we can make positive strides from the inside-out. I think once we remember what we stand for unified, perhaps we can overcome the tendency to uphold certain practices that no longer serve our highest good or welfare of the profession and future generations. 📯

Monday, March 22, 2021

TwoSet Violin: Dark Side of Profession (Bravo for speaking out!)

 🙌 Bravo Twoset Violin!!! 👏👏👏👏 I'm so proud of you for speaking out about this. It takes a lot of courage, but definitely important for our profession to start being more transparent about where corruption, maltreatment, and misconduct takes place, and in what ways (big or small).

If the classical music profession values cultural integrity so much, then why are we allowing certain people in power to overstep boundaries, divide us through exclusivity (rather than unify through inclusivity), and abuse or test their power through manipulation and influence? Our profession was meant to bring people together, to impact the public through our expression, and instill the value and necessity of the arts within culture, education, and society. If we are such an important backbone to society and want to preserve our art, then why do we create more ill-intent and alienation among ourselves? ......whether that's political corruption in our profession, misconduct, maltreatment, discriminating by gender, age, nationality/diversity (e.g. some orchestras favor solely international applicants, and exclude residents or local applicants; where others clearly lack diversity in a questionable way), etc., even though it may be written in fine print. And most importantly, the fact that we do not provide educational support in the areas of workplace/institutional misconduct, injury, legal contracts, lawsuits, and how to create inclusivity among the workplace. Does the classical music profession subtly hint at an underlying tendency towards coercive control? We've allowed so much to go on in the dark, swept under the rug, hush-hush, all out of fear of loss of reputation or judgement; and most of it is ourselves plotting against each other, rather than propelling our profession forward in a healthy and sustainable way. We've built a system that's worked against us, not for us. And yes, part of it is the role of capitalism at play and the competitive nature of our profession, and our love of recognition for our status, but think back in history....it's pretty interwoven throughout our profession. Is there not another way? Have we forgotten the true meaning of our art? Yes, corruption takes place every day, and it's not avoidable. The world, including our profession will never be a perfect or safe workplace. But the least we can do, is prevent it as much as possible....which I honestly think we haven't fought hard enough to do; to simply take care of one another. To prevent our students and others from being taken advantage of. The least we can do is be honest about the ugly truths, as well as the benefits, and educate each other on controversial issues within our profession, and what to do when in the middle of such situations. So that way, we at least show we care about one another, have some sense of integrity, and create a better workplace/profession with inclusivity and transparency for future generations to come! I love our profession, otherwise I wouldn't care to write so much on the topic of the dark side. However, I don't think many musicians have the strength and courage to address controversial topics in the classical music profession; big or small....out of fear for various reasons. Yet almost every other profession requires an understanding of controversial issues or social activism in their profession (ex. music education, the medical field) and the ability to critically think and speak on such topics.

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Upcoming: Musician's with Dystonia and Injuries Live Talks 2021!!!

Get ready!!! The Musician's Dystonia & Injury Live Stream Series is going to be presenting new guests soon!!! Looking forward to doing interviews with musicians and friends all over the world who want to share their journey and advocate for music performance-related injuries. 

If anyone else in is interested in being interviewed, just PM me and I'll get it organized! 💕📯

Embouchure Dystonia: Overcoming the Involuntary Spasms and Contractions When You Can't Play