Thursday, December 29, 2011

Current Embouchure Dystonia Symptoms Dec. 29th, 2011

Here it is! My first video like I promised...pretty roughly prepared!!! But I know I've been promising one for way too long, so wanted to get it on here asap.

This brief video is a view of my that I think about it, I should have played a melody compared to the scale, since melodies are a ton harder to play with all the jumps and control you have to have throughout; I will do that in another video.

If want to know more, please checkout the list I posted on the right side of this page called "Quick Links: Important Blog Posts."

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

5 Myths and Misconceptions

5 myths or misconceptions about embouchures! By Wilktone. Great video with some really good points!!!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!!!

I had to post this on my blog, since buzzing has been such a tremendous lifesaver when it comes to my rehabilitation! Thanks Bruce for making this awesome photo! I am a huge fan of Horn!!!!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Dr. Fabra: "Dystonia is an emotional condition" ...Really???

Check out this video on Dr. Fabra's site. I thought it was interesting because one of the trombone players who have FTSED had his first symptoms a couple years later after a major embouchure change. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."

I've heard Dr. Fabra state in his videos and online that Hand Dystonia and Embouchure Dystonia is an emotional condition, which I highly disagree with or at least dislike labeling it as such. I disagree it is the source or culprit (of a neurological disorder), nor the pathway to recovery. 

It is a good starting point in recovery, especially for those who have just been hit with dystonia and going through a lot on the inside. Learning how to cope on an emotional level, or learning how to keep a positive mentality/inner strength throughout the process of rehabilitation is important, but it is not the source and cure of musician's dystonia.

To view a similar blog I wrote over....the link can be accessed here: Focal Dystonia is an Emotional Disorder? Since When?

Dr. Fabra states in one of his videos that his own teacher tried to change his embouchure, and not long afterwards he started to have dystonia symptoms, and the same goes for one of the trombonists in the video. There are players that have undergone embouchure changes and resulted in tremors or spasms in the embouchure. My question is so why isn't it a possibility that their symptoms occurred as a result of physical/mechanical change in their playing over time....rather than some deeply rooted emotional trauma?

My point is, no matter what triggered the dystonia symptoms, I believe it takes a lot of embouchure function retraining (or sensory-motor retraining) and inner healing together to make progress due to this setback...but do I believe their dystonia is an emotional disorder? (especially when there are many other cases people ignore, that show other possible triggers)....I do not believe it is valid enough or excusable to label it as an emotional condition.

When I say psychology. I'm referring to "emotional" disorders (acute or chronic) or the emotional realm, and when I say neurological, I mean the brain and sensory. And when I talk about muscle retraining, I am also linking it to cognitive restructuring....the way you perceive you approach it (basically setting up your mentality for rehabilitation, as it's much different focus than what you use in performance training).

I'm also not fond of him making it seem like if a musician does not find success when they visit him, it's because they did not understand his approach, or they did not fully embrace it, or "THEY" were too mentally exhausted to invest....why is it "their" fault? He makes it seem like it's the musicians fault that they couldn't embrace the "cure." Why isn't it a possibility that his method doesn't work for some people? or that it isn't the cure-all. One size doesn't fit all.

I may be repeating myself, but the psychology Fabra emphasizes is important for attending to the emotional turmoil you go through...I think that is important for many. But equally important, if not more...and what will carry on after emotional retraining the muscles and sensory...which all has to do with restructuring your mentality to focus on sensory-motor/embouchure function retraining- the way you think/focus or perceive what you're dealing with....I call it "embouchure awareness" or embouchure tension and body intuition awareness. That's what's given me the most progress on a physical level when facing my embouchure dystonia. Being aware of how my dysfunctional embouchure functions.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Blood Circulation and Normal Vibrations

A photo of a string vibrating.
Yesterday I tried to focus on the vibrations that you feel when you blow into the horn. When things come naturally it almost feels like your lips are getting a nice massage, but when you have dystonia it feels similar to getting an electric shock; you go to play and instead of feeling smooth vibrations or that nice blood circulation feeling, it's as if  your muscles feel a jolt and it causes a spasm. As if there's a knotted muscle or block somewhere in the face, or if the embouchure won't accept the vibrations, instead it rejects it. Also the area where my nerve damage is, somehow always feels deflated compared to the rest of my surrounding lip, like there's no underlying tissue to support it even though there's no more striking pain like before. It's hard to describe but that's the best I can think of when explaining how it feels.

I always enjoy returning to the horn, it's similar to returning to exercise. You start playing after a while and can feel those muscles regain strength and that blood circulation; except with Dystonia it just takes me 4-5 hours to get it to feel that normal. It's a great feeling when everything falls into place again, even if just for a moment! I am still hopeful, and I am always happier when I find time to sit down and practice with no goal in mind, just relax and enjoy the notes I can actually play still. I know someday I will return to the concert hall and share the gift of music with fellows and friends as I have done since a child.

I also just bought my Christmas presents today...a NEW horn case, ipod classic, newly revised edition of Broken Embouchures by Lucinda Lewis, and a 12-month subscription to the Berlin Philharmonic Digital Concert Hall! The BPO gives me so much inspiration, and I am thrilled for the case to arrive in the mail. :D

Monday, September 12, 2011

Some Inspiration

For a while I couldn't watch orchestral videos, concerts, let alone handle hearing a horn in the next room. But now I am able to find inspiration again after many months of healing (physically and psychologically). It makes me want to practice, no matter how difficult or rough I sound. It reminds me of how happy and excited I use to be to go to orchestra rehearsal. I love that feeling of sharing a gift of expression as a whole group, listening to my friends, and feeling that positive energy after a great day of rehearsal! Thank God for the Berlin Philharmonic and their digital concert hall, they inspire me to never give up hope.

A Couple Affirmations

"Luctor et emergo" .........I struggle, and emerge.
"Non ducor duco" ..........I am not led; I lead.
"Semper ad meliora" ......Always towards better things.
"Temet nosce" ...............Know thyself.
"Veritas lux mea" .......... Truth is my light.
"Vive ut vivas" ...............Live so that you may live.