Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Video Update On Current Progress (August 8th, 2012)

I wanted to make a video over the progress I've made so far. So here they are!!! Wanted to add that my current symptoms are not nearly as bad as they use to be. If you want to see more videos over my playing in the past, there are videos linked under "important blog posts" and under my "practice journals." I've come a long way and sound more like I'm bordering beginner/amateur horn player, than completely crippled like at the height of my symptoms long ago where I could barely buzz without tremors or where my symptoms stopped me from playing. Hope that you can see the difference from the last video I made over my symptoms (around 2 months ago on June 2nd 2012) compared to now, because I definitely can - even if subtle, it's a significant improvement to me!!!!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

List of Practitioners

I wanted to write out a list of practitioners so that it may become a helpful resource to others who come across the blog. It's very important to know that they do not diagnose musician's with FTSED (except Dr. Frucht who is a neurologist listed on here, and Dr. Mcgrail a surgeon who has worked on muscle tears) or injuries, but primarily help as far as retraining and recovery after diagnosis.  Musicians who have embouchure dystonia or other embouchure problems/injuries don't have nearly as many direct resources as hand dystonia musicians do when it comes to seeking out someone to help guide them throughout the rehabilitation process. (If you are a person who has been diagnosed with hand dystonia and is looking for rehabilitators who specifically focus on hand dystonia recovery, please contact: Jerald Harscher. His website The Poised Guitarist can be found here: He is a wonderful person  and guitarist who has helped many musicians with hand dystonia.)

I will have to come back and edit this....but I'll try to leave a brief description of the person/method when can, but don't want to go into too much detail, because it would be best to contact them and ask any questions about the help they can offer you; I can not do them justice. I am glad to see so many professional musicians that have aided those who have faced this disorder, or who can lend support to those who are having setbacks due to injuries or embouchure problems.

I wanted to start off with brass playing practitioners first. Though that's not to say they limit themselves to helping just brass players with FTSED, when many of them assist other types of instrumentalists too.
I'll start off with a list of the most recognized for their work with FTSED.
I also added some people who can provide more information on dystonia or other injuries, or point you in the right direction as far as finding a professional to properly diagnose you. Again, I'll come back and edit this...

For more information on common medical treatments for dystonia, please check out the DMRF page here: Dystonia Treatment Questions by DMRF

Jan Kagarice - Adjunct Professor of Trombone, University of North Texas
Jan uses a more holistic approach, one that addresses the overall well-being of the musician and covers many areas; physical, mental, emotional, psychological, brain pathways, etc. She has helped many types of instrumentalist, as well various embouchure problems and FTSED. She is very sought after, as she has a unique ability to help players who are experiencing performance difficulties. She attributes this to a combination of factors: her Montessori teaching experience, her study with Arnold Jacobs and her own struggle with neuromuscular disease. Jan currently serves as the chair of the International Trombone Association’s Committee on Focal Task Specific Dystonia and is an artist/clinician for the Conn-Selmer Instrument Company.

David Vining - Professor of Trombone, Northern Arizona University
David has successfully recovered from FTSED. He uses a more holistic approach I think, but has a lot of knowledge on brain/body-mapping, and addressing not only tension in the embouchure, but your body as a whole.

Laurie Frink - Trumpet Faculty, NYU Steinhardt  ....Unfortunately Laurie passed  away this year. We have lost a significant musician and person in this world. I will leave her information on here because it is still helpful to others and her work deserves to be recognized.
Laurie has been highly trained in Carmen Caruso Method, and does a lot of work involving calisthentics - preparing the body to play music. Focusing more on the process of developing into a musician through the act of making music vs. the act of just executing music. Rather than achieving set standards within a time limit or forcing improvement, she has a broader/well-rounded view on the overall development of a musician and preparing the body. She has helped many brass players with embouchure problems recover. Laurie and John McNeil wrote a calisthentic exercise book for trumpet called Flexus.

Janine Gaboury-sly - Associate Professor of Horn, Michigan State University. Has recovered from FTSED. She had also tried medication like Artane in the past too, but not sure if it helped in her recovery. She is a former student of Verne Reynolds. You can find her contact information here: ....her colleague, trombonist Curtis Olsen  who is also a professor of music at Michigan State had lost his ability to play due to embouchure dystonia, though I'm not sure if he made a full recovery.

Dr. Peter Iltis - Professor of Kinesiology and Horn at Gordon College. Has FTSED, and made significant progress in overcoming it. He has published articles in the Horn Call over dystonia, as well he has some videos over dystonia which explain the neurology involved more in detail. If you click his name, the link leads you to a review of his video on Horn Matters Blog and another link to one of his videos.

Glen Estrin - Founder of Musicians with Dystonia through the Dystonia Medical Research Foundation
He has done the most outstanding work with the DMRF, being able to give musician's a place to go for guidance/direction, knowledge, support, and help with FTSED/FTSHD.
Dr. Frucht is a neurologist at the Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center, and has diagnosed many musicians with dystonia. He is also the co-founder of Musicians with Dystonia.

Lucinda Lewis - Principal Horn, New Jersey Symphony, and author of "Broken Embouchures," "Embouchure Rehabilitation," and her site dedicated to embouchure injuries: She is well known for her blocked-buzzing technique and exercises that she used to rehabilitate herself, and for her knowledge on different types of embouchure injuries. She studied at the Manhattan School of Music with Clarendon Van Norman, principal horn of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, and earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Music Performance. Lewis has served as principal horn of the Brooklyn Symphony, Chamber Opera Theatre in New York City, summer Chautauqua Festival Orchestra, Jerusalem Symphony, Israel Chamber Orchestra and Israel Philharmonic; she was appointed principal horn of the NJSO in 1977. She has been a soloist with the Brooklyn Symphony, Jerusalem Symphony and NJSO. Lewis has taught at the Rubin Academy in Jerusalem, Israel and Princeton University. She has been an officer and governing board member of the International Conference of Symphony and Opera Musicians since 1990.

Thomas Wilson - Trumpeter and conductor in Colorado Springs has helped some of my friends with embouchure problems and FTSED symptoms as well. Thomas Wilson is currently Music Director of the Chamber Orchestra of the Springs, Associate Conductor of the Colorado Springs Philharmonic, Cover Conductor for the New-York based pops show Symphonic Night at the Oscars, serves on the music faculties at Colorado College and the Colorado Springs Conservatory, and maintains an active guest conducting schedule. Mr. Wilson previously conducted for the Colorado Springs Youth Symphony program and founded the Young Concert Artists of Colorado Springs.Winner of international recognition as a trumpeter, Mr. Wilson has extensive experience performing, touring, and recording with orchestras, ensembles, and artists. He is one of only three trumpeters ever selected as a finalist for both the International Trumpet Guild Orchestral and Solo Performance Competitions in the same year. Thomas’ compositions and arrangements have been performed widely in the United States, Europe and Japan.

Dr. Seth Fletcher - Senior Lecturer in Music, serves on the faculty at the University of Nebraska at Kearney where he teaches private low brass. Seth’s doctoral research regarding focal task-specific embouchure dystonia presented a comprehensive literature review and detailed case study, laying the groundwork for the further development of healthy pedagogical methods and philosophies.

Denver Dill - recently published his book over recovery from a muscle tear and surgery called Still Playing: My Journey Through Embouchure Surgery and Rehabilitation. Staff Sergeant Denver Dill, a bugler in the Hellcats, holds a Master of Music from the Juilliard School and was a doctoral candidate at the Eastman School of Music. Denver has risen to the highest level of trumpet playing, all the while battling the effects of a debilitating lip injury. While in high school, Denver began experiencing herniation, stretching and tearing of the obicularis oris, known to brass players as “broken embouchure.” Denver describes his complications as, "blood was coming out the end of my horn." After the acute injury healed, Denver resumed playing the trumpet, placing his mouthpiece slightly off to one side of his mouth. Throughout his undergraduate education, the center of his embouchure moved further and further away from the center of his lips. Denver compensated for the injury extremely well, not only winning several international trumpet competitions, but winning a position in the West Point Band. Over time, effects from the old injury began to hamper Denver's playing in ways for which he could no longer compensate. He went to West Point’s Keller Army Community Hospital and spoke with plastic surgeon and Deputy Commander of Clinical Services, Colonel Andrew Friedman, who was instrumental in enabling Denver to see the specialist Dr. Simon McGrail of the Scollard Clinic in Toronto, Canada. While Dr. McGrail conducted Denver’s surgery, West Point’s Dr. Friedman also accompanied Denver in the operating room to observe the intricate procedure. In fact, Dr. Friedman is now the only surgeron in the Armed Forces to offer the operation to other musicians in the military. In 2008, the New York Philharmonic celebrated twentieth-century composer Luciano Berio with several performances of his works, to include "Day of Berio" on February 2nd. Musicians from the New York Philharmonic performed all fourteen of Berio's Sequenzas. The fourteen Sequenzas are a series of virtuosic solo pieces. Sequenza X is for solo trumpet and piano resonance. The piano is played silently and certain strings are allowed to resonate when the trumpet plays loudly into the strings. Sequenza X makes ample use of extended techniques for the trumpet. Valve shakes, flutter tonguing, valve tremolos, hand stops and many other techniques are employed to get the widest possible array of timbres from the instrument. Sequenza X is over fourteen minutes in length and is one of the most physically taxing pieces in the trumpet repertoire. The Philharmonic's principal trumpet player, Phil Smith, asked Denver if he would join other principal players of the New York Philharmonic to perform the work as a part of its “Day of Berio.” Denver was able to accept the invitation because the surgery to repair his embouchure was a complete success. While the recovery was long, Denver says he is no longer hampered by the effects of the injury and is able to advance as a trumpet player both technically and musically....

...another trumpeter who has undergone surgery for a muscle tear is Brad Goode, a  jazz trumpet player who resides in Colorado. He also went to Dr. J Simon Mcgrail for surgery. I have a couple links on the sidebar over lip surgery done by Dr. Mcgrail.
Contact Information for Dr. Mcgrail: 91 Scollard Street, Toronto, on M5R1G4- Phone: (416) 926-7767. The esteemed Dr. Simon McGrail had been a pioneer in the field of facial cosmetic and reconstructive surgery for over 30 years. He has led the field in pioneering new surgical techniques, and is currently one of the only surgeons in the world that perform a specific reconstructive lip repair procedure. Dr. McGrail, brings his vast experience and tremendous surgical skills and passion for his work to the Scollard clinic. He was trained as a physician in Manchester, England, He completed Specialty and fellowship work in Otorhinolaryngology at the University at the University at Wayne County Hospital in Michigan. He completed further training in Facial Reconstructive Surgery along with exhaustive clinical research in areas ranging from Carcinoma of the nasal vestibule, Angeodema of the larynx and Orbital complications and Pathology. Because of his tremendous training and qualifications, Dr McGrail, was appointed Professor of Otolaryngology at the University of Toronto and subsequent Chief at the Wellesley Hospital. His specialty training and interest in Facial Cosmetic and Reconstructive surgery has put Dr. McGrail at the forefront of his field and led to such positions as: Physician to the Toronto Maple Leafs, Physician to Team Canada Hockey at the World Championships, and Founding Member of The Canadian Institute for Facial Plastic and Surgery, and Founding Member of The American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. He has been consulted by numerous celebrities and people in the entertainment industry for his specialty knowledge in the area of vocal pathologies and surgical lip repair, namely Frank Sinatra, Phil Collins, tom Jones, Tony Bennett, Luciano Pavarotti, Placido Domingo, and Jim Cuddy of Blue Rodeo along with theatrical singers from various productions including the Lion King, The Phantom of the opera and the Canadian Opera Company. He is the leading authority on lip injuries in brass players. Not sure if this is his current contact info. I'm told that he is now in semi-retirement, in his office a few days a month.