Thursday, April 4, 2013

(Video) Happy Easter! Some Overtones

Meant to post this sooner! I mentioned some important things in my video since I've noticed someone online who wrote about how he thought my rehabilitation just took practice. So he definitely doesn't understand that embouchure dystonia is a lot more complex than it seems. The exercises used as part of the physical rehabilitation may be simplistic (ex. buzzing, freebuzzing, stretches, chromatic slurs), but as I've mentioned before in many blog posts that the exercises have a different purpose than what they originally are meant for; it's the mental awareness, the way I physically approach my instrument, and changes in external factors which all make a difference and contribute to this very personal process of rehabilitation. It involves much more than this too. I think that is why dystonia is so hard to's a neurological movement disorder, so it takes a lot to regain abilities, so any playing basics are equivalent to trying to run a marathon on crutches with a broken leg.

This video I show some enharmonic exercises which I use as a mean to support the development of my lower jaw control. I definitely couldn't have done this 7 months ago, or a year ago. As there are endless tiny abilities and movements I had to overcome and regain in my playing. It isn't until recently I've been able to work on overtones, long tones, and move into my mid-to-upper range either. So definitely not something I'd work on in the beginning or middle'ish stages, as it would usually cause too much tension built up right away.

An interesting note is that I can slur fine and have good control over my arpeggios while using standard fingerings. For example if I played C-E-G-C with the fingerings: open-2-1-open, I can play it with ease, but as soon as I play it as an open harmonic...meaning C-E-G-C as open-open-open-open, it's very difficult to control. I think naturally because the partials are closer and less defined of a feeling to grasp onto. It's like trying to hit targets with an arrow while swinging on a rope, rather than using stepping-stones to align with your target as they get higher and higher. I also have to monitor my breath control more now, whereas before it also use to be something that didn't help my playing (i.e. full breaths/steady stream of air), but now does and is necessary. 

You can see in the beginning how much my embouchure control was limited, but near the very end of the video you can see how much it loosened up and I was able to do the same exercises with a little more control. It's this small amount of control and ability to relax my tension/dystonia symptoms that make a world difference in my playing! Baby steps = huge progress...even if it takes many many months to go from what seems like step 1 to step 1.5. Should be posting another video today or tomorrow!

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