Wednesday, December 25, 2019
Merry Christmas!!! Here are some Christmas carols! ⛄❄⛄❄⛄❄⛄ Recorded this 30 minutes before work, in a straight mute, and no warm-up! Proud of how I sound despite no time to release tension thru prep-work. I know it's not easy to love the sound when you have embouchure dystonia, but gotta love it more than anything no matter what comes out or doesn't! Only way to enjoy playing is taking pride in what you can do...no matter how miniscule! Not focusing on what you can't do. 💕 Lots of love to the dystonian music community, and of course to my friends and family! 📯🎶🎉 #embouchuredystonia #musiciansdystonia #loveyoursound #beproud #playout
Saturday, December 21, 2019
Sunday, December 15, 2019
Grateful every Sunday I get to skype with my twin sister Alison and my nephew Nathan for his French horn lessons! Mario (Ally's husband) is usually around too or off teaching private lessons, fulfilling instrument repairs, or preparing for his week teaching at two different schools. Nathan is so lucky to have a talented mama on trumpet helping him practice. In addition, she does all his homeschooling and runs her own photography business (Sweet Dahlia Photography) with Mario too, and both parents are in orchestra and participate in church activities. One busy and highly creative family. Nathan is doing great on horn and just read through his first couple pieces of notated music! I'm so proud of him! I love family and happy we share this bond with music. I'm missing them all so much this holiday (including all my other siblings and relatives far away)! Wish we could play brass chorales or Christmas carols this time of year.📯🎶💕
Tuesday, December 10, 2019
Congratulatoins Kenny Wong on Best Actor of the Alternative Film Festival - Winter 2019! Film: Dystonia by director Julian Stambouleigh.
Sunday, December 8, 2019
A list of some sensory tricks (i.e. includes motor tricks/forced tricks/reverse tricks/imagery tricks) among various dystonias.
If you know anyone that has Focal Embouchure Dystonia or thinks they might, the list of Oromandibular Dystonia (jaw dystonia) and Cervical Dystonia (neck dystonia) sensory tricks may give them temporary relief or lessen the overall strength of the symptoms.
It's also a tell-tail sign you have dystonia if a sensory trick works. However, not all cases report sensory tricks, and some musicians don't even realize it until the neurologist finds they have one during evaluation.
I come across a lot of brass players with FD where the symptoms and/or tension spreads to their tongue, jaw, neck, shoulders, and upper back. Some of these listed are already common tricks among brass and wind players with ED.
The most that I have come across and been reported to me consistently is: placing something between the teeth, some type of modified guard or splint, icing the face before playing (this worked for me but not the safest), touching the face or neck, drastic change in body movement/posture, focusing on a specific object or visual, change in size or back pressure of mouthpiece, and tongue depressor.
The key is if you can find a way to incorporate it into rehabilitation or help the sensation of the sensory trick bleed over, it may aid throughout the recovery process. A few examples of this are: "geste" - visualizing the sensory trick, imagery that tricks the brain into avoiding playing mode (ex. I had to visualize blowing on hot cocoa to stop my embouchure from automatically setting). Using a modified guard or splint while playing. Incorporating a tongue depressor throughout retraining to override the damaged brain pathway.
It's not about suppressing the dystonic symptoms or avoiding them. It's about lessening them to a degree so that you have a chance to rebuild a new pathway that the brain recognizes. It's like distracting the messed up signal temporarily so you have a chance to rewire things. Sensory tricks can come in handy if you literally can't get a sound out or things are severe. However, not everyone has a sensory trick.
An actual highly successful method of treatment among musician hand dystonia patients is splinting. And there is only one study that was conducted in Japan on modified dental splinting on three patients with embouchure dystonia with all three returning to performance. It would be great if there was more research in this area of Musician's Dystonia.
Monday, December 2, 2019
A look at one of the many current treatments for Spasmodic Dysphonia (vocal/laryngeal dystonia). I'm currently trying to figure out if this is the same or different than using a TENS unit, because TENS has helped me.