Monday, January 11, 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! 💕📯

Sunday, January 10, 2021

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


How I Currently Manage My Embouchure Dystonia Symptoms


How I Currently Manage My Embouchure Dystonia Symptoms

Ice Pack Roller and Rose Quartz Roller

For those who have embouchure or cervical dystonia and find ice/heat packing helpful; I wanted to mention that I recently bought my first ice-pack roller!!

I find it much better than the standard ice pack! It helps when I have been playing a lot, as I notice when I really get back into heavy playing, my muscles both overly-tense/contract and sometimes swell around the massetter in particular; especially on days where the FD is flared up more than normal. It helps to use the roller around my jaw joint since that tends to bulk up the quickest over time. I noticed an immediate difference and it feels great.

Also the rose quartz roller (which I never thought of using before) is great for massaging sore muscles, and it has both a large and small roller attached. I still do fascia release/myofascial stretches in combination, because I think both internal and external approaches work best for me. 💕 

Ohh! I also take collagen peptide supplement pills and my joint (especially wrists and ankle) has improved drastically. But it takes about 6 weeks of taking it 2-3x a day to see a physical difference - even in appearance/skin since it's originally used for that.

Usually around this time of year with weather changes bones/joints start to hurt. It’s nice to not rely on Tylenol or Aleve rarely if ever. A bit eye-opening I have to say when you’re use to being in pain! 😊

#musicianshealth #musiciansdystonia #embouchuredystonia #musicianinjuries #hornplayers #brassplaying 🎵

Horn Snippet: Merry Christmas Horn Solo (Brass Quintet)

#musiciansdystonia #livingwithembouchuredystonia #musicianinjuryawareness

A huge thanks to Hayley for recording this (Merry Christmas)!!! Had to crop everyone out, so apologize for the weird angle or closeups. It’s a great representation of my current level of playing abilities despite being plagued with Focal Embouchure Dystonia. 

Anywhoo! It’s taken years to get back to a place of sounding somewhat decent enough to feel comfortable playing within a group again.... or even to play performances again. That’s been the greatest blessing, as I know it could be a lot worse. I first started experiencing onset symptoms of Musicians Dystonia 13 years ago.

Still there are really bad days, but the good days out number relapse symptoms days, and things seem to get better every year. I am really happy and humbled that my body/embouchure has allowed me to retrain ....and to be able to hear my sound come out the bell and ring in a hall again. 

It’s nothing short of miraculous to beat the odds to even a slight degree when it comes to this disability. I thank God so much for hearing my prayers. There has been a lot of blood, sweat and tears over the years....literally. There still is a hole in my heart for missing out on my dream. But I try to not focus on that and look at the positive.

I’m so thankful to play in this brass quintet with my twin sister (trumpet), my brother-in-law (trumpet/picc), and Dan and Bruce (low brass power). You guys are the best! I wouldn't feel comfortable playing among anyone else....and so happy to be playing along with your recognizable voices/instruments. Means so much!!! 🥰💕📯💕📯💕📯💕📯💕📯

- Katie A. Berglof

Horn Snippet: Jurassic Park

 5 second (internal) conversations with your FD. The struggle is real...

Me: 😍 “Let’s play this for fun!”

Focal Dystonia: 😠 “Nope.” 🤐

Me: 😤🔥 “Yes!” 🤛

FD: 🤭 “What did you say?!?”

Me: ⚡️😎....”That’s right! Give me some leeway, because I’m not going to ever let you stop me from playing. Don’t care if I have to crawl or use what little motor/sensory controI I have left, just to get my way through 4 notes! This is happening whether you like it or not, so gonna have to deal!!” 😉🔥

Horn Snippet: Bizet (Brass Quintet)

(2 of 2) Will need to expand to full-screen to see facial movements. During brass quintet rehearsal we ran through some Bizet, and I wanted to capture it on camera! 

This is a particularly difficult part for me because anytime there are simple repetitive articulation patterns, short rests that require quick sensory feedback, embouchure dystonia is wicked awful. 

I started off struggling with getting separation between the notes and then eventually it kicked in, but you can see how much the muscles in my face are moving and working just to catch up and play in the middle register over and over again. 

I had a lot of fun though and so happy I get to play with my twin sister and her husband (on trumpet) and our friends. I have surgery at 5:30am in the morning (thus my lack of effort in fixing my hair), so this was my last rehearsal tonight for the next 2 months.

Horn Snippet: West Side Story (Brass Quintet)

 (1 of 2) Will need to expand to full-screen to see facial movements. Trying to get through some of the solos in West Side Story before Brass Quintet rehearsal starts. One of my many challenges with Embouchure Dystonia is that it makes descending more difficult than ascending...a task-specificity trait. Still happy my high range is slowly coming back!!! Woot! Last rehearsal before surgery, so didn’t bother to fix my hair. Scheduled for 5:30am! Will be waking up in a few hours...

Saturday, January 9, 2021

Alpha Females from the Ashes

From dust and ash there’s a phoenix rising...✨🔥✨💕

#selftransformation #rebirth #transmutedarktolight #empowerment #courage #conviction #boldness

This is me. Fo sho! 💕 I am a Gemini/Sun Sign ♊️, with Pisces Rising ♓️, Leo Moon ♌️🌙 , Jupiter in Capricorn/10th house ♑️, Mars in Scorpio/8th house ♏️.....🥰✨ I may not be great at keeping up consistent communication, but when I do attempt it or reach out, it’s with those I know who truly “get me” and whom I trust the most over the years. 💕

Happy New Years 2021 and Exciting Stuff

Age 13 VS Age 36! We've been through a lot Lady Francis (my horn's name), yet, we're still together after all these years! Even through focal dystonia and back again. 📯
Who wouldn't love this cat filter applied to their selfie at the midnight hour on New Years Eve?!?! 

Guys. I haven't owned an orchestra folder this nice in over a decade!!! WOW! (Except it's for Brass Quintet!....IN LOVE!!!)

Never been more excited to have a fancy folder made specifically for me! Thank you to Hayley (our trombone players wife) for custom making these and ordering them for our group (they are the color dark green by the way!)

I'm so happy this year to have started my business "The Divergent Musician" and more social groups online! It's brought together people who are interested in the same things. Much love and deep appreciation for finding friends I can be eccentric self around and feel safe! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!


Merry Christmas, More Horn Snippets (Brass Quintet), and Family Fun


On Recovery