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 Dystonia
Author: sb1920alk 
Date:   2019-03-07 09:49

Does anyone here have musician’s dystonia, or focal dystonia, or dystonic tremor related to oboe playing?

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 Re: Dystonia
Author: EaubeauHorn 
Date:   2019-03-08 00:39

Yes, but it is not related to oboe playing. I have embouchure dystonia related to brass playing. I have quite a knowledge base but would need to know what your questions are before I start blathering away. I mostly fixed mine with help, BTW, and would have fixed it all the way if I were not on the downside of age and motivation.
Dystonia is caused by how you use your brain in playing and can be fixed by learning how to change that.

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 Re: Dystonia
Author: sb1920alk 
Date:   2019-03-08 01:29

My diagnosis is recent, but I’ve had problems with it for 20+ years. I can’t reach the RH1/F# key (I had an extension installed) and my right thumb doesn’t really know how to stay still to support the thumb rest without some sensory trick, so I usually wear a splint when I play.

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 Re: Dystonia
Author: EaubeauHorn 
Date:   2019-04-07 23:59

In general, you must change your focus of attention. I'll bet you are focusing on that misbehaving thumb? Try putting 100% of your focus *anywhere* else, your big toe, the air leaving your lungs, your tongue, whatever.....and I do mean 100%. If this works you now know the secret to having dystonia disappear but it takes intense work on changing how you use your brain when playing.

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 Re: Dystonia
Author: sb1920alk 
Date:   2019-04-08 01:42

It’s not easy. It’s like walking on a balance beam - stay exactly centered, and it’s OK. Stray just a little to either side and things are not so great. The neurologist I saw seemed to think it’s no big deal, since it’s not life threatening...but it is “happiness threatening”. I don’t know how it is for others, but for me it leads to tendinitis bad enough to wake me up in the middle of the night several times if I play more than a few minutes that day. Of course that makes it really unpleasant to practice. Actually, that’s not right. I’m OK while I practice. I’m not OK afterwards. You might say that I like to practice - I don’t like to have practiced. There’s like a runners high while I’m playing that makes it not hurt...but only while I’m playing.



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 Re: Dystonia
Author: EaubeauHorn 
Date:   2019-04-11 22:00

You are right it is not easy. The groove is well established; it's like you have an uphill driveway to your garage, you backed down it in eight inches of soft snow which then froze to become ice tracks. Then you have to not drive in those tracks when everything is trying to force you to do so. That is why I am only partially recovered due to age and lack of motivation. Many have though, whose motivation and age allowed it.

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