If you’ve found this homepage, chances are that you’ve been experiencing some strange symptoms recently when playing your instrument.
Perhaps your fingers feel out of control or do unexpected movements, or your embouchure feels awkward or it leaks air on the sides. Maybe your shoulder tenses up when you use your bow, or your feet respond strangely on the pedal.
Any of these frustrating and alarming symptoms can be a sign of Musician’s Focal Dystonia, a neurological motor disorder, experienced by approximately 1% of musicians all over the world.
Musician’s Focal Dystonia: a common condition
If you received a diagnosis from a neurologist or talked to colleges you might have heard that the condition is not curable, and indeed, that is the official verdict.
This is what I was led to believe when I suffered from the condition in 2010, completely losing my flute embouchure in the course of only one week, at the peak of my freelancing career. Luckily enough, I did not believe the rumours, and I was not prepared to give up this easily. In the following years, I retrained myself to my former level of playing and returned to my career.
Coaching and scientific background
Soon after my recovery, many musicians suffering from the condition found me and were eager to know how I got rid of my symptoms. As I was giving advice to them, I slowly began to develop a therapy which I use to this day. It is partially based on my own recovery, but I also learned a lot on the way from musicians, medical professionals, Alexander Technique teachers, physiotherapists, music psychologists, and former sufferers, refining my ideas with every single step.
I also felt the need to research the condition in a more formal and scientific way, therefore I completed a Master of Science course at the Royal College of Music in London with distinction, majoring in Performance Psychology. Following that, I was offered a Ph.D. position at the University of York with the Arts and Humanities Research Council’s scholarship to continue my research into MFD, which I am undertaking now.
In this page, I offer advice, support and rehabilitation information based on the combination of personal experience and scientific research – and also coaching, if you wish to have a retraining tailored to your specific needs.
You will find essays with a more scientific approach and references under ‘The science of focal dystonia’ and short articles about personal views and experiences under ‘Blog’.
I hope that the information you find on this page is helpful to you!
BA Hon, MA, MSc Hon