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A brief note to all Musicians with Task Specific Focal Dystonia,
I receive on average 7 emails a week from musicians suffering with focal dystonia.
Of those 7, on average 1 isn’t looking for a solution, rather, they just want to share their experiences of FD (I’m not sure why!)
On average, 4 of those people say they are desperate for a solution and would do anything to get their playing back, but when I explain that the solution to FD involves no medication, rather a change in the mental/emotion approach to the instrument and what playing the instrument means to them, as well as some simple physical re–training exercises, and that I can help them using Skype, they never reply.
Then there is the 1 person who starts working with me, experiences positive results, but holds on too tightly to the one thing that all FD sufferers have in common – fear. They stop, as they are, as Joaquin puts it “emotionally exhausted”. (We’ve all been there!)
And finally, of those 7 that email me, 1 starts working and keeps working and discovers a freer, easier approach to playing – both on a physical and psychological level – and the FD symptoms disappear. They learn to love playing again and rekindle their desire to play (on a conscious and *sub–conscious* level), and re–learn to play easily, at the same time as they dissolve their fears (conscious and *sub–conscious*)
My approach to resolving FD is simple:
I’m not interested in the symptoms. I’m interested in the solution, and focussing on what I want to achieve – what I want to happen (this *must* occur on a conscious and *subconscious* level). That is a big part of how I managed to resolve my own FD issues.
I hope that is useful for someone!
You are 100% correct.
Thank you Jon! I now know that this way you explain it is THE actual solution. About a month ago I suddenly realized about it. I had been insisting in playing with that wrong state of mind (very nervous…) and my hand was connected to that. When I understood and felt what you say I started to feel so much better, and so did my playing. By now I have no more fear and I know that when I approach a passage with the proper “feeling”, the ghost disappears. No matter what speed you play, or in which concert hall. It’s about a feeling or mental state more than the physical side of it. Once this state is reached, the only thing to be done is practice to make of that a solid way of live. Thank you!
I’m not convinced that mine can be cured, and I am surviving with “standard” treatment, pills and botox. In defence of all those talkers, sometimes you just need to tell someone about it and that is therapeutic.
When people talk to me about their TSFD, I simply won’t listen if all they want to do is talk about it and not resolve the issue.
Yes, talking can feel therapeutic at the time, but talking alone only compounds the problem, because we give the problem more focus. And with TSFD, the more we focus on the problem, the worse it gets. We must focus on the state of mind and body we want to have when playing – which is why it is FAR more beneficial to spend time researching and studying players that play freely and easily, than spending your time focussing on the ‘horror’ stories of FD sufferers. I gave this advice to a client a couple of months ago and he is now 95% symptom free.
However, when someone comes to me to talk about the issue with the intention of resolving it and moving on, then I show them the path by giving them the necessary tools to resolve the issue, but it is up to them whether they want to walk that path to recovery or not. Fear is the biggest obstacle with TSFD, but fear can be *replaced* by fun, if you know the right steps to take.
As mentioned, when I speak to people with TSFD, I’m interested in helping them to solve the root cause of the problem. That is to say I am interested in a true solution, and helping the person to focus on what it is they want to achieve – what it is they want to happen (this *must* occur on a conscious and *subconscious* level in order for TSFD to be resolved), rather than what they want to avoid.
Pills and botox mask the symptoms temporarily in some people – and in others, they have no effect at all. They do nothing to solve the root cause of the issue, which lies in the emotions. The physical symptoms are an external indicator of the emotions, of which fear is the strongest in the case of TSFD.
Learn to replace the fear with enjoyment (on a conscious and subconscious level) and the issue disappears. I have observed this with all of the musicians with TSFD I have spoken to.