Discussion thread 8

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About focus:

One thing that never fails to surprise me is that although I regularly get emails from FD sufferers explaining their stories, very, very few ask the question:

So what did you do to recover?

When I was going through FD, my focus at first was on the problem – analysing, seeking advice from the logical sources (physical therapists, neurologists etc), trying to understand the problem etc – in my case, none of this helped. I realised that to recover from FD, I needed to approach it from several angles all at once (physical, emotional, mechanical, mental direction, mindset/attitude, and musical). I realised that no one could solve the issue for me, that there is no one set way of solving the issue, and no magic pill cure. Rather, I needed to rely on my own base knowledge as a musician, complement my knowledge with skills from other fields (for me it was neuro–associative conditioning, Alexander technique, eastern medicine, meditation and others) and learn to help myself – to help retrain my mind, body, and emotions.

What started the change for me was asking myself a different quality of questions – constructive questions focussed on playing freely, being more efficient, and solving emotional and tension issues (in other words, questions that focus solely on what I wanted to achieve), rather than endless loop negative spiral questions such as “why did this happen to me” etc.

I maintain that to recover from FD, you must:
* remove negative neuro–associations to playing the instrument
* reinforce old, and create new, positive neuro–associations to the instrument
* refine your mechanics – your physical setup – to allow your body efficiency of movement
* give your body clear, one directional signals (“remove the handbrake”)

Understand this process, and you can recover. This has been true for me, and the musicians I coach.

(By the way, I don’t ‘cure’ anyone, I just help fellow musicians to release their own physical and emotional handbrakes and play freely without FD symptoms).

Last piece of advice for the day:
Always maintain your focus on what it is you want to achieve, rather than what it is you want to avoid, because whatever you focus on, you get.

Hope that is useful for someone! 🙂

Forum Member:
Thank you for sharing this, Jon. Sometime could you define “neuro–associations”? Very, very helpful.

In short, I mean the emotion or feeling we get when we think about or interact with the instrument, and the subsequent physical manifestation of this association. A text book neuro–association can be found in Pavlov’s dogs. When Pavlov rang the bell, the dogs began salivating, even though no food was present. Hope that helps!

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