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Pingaloka

Posts: 42
Joined: Jun. 9 2011
From: Granada, España

Focal Dystonia. 

Hello guys, I'ved posted and update on my blog discussing what Focal Dystonia is:

http://flamencomasterclass.blogspot.com/

The matter deserves its own post as it is something that concerns all musicians. I have posted a small personal observation and a documentary with permission of the author. It is in english so no worries :)

best regards to all!

And if anyone as had and experience with Focal Dystonia please share it with us!

(edit: I will post the documentary here as there's a lot of text in the blog. But the Documentary is worth it!)





_____________________________

Clases de Flamenco Online
Flamenco Classes Online

http://www.flamencomasterclass.com/
http://www.flamencomasterclass.blogspot.com/
info@flamencomasterclass.com
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 15 2012 14:30:29
 
almoraima

 

Posts: 2
Joined: Jan. 25 2012
 

RE: Focal Dystonia. (in reply to Pingaloka

hola compañeros , yo soy una de los afectados por esta dolencia , estoy en manos del profesor joaquin fabra para reabilitarme como musico , es realmente increible como en poco mas de un mes , pase de tocar cualquier pieza que me proponia a no poder ni rasguear . el proceso para salir de esto es largo pero poco a poco estoy recuperando las tecnicas que tantos años pude hacer . para cualquier duda pongase en contacto conmigo , un saludo .
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 15 2012 21:12:03
 
sam dds

 

Posts: 16
Joined: Jun. 9 2012
 

RE: Focal Dystonia. (in reply to almoraima

Hi everyone, I too am suffering from Focal Dystiona. It started over 3 years ago and it happened so fast. The first 2-3 days I just thought I was in bad shape.Within a week my playing got so bad and I couldn't understand why.I was feeling no pain at all and it freaked me out! Ever since I've been to several doctors here in Greece and all told me that my hands are just fine,although none new anything about Focal Dystonia. So I'm not diagnosed by a doctor with Focal Dystonia but from all the research I've done on the internet I'm 99.9% sure of it.

The problem is with my i & m fingers. "They don't co-operate".They feel like they don't know what to do. Sometimes,even when just touching the strings with i & m , it feels as if it's their very first time. I have to practice very slow and concentrate hard to play a simple scale. The wierd thing is in different finger combinations. When I use a & m or i & a fingers everything feels fine. When playing arpeggios or tremolo where i , m & a fingers work together the problem is still there because i & m fingers follow eachother but it's less noticable because the a finger is also included.

During the last 6 months I've seen a very very small improvement. I can't say that my Focal Dystonia is getting better but I can say for sure that I'm working my way around it.

If anyone is still interested in this matter,I'd be glad to share my opinions and any suggestions in detail.

Thanks. Sam
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 16 2012 20:47:32
 
Paul Magnussen

Posts: 1765
Joined: Nov. 8 2010
From: London (living in the Bay Area)

RE: Focal Dystonia. (in reply to sam dds

I don’t have focal dystonia, but I have a piper friend who does.

The seem to be many theories around, but few with a good scientific basis. The best summary I’ve found is in The Body by Science Question and Answer Book by Doug McGuff.

http://www.amazon.com/Body-Science-Question-Answer-Book/dp/145057341X/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1339944199&sr=8-2&keywords=The+Body+by+Science+Question+and+Answer+Book+Doug+McGuff

“An interesting aside to skill training is that it is possible to develop a skill to such a high level that the brain will no longer discriminate that skill at all. This results in a sudden seizure of skill such that you can no longer perform it any more. This phenomenon has been noted particularly in concert pianists and professional violinists and string players who perform thousands of movements per day. The condition is called Focal Dystonia — and here is how it comes into play. On the motor strip of the brain each individual finger has a separate representation, but musicians can become so skilled in their ability to perform rapid movements with their fingers that the neurological impulses can no longer keep up and the individual finger representation on the motor strip gets blurred. In other words, their finger movements are now occurring so rapidly that they summate and overlap, and the five separate fingers now become represented as one individual unit on the motor strip. And when the musician who develops this condition attempts to produce any rapid finger movement, rather than just the one finger he’s wanting to activate, the brain consolidates every playing action onto one location of the motor strip with the result that all five (or ten) of his fingers will spasmodically activate, rather than rapid isolated finger movement.

[…]

“[E]vidently the only way to get around it is to start, very laboriously, working each individual finger over again very slowly so that one can recreate the individuation and representation of each digit on the motor strip of the brain again — and then build up from there.”

_____________________________

  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 17 2012 15:04:11
 
Ricardo

Posts: 13515
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

RE: Focal Dystonia. (in reply to Pingaloka

Much covered in the past if you search. This was an interesting long topic about picado that evolved to FD issues. This was the last page of it, but if you go back and focus on postings of Ruphus you find lots of stuff. Notice how I gave my self a temporary feeling of FD just reading the literature about it. But no joke I remember it really affected my gigs for a couple days

http://www.foroflamenco.com/tm.asp?m=156639&mpage=6&p=&tmode=1&smode=1&key=dystonia

_____________________________

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www.ricardomarlow.com
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 17 2012 15:38:01
 
malakka

Posts: 170
Joined: Jan. 14 2009
 

RE: Focal Dystonia. (in reply to Pingaloka

This topic is of particular interest to me. I have Focal Dystonia and it began about two years ago. I had become particularly obsessed about picado- finger combinations, etc. I had noticed my middle finger had become less accurate in picado, arpeggios and tremolo. Furthermore tying on the keyboard was also being affected. To make a long story short, now my middle finger curls up and my index goes straight (a compensatory movement) when I play arpeggios, tremolo, picado and type. Any fine motor movements are affected. Some days are worse than others - really depends how relaxed I am. Paul'as post above really details the reasons behind this problem.

I have taken some lessons with David Leisner and made some progress so now i can do simple arpeggios on remates, but still can't do any arpeggio falsetas, no picado, and finally no tremolo. I have done a LOT of very slow practice with a metronome, but have not made much improvement over the last year. Typing is a little better, but really not very good. I visited Nancy Byl at University of California San Francisco and got some good insight - she is one of the leading people doing research on FD. I have thought of visiting Dr. Joaquin Faris in Sevilla or Joaquin Fabra in Madrid. They have had successes in helping folks with FD. Both have similar philosphies, but Fabra is more focused on emotional/behavioral reasons behind FD. I believe Carlos Piñana was helped by Dr. Farias in Sevilla.

My rasqueados have not been affected and neither has my pulgar - both have gotten MUCH better in these last two years since I can only focus on them. I have worked on a lot of alzapua, both old style with p-i and just with p, and pulgar for playing melodies using rest strokes and and up and won like a pick. However, It all still does not sound like quite right other than playing rhythm.

I love flamenco and had done some accompanying for dances and singers and really enjoyed it. However, I have lately returned to playing with a pick as I had played guitar for some 15 years before starting out on flamenco. I just don't know if I have it in me to begin all over and practice like crazy for the next few years to only possibly get back to where I was. So right now I am moving towards other styles of music. Funny thing is here I am visiting the Foro once again - I still love flamenco and am attached to this foro.

Some good resources:

http://www.dystonia-bb.org/forums/mwd/index.html

https://www.facebook.com/groups/9022753084/- Musicains with Focal Dystonia facebook group

Both have some good resources from all diffeent types of musicians- not just guitarists. Also, some questionable things, but folks seem to try many things and no one way seems to be the way out for FD. Everyone is different and their way out may be different than another's way. Oh well, I have written enough and my right hand is done typing.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 17 2012 18:21:45
 
Paul Magnussen

Posts: 1765
Joined: Nov. 8 2010
From: London (living in the Bay Area)

RE: Focal Dystonia. (in reply to malakka

quote:

Both have similar philosphies, but Fabra is more focused on emotional/behavioral reasons behind FD


Part of the quotation from McGuff that I elided was: “It used to thought that this was some sort of psychological problem or a rebellion against the discipline it took to be a musician at that level, but what science has found is that it is actually a neurological disorder that is a by-product of of becoming too proficient at a particular skill level.”

If I’m reading this correctly, and the psychological theory has been discredited, then focussing on emotions would seem unlikely to be beneficial — unless possibly as a precondition to some other therapy that fixes the neurological problem in the brain.

_____________________________

  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 17 2012 19:22:14
 
sam dds

 

Posts: 16
Joined: Jun. 9 2012
 

RE: Focal Dystonia. (in reply to Paul Magnussen

Hey everyone,thanks for the valauble information. My small improvement began when I changed my approach towards studying.These are a few things that helped me:
- I've accepted my problem and my current level of skill. That made it much easier and less stressfull on the psycological part. Struggling to play like I used to made things worse. Plus,why go back to what I used to do.It's most likely that what I used to do caused my problem.
- Now, I don't think in terms of studying but playing. Makes it more fun.
-"Feeling the notes" on my fingers rather than just striking them seems to make a huge difference.
- Imitation. This one might sound funny but is also very helpful. My a & m fingers are now way faster in scales than i & m. I play a short phrase slowly with the a & m and concentrate on all aspects as finger movement,position,feeling etc.Then I do the same thing with i & m and try to imitate the natural playing of the a & m fingers. This helps me too. Now, my i & m fingers can play faster than a & m in a very short picado phrase on one string.This I couldn't do 6 months ago.
- What I believe is most important is to keep my brain stimulated.Repeating the same exersises daily for a long period of time turnes on the "auto pilot" and playing becomes nothing but routine where almost no concentration is needed. Now I try to keep my brain stimulated by playing new things as pieses or different parts very slowly.
Please keep in mind that those mentioned above are based on my personal experience and since FD comes in many forms ,I can't say that they will work for you.

Last something I really like to use are the boading balls (chinese exersise balls). I've tried many other things as springs,squeezing balls etc but if not careful you can cause injuries very easily. Boading balls are the best to me and help keep my hands in better shape . I would easily suggest them to anyone .

I hope this was helpful ..
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 18 2012 10:53:30
 
orsonw

Posts: 1623
Joined: Jul. 4 2009
From: London

RE: Focal Dystonia. (in reply to sam dds

I have been recovering from focal dystonia the past 18 months.

I have the advantage that I am a physiotherapist so I have a very good understanding of neurorehabilitation. I have applied the professional knowledge that I use with my stroke and other neurological patients and made huge improvements; my playing is getting to the point where it's better than it was before the focal dystonia began.

Everyone is different and so this isn't the place to share specifics but I just wanted to share my experience as someone who is overcoming focal dystonia.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 18 2012 11:22:21
 
Pingaloka

Posts: 42
Joined: Jun. 9 2011
From: Granada, España

RE: Focal Dystonia. (in reply to Pingaloka

Hi guys you all know the implications that imply suffering from a Dystonic syndrome.
I do not want to get into it. I highly recommend the videos posted in this thread though

I will like to speak a little bit about my experience:

After watching these videos 3 month a go, and after thinking about it... I decided to go see Joquin Fabra. The reasons were:

a) He lives in Madrid, and he is supossely one of the world experts in this matter, I'm lucky enough to live in Granada. I know that people come from all over the world to see him.

b) He has treated others like Carlos Piñana (Not Farias, but Fabra malakka).

c) I have nothing to loose but my money. I have already been to doctors, neurologist, etc.

From my present point of view, one of the reasons why Focal Dystonia could be triggered is an excesive control of movement. A repressive control induced by fear.
It is a very complex matter to put it that simply.
I think that FD is a sign, a clear sign that we are not doing something right (from the emotional point of view) when a approaching our instrument...the guitar I mean, :)

That is something that happens in all aspects of life. But of course, the precise movements required in the guitar make it more vunerable to the appearance of a dystonic syndrome. It is difficult to image a taxi driver developing a dystonic syndrome as the movements are not as delicate. If you know what I mean.

So could one of the key aspects of FD be Excessive Control, or lest just say "Control" why controlling? Why do we want to control?

Why do we add more information than needed to a simple movement? That, I think, is another key point. This may be one of the reasons why a simple movement becomes almost impossible to perform: extra Emotional negative information added to the movement.

When you talk, you don't think on how you have to move your tongue up and down, do you? You just think what you want to say correctly...and you move your tongue. When yo finish talking, the tongue goes back to resting. The same could be applied to the guitar. Imagine if you tried to concentrate on how you have to move your tongue while speaking...

Walking for example. When you walk you don't add any emotional information. You just walk. Imagine if you started adding negative emotional information..."oh I wont get there!... my walking is clumsy.... oh..his walking is much better than mine... would I get to walk as he does? I have to make my walking perfect...no mistakes...."

And again repressive movements start to appear based on control.


I'ved been on with Joaquin for 3 months, still early to talk about improvement.
Neverthless, I'm changing my approach to the instrument, and I do think that is possible to get rid of FD by working on the emotional field.

The best of luck to all of you!

_____________________________

Clases de Flamenco Online
Flamenco Classes Online

http://www.flamencomasterclass.com/
http://www.flamencomasterclass.blogspot.com/
info@flamencomasterclass.com
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 20 2012 17:13:32
 
El Comanche

 

Posts: 10
Joined: Mar. 20 2011
 

RE: Focal Dystonia. (in reply to Pingaloka

Hi Gang, I'm sorry for not being a more active member here. I've always been very busy between recording and performing and just don't get much time to blog. Till recently.

I was diagnosed with Focal Dystonia in November after 2 years of struggle trying to figure out what it was. After an epic fail listening to doctors here and trying botox I found Dr. Joaquin Farias in Sevilla: http://www.focaldystonia.net/

I feel his qualifications and experience with this condition is unparalleled. I spent 2 weeks with him, having a major breakthrough the 2nd day. 3 months later, I am still working hard every day with my rehabilitation and have made significant progress. I still have a ways to go, but feel I will make a full recovery. Rather than go into detail here, I invite you all to check out my blog: http://ericandencarnacion.blogspot.com/

I've kept a detailed journal of my journey in the hopes that it will help others as I felt very lost and alone when I got this. First entry starts in November.

There is also a good group on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/9022753084 where many of us have been sharing valuable info and getting advice from those who have made full recoveries.

For those of you suffering from this, my heart goes out to you. It is hard to explain in words to others what it is like to have something taken away that you have dedicated your whole life to. There is hope though, and there is help. Just not much in the US.

For now this what I will throw out there:

You can't learn if you are afraid.

Allow yourself to move your fingers, don't protect them or try to control them.

We have to get rid of tension and anxiety. Do whatever you have to in order to make this happen. Dr. Farias really helped me and I highly recommend him. Abrazos- E

If you want to find out more about me, my website: http://flamencoseattle.com/
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 25 2013 7:27:32
 
Blondie#2

 

Posts: 530
Joined: Sep. 14 2010
 

RE: Focal Dystonia. (in reply to El Comanche

I have been an advocate of Farias' work every since I read about him years ago on the Musicians Dystonia board.

For anyone struggling to understand and cope with this, I recommend his E-book;
INTERTWINED. HOW TO INDUCE NEUROPLASTICITY which you can get from the wesbite linked above.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 25 2013 13:23:18
 
Ruphus

Posts: 3782
Joined: Nov. 18 2010
 

RE: Focal Dystonia. (in reply to Ricardo

quote:

ORIGINAL: Ricardo

Much covered in the past if you search. This was an interesting long topic about picado that evolved to FD issues. This was the last page of it, but if you go back and focus on postings of Ruphus you find lots of stuff. Notice how I gave my self a temporary feeling of FD just reading the literature about it. But no joke I remember it really affected my gigs for a couple days

http://www.foroflamenco.com/tm.asp?m=156639&mpage=6&p=&tmode=1&smode=1&key=dystonia


I really understand why it annoys you, and why in fact should you care other than noticing the pheomenon for didactical benefit / prophylaxis to prevent possible stucking with your students. ( Though I imagine your students to be under rather little risk.)
For, generally seen the risk is quite there with an estimated affect of 5 musicians from 100.


quote:

An interesting aside to skill training is that it is possible to develop a skill to such a high level that the brain will no longer discriminate that skill at all.

This was a weird thing to read for me, because I have that with almost any discipline.
What I initially perform easily and unusually well will often end up deformed. In math tests I would usually mess up the first tasks ( too easy) and rather solve the last ones ( harder level).
When debating something complex I can elaborate somewhat alright or even well, whereas when the most obvious and basic condition is being stoically denied my head will implode and out come scrapes of the Big Bang, if not mute. Horror.

I see so many observations above that match with mine.

Funny that you mention David Leisner. I stumbled over a film with him on YT and don´t recall whether here or on AG-froum did then try to raise attention to that extremely valuable statement of his ( with little success, but folks like to take quietely anyway, so that you don´t hear of poossible use made ).



quote:

From my present point of view, one of the reasons why Focal Dystonia could be triggered is an excesive control of movement. A repressive control induced by fear.
It is a very complex matter to put it that simply.
I think that FD is a sign, a clear sign that we are not doing something right


Bingo I think that is it.
When I started out autodidactically I did pretty good actually ( as I know today), until I saw ( some old Master and ) especially Segovia on TV. This intimitaed me and had me try his messed up RH posture.

It seems as if FD will only occure when you are fighting yourself ( very well mentioned above already ), executing wrong technique, which again about always means tensioning of unrelated muscles / limbs but worst of all simultaneous engagement of both flexors and extensors.

Unless you have an ergonomically highly efficiently performing teacher as regular inspiration, or possess over the occasional exceptional talent of ergonomical and tension free approach ( which both without doubt makes for the ideal situation ), accurate imagination is the essential clue. ( Like in all disciplines.)
Unlike with obsolete pedagogics which used to believe ( and still do) that will was the major path to succes, accurate picture in mind is the actual elixier. ( Will won´t do nothing if the inner picture of the goal is missing out.)

Ergo: What it takes is detailed knowledge about ergonomy and physiology and a slow motion, highly concentrated, accurate execution of basis techniques. Always checking for counter strain and ready to halt, relax and ressume only when ensured that everything is relaxed.
If disciplined at such a tidying up / intoduction from scratch, you will reach to seamless and avanced playing in no time.

While in the opposite, just as counter productive will be a mindless / awkward rushing away, which will throw you back into bad habits / newbie situation several times as affecting than the equivalent of its wasted energy.


It is now seven or more years that I realized that it is FD what has been holding me back so weirdly, and about as long that I have started practising against it. ( At that time it was still considered uncurable.)
And the magic of conscious detail practising has brought me to clean basic skills far beyond of the past ( when I would fake some athletic virtuousity that could impress, but would exhaust myself and determine phrasing to an extend ), which however are still not firmly imprinted.

The overall very slow progress is apparently due to my difficulty of keeping up focus and discipline. Eventhough I will usually not allow myself to play pieces and falling back into neurologically counter productive execution, I will break out and find myself in partially undisciplined and antagone technique.
A pity.

I do strongly feel that if I could control myself to keep focus throughout, the FD would now be defeated since years already. And I would be around the wonderful realm that Erik wet his toes in in the past. ( Actually, I do visit its floating anteroom every other time, slipping into some passed away master´s poise or so.)

Anyway; I you really love the guitar, don´t go my way. Not even on a remote scale.
Don´t waste time and future, and work on accurate imagination with as much detail as ever possible. Start from building up the practical picture of seamlessness in mind and you will be seeing wonder and dreams. Either provide a full picture that way, or through an inspiring teacher of seamlessness.
However you do, be sure to attach great importance on the preparation of the picture in mind.

If you doubt its relevance, keep in mind that many of todays top athletes do work that way. Like ( an exampe I mentioned before) formula 1 pilots who are made sitting on a chair with closed eyes and in theri mind´s eye circle rounds of the course in question as accurately as to the tenth of seconds.

The more ergonomical detail in mind the less any discipline will be taking of everything else. Like of time, sweat and frustration.

Ruphus
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 25 2013 16:29:42
 
guitarbuddha

 

Posts: 2970
Joined: Jan. 4 2007
 

RE: Focal Dystonia. (in reply to Ruphus

Wow Ruphus, I actually agree with that. !!!!!

I had an injury and it took a long time to change my mindset sufficiently to let my body heal.

I have nothing but for compassion for anyone who has to embark on this painful and confusing journey alone.

D.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 25 2013 20:25:41
 
gj Michelob

Posts: 1531
Joined: Nov. 7 2008
From: New York City/San Francisco

RE: Focal Dystonia. (in reply to guitarbuddha

quote:

I had an injury and it took a long time to change my mindset sufficiently to let my body heal.

I have nothing but for compassion for anyone who has to embark on this painful and confusing journey alone.


And I, in turn, testify to your statement.

I remember when I reported here the unexplained and excruciating suffering on my LH index [2009- which eventually lead to surgery, and to a much 'softer' approach to playing guitar] that you, Guitarbuddha, were in fact the first to offer to most affectionate support, advice and heartfelt sympathy.

_____________________________

gj Michelob
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 25 2013 21:14:21
 
Ricardo

Posts: 13515
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

RE: Focal Dystonia. (in reply to Ruphus

quote:

This intimitaed me and had me try his messed up RH posture.


I think it is interesting point. Not sure I 100% agree with what YOU consider bad posture vs good, but I think people will fight a natural flow thinking they are doing what they are supposed to. It is tough both for teacher and student to learn only visually. I can physically force a student to hold the hand a certain way but if they play "uncomfortable" it is still NOT correct, even if is looks like it's correct.

I know you can't do youtube, but you could for example give us a list of players you have seen on video that have 1. Bad posture, and 2. Good posture (as per your perception) so we have some concrete things to discuss?

Ricardo

_____________________________

CD's and transcriptions available here:
www.ricardomarlow.com
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 27 2013 15:14:18
 
guitarbuddha

 

Posts: 2970
Joined: Jan. 4 2007
 

RE: Focal Dystonia. (in reply to Ricardo

quote:

ORIGINAL: Ricardo

quote:

This intimitaed me and had me try his messed up RH posture.


I think it is interesting point. Not sure I 100% agree with what YOU consider bad posture vs good, but I think people will fight a natural flow thinking they are doing what they are supposed to. It is tough both for teacher and student to learn only visually. I can physically force a student to hold the hand a certain way but if they play "uncomfortable" it is still NOT correct, even if is looks like it's correct.

I know you can't do youtube, but you could for example give us a list of players you have seen on video that have 1. Bad posture, and 2. Good posture (as per your perception) so we have some concrete things to discuss?

Ricardo



Not directed at me but. Great posture, Gerando Nunez 2003, good posture Gerardo Nunez 2008, bad posture Gerardo Nunez 2012.

But I am not talking about posture really and certainly not about 'correctness'. The quality of muscle tone within any position and the degree of general whole body physical alertness whilst playing are far more important.

In case it is any way unclear I still think Gerardo ROCKS.

D.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 27 2013 16:20:15
 
Ricardo

Posts: 13515
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

RE: Focal Dystonia. (in reply to guitarbuddha

quote:

ORIGINAL: guitarbuddha

quote:

ORIGINAL: Ricardo

quote:

This intimitaed me and had me try his messed up RH posture.


I think it is interesting point. Not sure I 100% agree with what YOU consider bad posture vs good, but I think people will fight a natural flow thinking they are doing what they are supposed to. It is tough both for teacher and student to learn only visually. I can physically force a student to hold the hand a certain way but if they play "uncomfortable" it is still NOT correct, even if is looks like it's correct.

I know you can't do youtube, but you could for example give us a list of players you have seen on video that have 1. Bad posture, and 2. Good posture (as per your perception) so we have some concrete things to discuss?

Ricardo



Not directed at me but. Great posture, Gerando Nunez 2003, good posture Gerardo Nunez 2008, bad posture Gerardo Nunez 2012.

But I am not talking about posture really and certainly not about 'correctness'. The quality of muscle tone within any position and the degree of general whole body physical alertness whilst playing are far more important.

In case it is any way unclear I still think Gerardo ROCKS.

D.


Not a fair example as he had an accident that changed his playing dramatically in 2008. He does not suffer from FD far as I could tell it is a physical problem. His other fingers all function fine his "posture" change due to the issues with only the index finger. I would think if a finger would be last affected by FD it would be index and basic strumming. but even if it WERE due to FD, then the entire thing would need to go in "bad posture" category as the cause of the problem to begin with (as per Ruphus description of cause?).

_____________________________

CD's and transcriptions available here:
www.ricardomarlow.com
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 27 2013 17:49:44
 
guitarbuddha

 

Posts: 2970
Joined: Jan. 4 2007
 

RE: Focal Dystonia. (in reply to Ricardo

I'm thinking 'whole body'. I believe that Gerardo will get through this.

D.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 27 2013 18:02:05
 
Ruphus

Posts: 3782
Joined: Nov. 18 2010
 

RE: Focal Dystonia. (in reply to Pingaloka

Ricardo,

I have Nunez´"La Guittarra" DVD and recall his ergonomics to have been fine on that production ( release date 2004).

Good posture is when there is no unnecessary bending of joints / no needlessly distanced paths / prolonging for muscle groups and tendons.

Great posture even seems when poise ends up accomodating `shortcut movement´/ least efforts to reaching for the strings and plucking them.
- As you might remember with the example of Prof. Iznaola and his explanation of what happens when you rest the right arm near the ellbow, in contrast to what happens when resting around midst lower arm. ( First example = poise has hand gravitating towards guitar top = which you will be wanting [ `hare before the hedgehog´]. Second example resulting in levering away from the guitar, resulting in counter functional `eagle plunges down for each string touch´.)

Segovia practised ( and lectured ) the angling of the RH wrist, so that the line of nuckles ( fingers base) would end up parallel to the strings. A posture that brings the fingertips perpendicular to the strings. Totally unergonomical and emphasizing the different length of the fingers / distance to the string/s.

If you ask me for good technique I spontaneously think of Paco Pena and Grisha.
Grisha´s overall posture seems not yet perfect to me ( if I recall that correctly from memory - had a look last time maybe 3 years ago or so in a video where he played "my" todays DeVoe - there is still too much strain for pulling up the RH / shoulder. And he told us some time ago of certain hardening / difficulties he was working on, which as I speculate - might have had to do with imperfect posture), but he works so well from the fingers base and has his finger tips flicking wonderfully.
Apart of eventual detours with the bigger limbs ( upper arms, shoulder, possibbly back ) his extreme / final limbs appear to be engaged very efficiently to my eyes.

Other good examples, eventhough not with flamenco techniques ( which do differ naturally with certain applications ) are the prodigy kids of Prof. Chen. He just manages to convey seamlessness to them.
Just look how those kids not much bigger than the guitar itself handle that thing fluently and without strain ... That definitly makes for good posture.

And when back to flamenco, I must say that the part of flamenco players from traditional "flamenco families" - that I have seen - with great efficiency ( no detours; no visible strain ) has been remarkably high. My impression was as if they would convey the guitar playing in a very down to earth / relaxed way and thus achieve relaxed and efficient approach of their youngsters. ( Imagination of seamlessness.)

Man, would I had loved to grow up that way!

Ruphus
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 27 2013 19:56:05
 
Ruphus

Posts: 3782
Joined: Nov. 18 2010
 

RE: Focal Dystonia. (in reply to guitarbuddha

quote:

ORIGINAL: guitarbuddha

Wow Ruphus, I actually agree with that. !!!!!

I had an injury and it took a long time to change my mindset sufficiently to let my body heal.

I have nothing but for compassion for anyone who has to embark on this painful and confusing journey alone.

D.


Please take my apologies for having slipped trough that one!

Yep, imagination is so crucial all in all.
Imagine kids would have lectures on relaxation / meditation and mind shaping in school, and what it could do. ( And if it only be 20 min per day.)
It could partially also come with entertaining physcial exercises like with bow & arrow, billard, darts, boule, certain martial arts excerts and head over into autogene and hypnosis fractions.

Whatever, building up routine with mind control ( not in a quack sense of scientology alikes, naturally, but exclusicely practical / pragmatically related; - just saying that before any hypotjetical objections), basically in the way todays top athletes are being tought to ...
Should really bring us closer to unfolding human potential and increasing individuals´ satisfaction.

Ruphus
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 28 2013 19:12:47
 
El Comanche

 

Posts: 10
Joined: Mar. 20 2011
 

RE: Focal Dystonia. (in reply to Ruphus

quote:

I have Nunez´"La Guittarra" DVD and recall his ergonomics to have been fine on that production ( release date 2004).

Good posture is when there is no unnecessary bending of joints / no needlessly distanced paths / prolonging for muscle groups and tendons.


Though it is directly related to tension in your playing, Focal Dystonia has almost nothing to do with technique. On the contrary, focusing on technique when FD kicks in only makes it worse.

You are right, in Gerardo's DVD his technique was fine, yet I believe he has FD. FD for flamenco guitarists most often happens for a couple reasons.

Over repetition of the same fine motor skill would be the main culprit. Trying to refine something that cannot be refined anymore. You'd have to think to have Gerardo's technique he had to be pretty obsessive. The brain fries a circuit at some point.

Playing too hard. A movement can become dystonic very quickly with just the right amount of excess force for an extended time. Perhaps that crazy agressive tremolo he had did some damage, who knows.

Pressure/anxiety. There is a massive amount of pressure that comes with being a professional flamenco guitarist. Even for the bad asses that grew up with it. Flamenco is very competitive and sometimes even vicious environment to be around.

I'm gonna go out on a limb here with the perspective of someone actually dealing with FD and in the middle of rehab. Watching Gerardo's latest videos I'm of the opinion his tendon injury is not the main issue. I believe he has Focal Dystonia. If you watch his first first finger will still pick inward involuntarily in random spots. If that tendon was severed to the point of not healing this would be possible. You can see the tension in his body and face. You can hear the tension in his playing. His tone, touch and accuracy is completely different:


If you look at the old videos he is totally serene and flowing:


This is common amongst pros that get it. You keep pushing forward anyway. This is very dangerous. Gerardo is such a prolific guitarist I'm sure the thought of stopping for a year or two for treatment is impossible. But it's probably exactly what he needs. For players like Viejin, this denial becomes their demise. He no longer plays from my understanding.

This is such a personal thing, no one can be judged for how they deal with it. Most don't realize that they have it, which I think is Gerardo's case as he has another injury to justifiably put the blame. When it gets bad though you only have two choices: Stop, get help, and do whatever it takes to heal. Or grind your hands/brain into the ground as long as you can till there is nothing left and lose it forever. The longer you wait, the more "layers" of dystonia there are to peel away and the harder the recovery.

For me the thought of not performing for a year was horrific. This condition is the hardest challenge I've ever faced. Now I'm relieved to have finally faced it. I sincerely hope to make a full recovery within a year, and release new concert footage to show those going through this that it is possible to fully recover. David Leisner are many others have.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 1 2013 2:14:10
 
Elie

Posts: 1837
Joined: Apr. 10 2010
 

RE: Focal Dystonia. (in reply to Pingaloka

one tough post you got there El Comanche

i tend to agree with you, because after experiencing FD .. I can see some dystonic moves in his hand.

cheers and welcome to the foro

_____________________________

http://www.youtube.com/user/GuitarristaAD
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 1 2013 11:45:57
 
Ricardo

Posts: 13515
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

RE: Focal Dystonia. (in reply to El Comanche

quote:

ORIGINAL: El Comanche

quote:

I have Nunez´"La Guittarra" DVD and recall his ergonomics to have been fine on that production ( release date 2004).

Good posture is when there is no unnecessary bending of joints / no needlessly distanced paths / prolonging for muscle groups and tendons.


Though it is directly related to tension in your playing, Focal Dystonia has almost nothing to do with technique. On the contrary, focusing on technique when FD kicks in only makes it worse.

You are right, in Gerardo's DVD his technique was fine, yet I believe he has FD. FD for flamenco guitarists most often happens for a couple reasons.

Over repetition of the same fine motor skill would be the main culprit. Trying to refine something that cannot be refined anymore. You'd have to think to have Gerardo's technique he had to be pretty obsessive. The brain fries a circuit at some point.

Playing too hard. A movement can become dystonic very quickly with just the right amount of excess force for an extended time. Perhaps that crazy agressive tremolo he had did some damage, who knows.

Pressure/anxiety. There is a massive amount of pressure that comes with being a professional flamenco guitarist. Even for the bad asses that grew up with it. Flamenco is very competitive and sometimes even vicious environment to be around.

I'm gonna go out on a limb here with the perspective of someone actually dealing with FD and in the middle of rehab. Watching Gerardo's latest videos I'm of the opinion his tendon injury is not the main issue. I believe he has Focal Dystonia. If you watch his first first finger will still pick inward involuntarily in random spots. If that tendon was severed to the point of not healing this would be possible. You can see the tension in his body and face. You can hear the tension in his playing. His tone, touch and accuracy is completely different:


If you look at the old videos he is totally serene and flowing:


This is common amongst pros that get it. You keep pushing forward anyway. This is very dangerous. Gerardo is such a prolific guitarist I'm sure the thought of stopping for a year or two for treatment is impossible. But it's probably exactly what he needs. For players like Viejin, this denial becomes their demise. He no longer plays from my understanding.

This is such a personal thing, no one can be judged for how they deal with it. Most don't realize that they have it, which I think is Gerardo's case as he has another injury to justifiably put the blame. When it gets bad though you only have two choices: Stop, get help, and do whatever it takes to heal. Or grind your hands/brain into the ground as long as you can till there is nothing left and lose it forever. The longer you wait, the more "layers" of dystonia there are to peel away and the harder the recovery.

For me the thought of not performing for a year was horrific. This condition is the hardest challenge I've ever faced. Now I'm relieved to have finally faced it. I sincerely hope to make a full recovery within a year, and release new concert footage to show those going through this that it is possible to fully recover. David Leisner are many others have.


I want to agree with your opinion, and of course accept it is a possibility, but for two things. 1. I was pretty close to him when the accident happened meaning I know it was a sudden event that stopped his playing. It wasn't like he started losing it and cancelled concerts to focus on technique because the normal onset of FD. He had to stop cold for 3 months when he was on top of the game. 2. I have not known anybody that only had this problem with ONE finger, especially the strong one.

I thought at first he might have this FD thing but overtime saw the problem progress it didn't seem like the same thing others deal with. I could be wrong, but I watched his posture change over time as he dealt with or accepted the problem with the index, which was always there since he started playing again. I felt it odd and overkill to train the m and a fingers as he did, yet it appears that THAT training has saved his career. He is quite comfy playing all that stuff with m/a only though it looks terrible to us normal players.

there could be an argument that that type of training would have perhaps triggered the decline of the index control, but I would love to hear of at least ONE other same case.

You talk of viejin, I am not up on the details of his problem (thought it was the culto that got him out of flamenco biz), but I could perhaps understand as it seems the method of the caño roto guys is to really push the speed and loudness issue vs say the Manolo Sanlucar very relaxed and non aggressive approach to technique. Nuñez was always relaxed and controlled too as I observed, if FD is the true problem it's surprising to me.

_____________________________

CD's and transcriptions available here:
www.ricardomarlow.com
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 1 2013 13:34:24
 
guitarbuddha

 

Posts: 2970
Joined: Jan. 4 2007
 

RE: Focal Dystonia. (in reply to Ricardo

quote:

ORIGINAL: Ricardo



there could be an argument that that type of training would have perhaps triggered the decline of the index control, but I would love to hear of at least ONE other same case.



Posture is about the WHOLE BODY. Look at his whole body use, doesn't it just shout at you ?

Nicola Hall also had focal dystonia and retrained ma to work like im. She no longer plays.

Best read is in Oliver Sacks wonderful book Musicophilia where he has a section on case histories at the back with mostly pianists. A great read for any musician regardless

Recent neural imaging has suggested that musicians can sometimes elide mentally elements of their body mapping with misguided practice. Orson Wells mentioned this. If you have focal distonia then this is what is likely to cause it. If you are struggling to recover from a traumatic injury and there is no longer a mechanical or nerve problem then this is likely to be the source of it.

David Leisner has not even remotely solved his motor control issues. If this is not obvious then keep looking at him till it is. If it still isn't obvious well..... the blind shouldn't lead the blind.

I cannot recommend strongly enough Alexander Technique for retraining whole body use. WHOLE BODY.... No one would seriously suggest that they know how to train a musicians hands (no sane person anyway) better than Gerardo. I certainly wouldn't and don't. I believe that he needs to pay more attention to the use of his whole body and that other things will become obvious if he does this. The easiest way is to find a good Alexander Technique teacher and be patient. It took me about three years to get good enough for it to help. But he is probably not as bloody minded as me and may learn much more quickly.

Here is a good link http://www.pedrodealcantara.com/indirect-procedures/
for anyone interested. But like music books don't cut it like a good teacher.

D.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 1 2013 14:00:12
 
Blondie#2

 

Posts: 530
Joined: Sep. 14 2010
 

RE: Focal Dystonia. (in reply to Ricardo

quote:


I want to agree with your opinion, and of course accept it is a possibility, but for two things. 1. I was pretty close to him when the accident happened meaning I know it was a sudden event that stopped his playing. It wasn't like he started losing it and cancelled concerts to focus on technique because the normal onset of FD.


Actually an injury is one of the common precursors of FD, much research points to this. It *does* sometimes come on quickly, and is not always not a slow downward spiral in control.

quote:

I thought at first he might have this FD thing but overtime saw the problem progress it didn't seem like the same thing others deal with.


Control of M and or A are the most common fingers affected, but how the dystonia manifests can look very different depending on how the individual has tried (unconciously) to try and correct the problem. Its a kind of chain reaction that can go all sorts of different ways, affecting other fingers.

quote:


there could be an argument that that type of training would have perhaps triggered the decline of the index control, but I would love to hear of at least ONE other same case.


If you mean a case where the I finger is involuntarily flexing/curling into the palm, there was a good example on You Tube, I could try and find it again.
Involuntary flexion of I was actually how my FD first manifested, whenever I tried to play M the I finger curled tightly into my palm.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 1 2013 14:27:55
 
Blondie#2

 

Posts: 530
Joined: Sep. 14 2010
 

RE: Focal Dystonia. (in reply to guitarbuddha

quote:



Nicola Hall also had focal dystonia and retrained ma to work like im.


Thats what I heard too, and tried to tell people on another forum. Is this 2nd hand info, are you 100% sure? I heard FD was Simon Dinnigan's downfall too.

Both absolute virtuosos.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 1 2013 14:29:41
 
Ricardo

Posts: 13515
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

RE: Focal Dystonia. (in reply to guitarbuddha

quote:

Posture is about the WHOLE BODY. Look at his whole body use, doesn't it just shout at you ?


Not really. Not any more than any other seated guitarist with a close mic. I hope you don't suggest the sitting position is a trigger of FD. Classical and flamenco guys and many others all sit differently. gerardo also uses trad position and plays the same.

quote:

Nicola Hall also had focal dystonia and retrained ma to work like im. She no longer plays.


That is interesting. I couldn't find vid, the ones on youtube she plays fine. You imply with that that her i finger was the problem, but don't directly say that. Nuñez never had a problem ever with a/m and has not developed any problems there either. If Nicola never had problems either with m/a then I understand this is a very good case of the same issue. But so far (knock on wood), it has been many years already (5 years) of lots of playing and concertizing the other fingers show no problems or signs of control issue. If they ever do in the slightest, it will be so obvious it is FD. THe second implication is that Nicola worked with m/a until they also failed and she threw in the towel?

I could concede that if Nuñez DOES have FD that his mental state brought it on after the accident (something might be wrong, but it WASN'T so he made the index fail somehow?), but it still seems weird based on what I saw over the years.

I hope that you guys can understand that talking about the "proper" technique doesn't seem to even be the issue, if what some of you guys are saying is true, so it is a moot point to point finger at non FD victim as doing it "right". It would seem that any and ALL players are somehow vulnerable to this thing and nothing at all can prevent it's onset, only possible treatments later to rehabilitate. Old men like PDL and Sanlucar are only "the lucky ones" that didn't get it. I find that fact hard to swallow it if be the truth.

_____________________________

CD's and transcriptions available here:
www.ricardomarlow.com
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 1 2013 14:43:25
 
guitarbuddha

 

Posts: 2970
Joined: Jan. 4 2007
 

RE: Focal Dystonia. (in reply to Blondie#2

quote:

ORIGINAL: Blondie#2

quote:



Nicola Hall also had focal dystonia and retrained ma to work like im.


Thats what I heard too, and tried to tell people on another forum. Is this 2nd hand info, are you 100% sure? I heard FD was Simon Dinnigan's downfall too.

Both absolute virtuosos.


Principal Cellist in RSNO watched her play Aranjuez and noticed she wasn't using i finger ( her husband is a guitarist ).

I don't follow classical guitar much so I had no idea that fatty had fallen. I know his duet partner and don't like his playing much (although he is certainly able) and all three of them studied with Crosskeys in Manchester. The way Gordon's pupil structured our Technique class at college left my hand feeling worse each and every time. Flawed pedagogy can be worse than teaching oneself.

D.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 1 2013 14:43:37
 
guitarbuddha

 

Posts: 2970
Joined: Jan. 4 2007
 

RE: Focal Dystonia. (in reply to Ricardo

quote:

ORIGINAL: Ricardo



I hope you don't suggest the sitting position is a trigger of FD.



I don't see things that simplistically but it wouldn't help.If your question was 'Would a better use of his whole body aid his recovery' then without question I would answer emphatically YES.

Forget about hands and mic's and even the guitar and look at the videos again I am sure you will get what I mean. Maybe think of it like this, if younger and older Gererdo were to stand up and have a game of badminton who do you think would win ? (and I'm not being weird or facetious here but I don't think you are getting what I mean by posture,,,, it has absolutely nothing to do with the guitar.)


D.

PS (anyone responding to the badminton analogy with 'witty' comments congratulations in advance for missing the point.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 1 2013 14:56:42
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