Focal Dystonia

Ergonomics and Posture for Classical Guitarists, Aches and Pains, Injuries, etc...
guit-box
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Re: Focal Dystonia

Post by guit-box » Sat Mar 05, 2016 4:59 pm

Your approach of treating the knuckle joint as the main thrust and fully following through from that joint into the palm is definitely in good company. Most notably is William Kanengiser in his Effortless Classical Guitar video and also Scott Tennant talking about "swing space" in Pumping Nylon. I have spent many 100s of hours practicing that way, and come back to it from time to time and it seems to work for a bit for me, but never feels totally comfortable. I've also taken lessons with some amazing players who have insisted that's exactly how I should practice and they insist that's how they play. So, if it works for you, that's great and I wouldn't want to come off as saying it's wrong, I'm not doing that, I'm just discussing my observations. The thing I've observed in 100s of videos of those two players, and all the other world class players, is in practice no one is ever following through from the KJ into the palm when they are playing actual music. What I see is a pluck that is more middle joint flexing with knuckle joint simultaneously extending--so the extending is incorporated into the pluck. With this approach, the repositioning of the finger on the string is more an act of gravity or a release of the finger once it's in a position where the MJ is flexed and the KJ is extended. You've probably seen my thread with the slow motion videos of this. From a physics standpoint, if the KJ moves all the way into the palm, it obviously then has to move back out, which requires a lot of effort. What do you make of the videos showing players doing the opposite of what they teach?
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benessa
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Re: Focal Dystonia

Post by benessa » Sat Mar 05, 2016 5:48 pm

I do know that Kanengiser's technique has evolved since making his instructional videos.
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guit-box
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Re: Focal Dystonia

Post by guit-box » Sat Mar 05, 2016 9:34 pm

Interesting, I did not know that. It's off topic, but if you want to tell me about it here or send me a PM with details, I'm interesting in hearing what he does now.
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benessa
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Re: Focal Dystonia

Post by benessa » Sat Mar 05, 2016 10:50 pm

I don't know of any details, just that I saw a more recent video of him playing a Sor etude (#9 of the Segovia edition) and he's clearly playing from the MCP joint.

But it's important to place each video and concert of someone's playing into context. The video above is a pedagogic study so he's going to focus on a technique he would use to teach it. All players and teachers techniques evolve over time. When teaching a beginning or intermediate level player you're going to focus on clear execution of strokes in a certain manner, and often taught with an exaggerated movement, so that the hand develops a strong muscle memory. Once the student is beyond that level they can develop more nuance and freedom in their technique. These nuances are what a performer will use as well. They may be breaking their own "rules' all over the place, but that doesn't mean they didn't go through all the steps they teach to get to that place. Additionally, different pieces require different techniques. I'm not sure it's that beneficial to view a performer's videos too pedantically: They would have to be seen according to a timeline, and whether they're etudes taped with the sole purpose of making an example to a student, or a piece played in concert for aesthetic value.
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Re: Focal Dystonia

Post by guit-box » Sat Mar 05, 2016 11:16 pm

I agree with you about teaching beginners. Obviously us folks with focal dystonia are all professional musicians and that's the intended audience of the video analysis thread. I had a conversation with Christopher Berg and took a lesson with him because he has a different approach than the traditional method of teaching to play from the knuckle joint. He agreed with me that it was the middle joint doing much of the actual plucking and he said one shouldn't over exaggerate moving the finger into the palm from the KJ. I still slightly disagree with him, I don't think the KJ moves into the palm at all--once it reaches the string, its work is done and it's actually moving away when the middle joint plucks. But, overall I agree with him much more than the old-school pedagogy. Check out the last two videos I posted on my slow motion thread: viewtopic.php?f=6&t=80875&start=300 The one of Kaori Muraji is revealing. At slow motion she teaches tremolo and her hand moves from the KJ but as soon as it speeds it up, it's all MJ. The very last video of Scott Tennant shows his i finger very actively extending with zero KJ follow-through. Since I've been actively practicing to move my fingers in this way, my hand has been improving. It's not something I ever worked on, and it has not been an instant difference -- I've been playing many hours of exercises specifically working on only middle joint, treating myself like an absolute beginner, but it's working. I couldn't play Yankee Doodle three years ago with simple i,m alternating and now I'm playing intermediate level pieces.
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benessa
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Re: Focal Dystonia

Post by benessa » Sat Mar 05, 2016 11:56 pm

No effort is ever required on the release no matter how far the finger goes into to palm - the release just happens. It's going back to its neutral state.

It would be useful to use medical terms for the joints since they are all "knuckles:" MCP, PIP, DIP.

Regarding getting technique from videos to help with FD: I won't. You never know if the player has a technique which will develop into FD in the future, or has adjusted their hand to their own peculiarity, or if they have ever had any sort of repetitive stress disorder in the past.
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Re: Focal Dystonia

Post by guit-box » Sun Mar 06, 2016 12:43 am

I believe your observation about Kanengiser using more MJ (PIP) in recent videos is right on, but I don't see that as any different than what he's always done. It's the teaching/demonstrating that's different than the playing. Just like the Kaori Muraji lesson, and many other video demonstrations vs actually performances.

Okay, I've pretty much mentioned everything I wanted to and I sense there's not much interest for my analysis of right hand movement here so I'll leave it at that. Thanks for the discussion and good luck with your journey.
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benessa
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Re: Focal Dystonia

Post by benessa » Sat Mar 12, 2016 4:45 am

It is extremely distressing to learn that Keith Emerson of Emerson, Lake, and Palmer, may have committed suicide due to depression developing from focal dystonia. This is such a serious, debilitating disorder, mostly ignored except by people dealing with it. http://m.tmz.com/#article/2016/03/11/ke ... h-suicide/
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Re: Focal Dystonia

Post by guit-box » Sat Jun 25, 2016 4:39 am

I didn't know that Emerson had it, that is sad.

This came to my email today, you may be interested:

[media]https://youtu.be/TH_NhLh2qhQ[/media]

If you've read my posts, you probably already know that I disagree with his assessment that he is moving from the MP (knuckle) joint primarily. He's doing that when demonstrating but moves from PIP (middle joint) in all the musical examples and arpeggios. It seems clear to me that the initial movement is, of course, from the MP joint, but it's the PIP, DIP flexion that sets the string in motion. If this helped him recover from focal dystonia, that's great, but just focusing on the MP joint movement is not what has helped me, it's more complex than that. I believe the movement is a sequential combination of (simply put) a drumming or hammering of the finger to the string (MP) and then a scratching/ pull-off motion from the PIP,DIP joints. Just focusing on the hammering movement from the MP will not produce a complete stroke.
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ronjazz
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Re: Focal Dystonia

Post by ronjazz » Sun Jun 26, 2016 1:36 am

Well, he's a sham. Focal dystonia is most certainly a neurological disorder. In fact, he still has it. so he hasn't recovered from it.
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Blondie
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Re: Focal Dystonia

Post by Blondie » Sun Jun 26, 2016 6:32 pm

Bizarre video. Apart from the claims made about focal dystonia, says his way is the 'only way to recover', then demonstrates the basic Shearer/Berg notion of sympathetic movement in M-A-C as if this is the cure (how?) plays a couple of pieces (not fond of his tone) and then demonstrates a bunch of arpeggio motions often with a very odd thumb technique - playing from the tip only. The latter produces horrible tone as it is not striking the string properly (good example around 10 mins in - PI alternation).

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Re: Focal Dystonia

Post by guit-box » Wed Jul 06, 2016 7:38 pm

The only thing I've ever heard of that works is basically re-learning to play the guitar--finding new brain to finger pathways, so basically starting over. In talking with him, that appears to be what he's done--1000s of hours of practice. I just have a difficult time believing that spending hours just focusing on moving the MP joint all the way into the palm and not moving the other joints is what helped him to play again. My suspicion is that he was unknowingly moving the other joints more than he thought because you can see places in the video (index finger specifically but all fingers) where the PIP is the joint that's moving the most. I'm fine with being proven wrong, but it makes no logical sense that moving the fingers one very specific way is good training to move them a completely different way. It makes more sense that you get good at what you practice, but again this focal dystonia is a bit of a mystery.
An eyewitness will often only see what he already believes to be true.

Luis_Br
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Re: Focal Dystonia

Post by Luis_Br » Thu Jul 21, 2016 2:02 pm

Here some useful links from a friend who has overcome FD:

https://www.dystonia-foundation.org/
http://www.fariastechnique.com/

ALBANESE, Alberto et al. Phenomenology and classification of dystonia: a
consensus update, 2013.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23649720

CHANÁ-CUEVAS, Pedro et al. Distonía del guitarrista: tratamiento con reeducación sensorial, 2003.
https://www.researchgate.net/publicatio ... _with_sens

CHARLESWORTH, Gavin et al. The Genetics of Dystonia, 2013.
http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/806949

CHONG, John et al. Occupational Health Problems of Musicians, 1989.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2280293/

COSTA, Cristina; ABRAHÃO, Júlia. Quando o tocar dói: um olhar ergonômico sobre o fazer musical, 2004.
http://www.musica.ufmg.br/permusi/port/ ... cap_05.pdf

COTÉ, Timothy et al. Botulinum toxin type A injections: adverse events reported to the US Food and Drug Administration in therapeutic and cosmetic cases, 2005. Disponível em:
https://www.researchgate.net/publicatio ... Polder_J_A_ Walton_M_K_Braun_M_M_Botulinum_toxin_type_A_injections_adverse_events_reported_t o_the_US_Food_and_Drug_Administration_in_therapeutic_and_cosmetic_cases_J_Am_Aca d_Dermatol.

GARCIA, Ricardo Rosembergue. Distonia focal e a atividade do performer musical: uma breve revisão de literatura, 2009.
http://www.seer.unirio.br/index.php/sim ... /2777/2086

LLOBET, Jaume et al. Clinical analysis of musicians' focal hand dystonia. Review of 86 cases, 2005. Disponível em:
https://www.researchgate.net/publicatio ... s'_focal_h

Sensory motor returning: a behavioral treatment for focal dystonia of pinists and guitarists - Victor Candia - 2002
https://kops.uni-konstanz.de/bitstream/ ... sequence=1

Alteration of digital representations in somatosensory cortex in focal dystonia. Elbert and Candia - 1998.
https://kops.uni-konstanz.de/bitstream/ ... sequence=1

Motor training as treatment in focal hand dystonia. Zehner and Shills - 2005.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15486996

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