The only movements worth doing are the one which liberate

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In the moment...

Being in the moment, without judgement, without any type of constraints, is a major tool in overcoming musician's focal dystonia. Once someone realizes there is no wrong note, no wrong rhythm, the body relaxes and the movement starts to regain its original freedom.

I deeply thank Kenny Werner for this realization. Read "Effortless Mastery" and "Becoming the instrument". Practice along the Kenny Werner Jamey Aebersold "Free Play" play along. Everyday... until you find your freedom... then go further...

It doesn't matter anyway...

You can’t define who you are by how you play… you can’t define your self worth by some physical abilities.

You can’t define your person by your music. You are an individual playing music. It is an activity you do, not who you are.

Don't play old tunes

Do not play old tunes, old etudes, old exercises. It will trigger your focal dystonic movements as they are now linked to those passages. It is difficult to erase the memory of the bad movements, it takes time. It is very much like forgetting a bad experience, it has to dissolve. Every time you access a memory, you re enforce the synapses, and make it easier to re trigger. Also, I believe it keeps the brain map from resizing itself to the correct dimension.

Later on, when much further into your healing process, you'll be able to slowly revisit those pieces of music, as long as the emotional aspect linked to them has also been processed and overcome.

New approach

So much of our movements are the same old one, how many lines we play the same... same intervals, same scales, same notes combinations, and so and so...

Only a new approach at playing an instrument, through neuroplasticity will produce a new result. All new elements destined at shaping our new self and our future. Also by playing new finger combinations, you'll be able to "rebuilt" the hand in a much more complete manner, which will cover all finger permutations.

Learn new patterns, new scales, like byzantine, whole tone, half diminished, dim whole tone (a whole world of scales)... triad pairs, approach notes, enclosures, displace by half steps, whole steps, min. and maj., thirds, fourths...

Playing everything with varied rhythms, skips and articulations.

At first playing staccato will be easier, as legato reveals all the fingers timing issues, deficiencies in technic which frustrates and tightens the muscles. Slow slurred lines comes much later.

Sing the notes you play

Play by sounds, not movements

Sing all the lines before playing them on the instrument.

Singing a note and playing a sound instead of thinking about a finger movement, will associate the note to a different part of your brain. It will also connect you to a much more fulfilling way of creating music, where a sound is the essence.

Like explained in Kenny Werner book "Becoming the instrument", only playing without judgment can free you.

Same with movements, observing from a neutral point, without judgement is the key to freedom... all notes are equal, all sounds a equal, there is no beauty as there is no ugliness, only instants of living, of remodeling our brain as to free us further, enabling a deeper life experience, truer to our essence.

Don't care...

Don't care about the notes, rhythms, just play and listen, be surprised, its all fine!

Atonal and arhythmic

Atonal arhythmic playing will liberate you, it will let you re experience the instrument from a sound aspect.

The goal is to spot any pattern you play, to meditate as you play, empty and in the moment, becoming aware of any preconceived line, any regurgitated music and movements which just tie you to the past, to stored energy.

Same with note choices, intervals being used, sequences of notes...

Play alone in a completely arhythmic manner, without any metronome, drums or play along tracks like the Kenny Werner Jamey Aebersold "Free Play" play along. By not having a specific time expectation of when to sound the note, the finger doesn't tighten up trying to be in time. It can be either with a down or up motion. Let the note play and release on its own time, energy, don't interfere, just let it be free.

Play in a pitch black room, so the movements can't be seen, only experienced... like blowing a musical note into the void... for no other reason than being in the moment and truly living an instant.

Create sounds

Make noises, sounds with your instrument. Explore, try anything... blow, tap, hit, sing, scream... develop a different relationship with it, not a judgmental system where only a specific approach with a defined result is accepted.

You can't die from playing the "ugliest" sound

All sounds are just a color of the palette, endless, all there to convey a sonic message, energy...

Like a drop of ink

Like a drop of ink in clear water, be aware of your note mixing with the "outside" world, the whole experience of the sound coming from within you, mixing with the outside... playing slower and slower... experiencing dissolution.

Play with a drone, experience the relationship of each note on your instrument to the drone, slowly, listening to the intervalic relationship and it's effect on your being.

Find your musical identity

The movements most adapted to your body are the one belonging to your musical identity.

Wearing someone else's shoes will never be as comfortable as your own.

Music being a combination of emotions, thoughts, logic, movements, breathing, sounds and sights, only a deeply personal approach will be in complete harmony with your self.

Finding your musical identity, should be worked on as much as all the other aspects of music training. It only comes from learning and being exposed to other musical forms, art forms, books, travels, deep contacts with other life forms... through all life experiences...

Once this more complete musical identity comes through, even with physical limitations, a never before achieved freedom of expression will emerge.

Play free

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