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Here's a question from a guitarist:

QUESTION: It took me only a couple days to be able to touch the strings without spasms or tension. However, I don't quite get where to go next. Stage 2?

You say we need to "keep moving". In what way?

So I guess my question is, after the first stage of being able to touch the guitar and strings without FD how should I proceed? What would be the next stage? Am I looking for openings in the fabric of FD by moving and seeking areas where I can start pulling the strings (slow) more? (3) You also said we won't be playing the guitar in the same way... As I do understand this I not sure how far out of standard guitar technique should I go. "


Here's a (not so comprehensive) answer but something that might help you understand how I personally dealt with the problem.

ANSWER: As you know, there are many different elements to what seems to be the 'missing piece of information' according to each stages of so called recovery. In regards to your question, what comes after being able to touch the strings without FD interfering... it is rather difficult to comment unless I learn a little more about your specific case, but I bet you can explore in many different directions.

As for resolving the symptoms by retraining, I think my approach is pretty analytical. People think I am a bit neurotic about it, but this is precisely what helped me fine tune tiny bit of dystonic reaction all the way up to being able to play any standard concert repertoire. If you can identify the specific triggers to occurrence of each reaction and know how to work on dissolving each of those problem, you'll eventually be able to play without any difficulty. Here are the triggers that I have chunked and categorised by observing my own case and also

through observing improvements of others with MFD.

Trigger 1: Thought of playing the instrument

Trigger 2: Lack of sensory ability to decode the environment

Trigger 3: Not recognising the sequencing of the pressure

Trigger 4: Delayed response of recognition of release and having difficulty unfreezing

Trigger 5: Tensing and blocked movement from unnatural skeletal positioning

Trigger 6: Unbalanced muscles, the flexors and extensors, abductors and abductees from limited range of motion

Trigger 7: Lack of clear body image of movement images… lost reference point

Trigger 8: Broken communication between body parts

Trigger 9: Being in a different nervous and emotional state that what you have practice

Trigger 10: Misjudging weight with tension

There are few ways to break the trigger- reaction chain events.

We can either try to dodge the trigger all together by avoiding the usual thought process, or fill in the missing components in order to carry out the movements smoothly so the reaction will start dissolving little by little.

We could also use the movements of the compensatory finger and some 'sensory trick' to our advantage.

Now, why we have those trigger-reaction in the first place is a very important factor to consider.

I think we get FD because of some form of imbalance. It is really important that our body knows the full extent of the sensory experience needed in order to balance out the sensory perspective so we can carry out the desired movement.

Moving naturally, experiencing the full range of motion without restriction does precisely that. Trying to control dystonic tension rarely works if you're trying to control it with some other form of tension.

If you can try to image all of the joints in your body moving or movable at any giving point of any subtle movement, you should be in a good state for retraining. Make sure that you are movable and try to sense every bit of what is going on in your whole body. This will help you elevate the sensory input, the information that your body could be missing in order to make sense out of the environment to move. See, when can not decode our inner and immediate outer environment, we don't know how to move.

Pulling the string slowly will help dissolve Triggers 2, 3, 4, 7 and 8 depending on how you work.

You won't be playing guitar in the same way in the sense that the thought process that you have now in order to carry out certain movements is not working, so you want to be able to initially break that process and be able to build a new variation of though process until that become your new normal. The focus is not about changing technique but identifying the thought process that triggers the tension, and so it might eventually feel like you're playing your instrument differently because you will have much more heightened state of awareness when you play.


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