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Counter Balancing and Fine Tuning Technique for Musicians with Focal Dystonia


Mindful Pianist's Guide to Self-Training Course


Thank you so much for visiting my site.

My dear musician with focal dystonia, I know... having focal dystonia is HARD.

I remember it hitting me very hard when I realised that after experimenting and working so hard on trying to alleviate symptoms, it still was nowhere close to level where I had envisioned myself playing and performing by then.  I looked around and everybody seemed just effortless on their instrument.  It was not fair.  Why did I have feel so handicapped and ashamed of myself?

Small things worked out here and there and still... no matter how hard I tried, there seemed to always be a setback that slams your face as though it says, 'nah nah it's not that easy, you'll never play the way you want!'  

Those were the hard days.

Looking back, I feel like it's a miracle that I stuck with what I was doing.

I think I stuck to what I was doing because for some reason, I had faith that my body will eventually restore balance and can kindly say bye to this annoying guest called focal dystonia if I would review and brush up my memory on the basics of piano playing technique and get back into the heart and soul of music making. 

And it really did go away. 

Curling finger, sticking finger, weird sensations, uneven notes, extreme tension and unnatural positions throughs off your senses on how you're 'supposed to play'.  But still, when you constantly remind your body the full capacity of movement by exaggerating healthy movements, tuning into the sensations by reviewing sequencing of every little bit of sensual event like a single frame of a film, the imagery of the body performing at the instrument becomes very vivid again in our stored memory bank.  

This memory is very crucial in carrying our fine motor movement especially when our mind/body is in doubt.  Making clear intention by vividly recalling what our hands and fingers are actually doing at any given time, feeling how the keyboard really feels like, intentionally feeling the resistance of the keyboard when you let go of just enough weight from your fingertips in ever incremental matter, exploring the full range of movement and sensing what it feels like to use the facility of your body to the fullest extent,  all zaps out the vagueness of the movement that we became too accustomed to, and gives confidence to our musicians' physics. 

This year marks my 9th year sharing and teaching my thoughts and ideas in-regards to training musicians with focal dystonia with other professional and enthusiastic amateur musicians in my local community.   I also have been an active advocate of the healing power that we have within each and every single one of us and have been an 'MFD activist' to make this world into a better place with musicians with focal dystonia in my own weird ways. 

It has been a very interesting 9 years to say the least. 

To be completely honest with you, when I started out, I thought I had found all the answers to the so called problem called focal dystonia, since I had figured out how to work on mine.

Boy was I wrong. 

Clearing my own path to freedom was one thing, trying to figure out what to clear for someone else was a completely different story.  Even though when the symptoms appeared to look very similar, the underlining mental habits and associations for every movement on the instrument, how they process music, how they identify themselves around the instrument, practice and performance were so fingerprint specific to each person, and thus the dynamic of the trigger for each specific occurrence of dystonic reaction was fingerprint specific as well.  That itself was a whole new pandora's box to explore. 

But in the grander scale of things, I have found that it's very comforting to know that once we, the musician, are empowered by our own physical, mental, spiritual, psychological power to heal ourselves from within, the fog starts clearing out again in our own fingerprint specific ways.

This is precisely what I love doing, to remind and empower every musician their own capability to restore their own balance, and also it is the world that I envision, a world where every musician is empowered by their own artistic power that sorts out chaos and heals.  There is something very very humane in this very process.  

I have no doubt that during my lifetime, with the advance in technology and science , how we share information and even artificial intelligence could all contribute to dramatic increase of cure rate for musicians' focal dystonia.  But at the same time, I have no doubt that the secret to what advances as humanity is within our artistic power of sorting out individual chaos. 

We've got lots of work to do...

So here, at 2021, I would like to offer myself to my online community, to be your co-pilot to navigate towards clearing the fog in your specific case.   I will keep on feeding you with different ideas that might resonate with you until you can start internalising steps to train yourself to have less dystonic reaction, to position your body to optimally function, have better mental attitude towards practicing and performing and to eventually where you can feel complete freedom to play your instrument.  

For a limited time, or until caps are filled,  I am opening enrollment for my self-training technique sessions online.

Mindful Pianist's Guide to Self-Training Technique 12 weeks course 

Some topics we will be covering in your private skype lessons or weekly lectures that will be delivered are....

  • What to expect and what not to expect when you are training by yourself. 

  • What is the optimal time spend retraining a day/week?

  • What is an observational eye and how developing it will drastically improve your performance.

  • An approach that unifies mind,body and spirit.

  • How can I not be emotional during retraining?

  • The question that will make you have an honest conversation with yourself. 

  • Do you have focal dystonia symptoms 24/7?  Where is your neutral zone?

  • How to take advantage of your compensatory movements.

  • How to take advantage of your sensory trick.

  • Tension = Un-movement, how to turn un-movement into movement and ease.

  • Building clearer body image.

  • Identifying your joints and keeping them movable.

  • Dodging VS Dissolving

  • Is a juggler's attention focused or disbursed? 

  • Observing your dystonic reaction and identifying triggers

  • Looking into psychological setback, what was your overdrive moment?

  • What exactly do I need to do on daily basis to start seeing more results?

The triggers we will be identifying and will be counterbalancing are..

  • Thought of playing the instrument

  • Lack of sensory processing ability to decode the environment

  • Not recognising the sequencing of the pressure with the instrument having unclear reference point

  • Delayed response of recognition of release and having difficulty unfreezing

  • Tensing and blocked movement from unnatural skeletal positioning

  • Unbalanced muscles: the flexors and the extensors

  • Lack of clear body image or movement images … reference point lost due to lack of sensory awareness

  • Broken communication between body parts

  • Being in a different nervous and emotional state than what you have practiced

  • Misjudging weight and tension

This course is for you if...

You have been diagnosed of focal dystonia. 

You are all in on getting better. 

You have made decision to take FULL responsibility for your own recovery. 

You can make time and energy to try new ideas and tactics.

You are stuck at where you have been and looking for new ideas to advance your recovery.

You are unsure of how you are training by yourself.

You have become a lot better already but are ready to have different prospective so you can cultivate more of your own ideas. 

You would love someone to be involved in your recovery process so you can have more accountability for yourself.

You wholeheartedly believe that the new insights you will pick up along the way of recovery will make you a better performer and a better musician.  

This course is not for you if...

You are not sure if you have focal dystonia.

You want a quick fix. 

You want someone else to save you from all of your problems.

You have no time nor energy to dedicate yourself on something new. (It's okay if you don't have it now, you can always start it later when you can make a better environment for yourself). 

You are currently under a different retraining program.  I would avoid starting another one just to avoid any confusion and so you can maintain the effectiveness of your current program. 

What I can promise you...

I will promise that I will deliver best of my knowledge from my own experience and from coaching others.

I also promise that I will let you know if I feel like I can not help you and offer you a full refund. 

I will promise that I will be your best cheerleader. 

I promise that your personal information will not be shared with anyone.  

What I can not promise...

I can not promise you any result. 

I can not promise you that you will be feeling better, results vastly varies on what you do on your day to day activity even outside time you set aside for training. 

I can not promise you that the training will be easy, in fact, I can assure you that it will be difficult, though it can be very rewarding if you stick to it.  

I can not promise you that I will be able to grasp the whole picture over skype sessions.   

What you will be getting..

  1. FIVE 60 minute session with me. You can book your sessions anytime within the 12 weeks.  We will discuss on the starting prior to starting the course.  Please note that I can not make up sessions beyond this season. 

  2. A private facebook page shared only between you and I, Akiko Trush.   You can upload your videos, questions, progress and anything in between on this page.  I will answer your questions and comment on your posts as much as I can.  This is a great way to track your progress and keeping yourself accountable.  

  3. Weekly insights delivered by Akiko Trush.   I will be sharing questions I receive from the registered community, share any ideas and tactics that I think you will find helpful to you at the moment.  The insights will most likely be recorded and will be delivered by e-mail. 


A bit of disclaimer..

Akiko Trush is not a medical professional, a therapist or a counsellor.  She is a pianist and an educator who shares her thoughts and ideas through music lessons.  She is not held accountable for any physical or psychological damage that could be caused by direct or in-direct cause of her interactions through these lessons.   Skype sessions and lectures delivered over the digital platform can not in anyway replace a live one on one session in the same room.  At the best, it can only replicate what it could possibly happen in real life lessons.  As much as there are benefits such as not having to spend time,energy and money on traveling, it poses as much limitations of how much we can communicate over the screen.   For maximum benefit, please schedule an in person appointment with her in Tokyo, or when she's at a city close enough to you. 

Minimum requirement

A high speed internet and a working camera/speaker that is good enough to communicate over skype around your instrument.  

Pianists and other keyboard players are welcome to apply. 

I am able to best assist pianists and other keyboard players.

I will be accepting other instrumentalists and non-musicians on case by case bases.  I have coached violinists, violists, cellists, clarinetists, flautists, guitarists, oboists and drummers before.  I reserve the right to not accept you into enrolment or private skype session for any reason.

You reserve the right to cancel the course within 30 days of your initial enrolment or after your first skype session, whichever comes first.  I will issue a full refund upon request. 

Admission FEE: One time payment of 440 USD

How to apply and get enrolled. 







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