In May of 2002 I was diagnosed with embouchure dystonia, a neurological movement disorder which makes it impossible to play due to uncontrollable muscle spasms. Now that I have fully recovered, I can see very clearly that my breathing misunderstandings contributed to the development of dystonia in my playing.
Dystonia has no medical treatment so in order to reclaim my career, I had to re-learn how to play from a holistic, movement perspective. In the process of doing this, I discovered that there were many things about breathing that I thought were accurate, but turned out to be wrong. Some of these things are embedded in traditional pedagogy and some of them are things I managed to come up with on my own.
This blog is devoted to debunking some of the misunderstandings about breathing that many musicians believe – a sort of “mythbusters” for musicians. I encourage you to keep an open mind as you read because you will probably encounter some information that contradicts what you have been told. Everything on this blog is anatomically accurate – it is information based in fact, not necessarily tradition or metaphor.
The Breathing Blog is the reflection of what I learned from my recovery from dystonia. I hope, by sharing the information with others, that I can help those at risk avoid what I went through. Perhaps some of the information will improve your playing or, at the very least, clear up some nagging questions you’ve always had about breathing.
For more information about dystonia, visit my personal web page, listed under the resources section.