My 2nd year of retraining was like I was trying to learn how to ride a bike again. At the time, all my gigs dried up and had no performing pressures to deal with. So I thought to myself to retrain without the use of any hand aids.
It was a terrible time – I spent many hours of the every day focusing on the individual finger movements. I noticed that my dystonic movements carried over into my everyday life. I felt my right hand become claw like when I was brushing my teeth, typing on a keyboard, writing with pen or pencil, and using eating utensils. From that moment I tried to fix the movements in my everyday life and have succeeded partially. I still claw up when I use chop sticks, or when I write with a pen or pencil. So with these activities I opt in trying not to do them as much (I try to type more now, emails etc…, I like to use forks now… etc…).
Plucking one string using a finger took all the concentration to where I couldn’t focus on anything else during that like time (like tone, rhythm, etc). I eventually was able to pluck with my Right hand again but had to strip it down. Any extra force caused dystonic movement, and any repetitive movement at any speed caused dystonic movement.
In this video, you can see that the tremors in my hands are uncontrollable as I approach my fingers to play the strings. As of April 2016, the tremors have stay with me but have gradually lessened with my retraining. Looking back on it, I think I wasn’t able to recognize the tension in my index, thumb and ring fingers; hindsight is 20/20.
At the 24th month mark, here are some videos of me trying to play music. i continually made progress, but it was like taking steps back at the sametime. I had to play with the least amount of strength as possible, but if I didn’t, the dystonic movements would come flying out. Performing in public, at least without a hand aid, was still out of the question.
Villa-Lobos Prelude 5 is one of my favorite pieces. As you will see throughout my retraining videos is me trying to play parts of the A section. Block chording with my right hand is the toughest part (and maybe the last part) of my retraining. Since I’ve had FD, I have not been able to play anything that had repeated block chording, or P – IM / P – IMA chord alternation.
These videos of this year show the different ways I was trying to play. I was focusing on using the larger muscle groups in order to play, as well as retraining my individual fingers to try to regain the sensation of how it would feel to have a finger pluck again.