When I was 8 years old my hand shot up in class when the question was asked: “Who wants to take piano lessons”? I’ve had a never-fading love affair with music ever since. Years later I was injured by playing the piano and it seemed that I might never feel whole again. The bad habits which were part of the way I learned to play caused severe tendonitis and its accompanying pain.
In December of 1996, my hands closed into fists as result of an injury called dystonia. Dystonia is considered by the medical profession to have no cure.
At the time of the injury I was in my second year of college and practicing five to eight hours a day despite a lot of pain. Being under the assumption that pain was a part of becoming a musician, I never thought I was headed for any real trouble. As the symptoms of dystonia began to show, I felt that the more I practiced the worse my playing seemed to get. I felt as though my hands were moving in slow motion. It was like being in a dream and trying to run. My fingers felt sluggish and the harder I tried to make them move the more heavy and slow they felt. Eventually it got to a point where I would play a descending scale passage and my fingers would curl up under my hand after playing.
6:15 am. The alarm goes off, and I quickly scramble out of bed to get ready for my Skype lesson with John Bloomfield at 7am, 5pm NYC time. This morning I’m showing one of my adult students for feedback, followed by my own lesson on Prokofiev’s first violin sonata. Sophie Till and I are scheming some performances together in 2015, and I want to get started on this program early.