Me and Embouchure Dystonia Return
I haven't been playing much for the past year as I have recently developed Embouchure Dystonia. I had been having a serious problem with my embouchure for the past couple of years which reached the point where I was struggling to keep my jaw muscles from tremoring and making any sound at all with the horn. Dr. Stephen Frucht, neurologist at Colombia Presbyterian, has done alot of research in this area, and diagnosed me with E.D.
Embouchure Dystonia is a neuromuscular problem associated with the basal ganglia of the brain affecting fine control repetitive tasks of certain facial and masticatory muscles.
Evidently Embouchure Dystonia affects about 1% of musicians and unfortunately this is not very good news for my playing. About 90% of players affected with it have their careers ended by the condition. I don't want a pity party, just wanted you all to know. I thought I might just be going nuts or it was old age. I'm still in denial but this explains why I have been having so much trouble doing the things that used to come so naturally on the axe. The problem is, I can't play the horn without my jaw tremoring; my brain won't let the muscles of my embouchure keep centered or steady.
But there is good news. I have recently purchased a Selmer Model 80 Super Action Series II Synthophone. It is a Godsend since I can now continue to play even though I can no longer control my embouchure.
The condition doesn't affect my overall health. In fact I'm fine, but the minute I put the mouthpiece up to my lips the tremors occur. So far as I know there is no way to treat the condition, but the way I see it God closes one door and opens another. Just another challenge in life to be conquered. I have this new synthophone which really works fine and will allow me to continue to express myself and perform live. My next album will be out in the near future, so watch out for it. It will not disappoint you and I will be playing live again soon.