Trombone – A Diagnosis Is Not a Cure (Musicians)(Psychology)(Pain)(Strain)(Injuries)(Posture)(Alexander Technique)(Albuquerque)

by ethankind on February 17, 2014

This ebook, An Alexander Technique Approach to Trombone Technique, is published on this website in a PDF format. It is very detailed and practical, and it will give you the physical tools you need to take the limits off of your ability to create the accurate trombone technique you want without sacrificing your body.
This ebook is also for sale on all AMAZON websites in a KINDLE format.
Located in Albuquerque, New Mexico, U.S.A. (MOVEMENT THERAPY)

I’m the trombone player’s last resort for so many trombone players who have come to me as Alexander Technique clients. If I can’t help the trombone player, he or she feels they must either play with pain and struggle for the rest their performing lives or quit playing.

I can’t count the number of trombone players who have come to me after seeing doctors, physical therapists, and/or other bodyworkers. The trombone player in the first Alexander Technique session may spend fifteen to thirty minutes giving me the complete list of all of the diagnoses of his or her physical problems on the trombone.

What is usually said and implied is, “This is what has happened to my body, and this is why I’ll never be able to do what I want to do on the trombone, but I hope you can do something magical that will heal me.”

So, by the time the injured trombone player has made it to me, usually he or she has tried medication for swelling or inflammation, has been told to stop playing to heal, has been given exercises to strengthen “weak” muscles, has had surgery suggested, or has been told to look for some other career.

Obviously, if the trombone player has found his or her way to me, then the trombone player has a least a glimmer of hope that there is a healing solution out there that works.

SO, THE DIAGNOSES ARE PRESENTED TO ME AS THE PIECES OF A PUZZLE, AND THE TROMBONE PLAYER HOPES THAT I AM “THE ONE” WITH THE SOLUTION TO THE PROBLEM. THAT I AM “THE ONE” WHO CAN LOOK AT ALL OF THE DISPARATE PIECES OF THE PUZZLE, AND HELP THE TROMBONE PLAYER REASSEMBLE HIM OR HERSELF IN WAY THAT MAKES TROMBONE PLAYING WORK.

In a way I can, but only once the trombone player lets go of the belief that the DIAGNOSES ARE THE SOLUTION. What do I mean?

The diagnoses of physical problems on the trombone can cut two very different ways for the trombone player. By the time many trombone players come to me and give me his or her list of physical problems, they are saying to me please confirm that I am unhealable, so that I can get on with doing something else.

On the other hand many trombone players who come to me, give me a list of physical problems and want me to do something magical to make things right. This is understandable, because almost all of the things offered out there for healing a trombone player’s physical problems are passive/magical. What do I mean?

Surgery is the most obvious. Someone cuts you and repairs your body, and when you recover, you should be able to do what you want on the trombone. But what if you never could do what you wanted on the trombone?

This reminds me of the old joke where the patient asks the doctor at the end of the appointment if he’ll ever be able to play the trombone again. The doctor says yes, and the patient replies, “But I never played the trombone before.”

The closest thing out there in allopathic medicine to the Alexander Technique that has the trombone player actually do something is physical therapy. Here’s why physical therapy rarely gets the performing trombone player out of physical trouble.

The physical therapist has the trombone player do general strengthening exercises to help the trombone player. But these strengthening exercises don’t work, because they only increase strength and stamina in the most general sense, and don’t address the poor posture and elements of the trombone player’s technique that cause the wear and tear and pain.

I want to return back to the title of this article. In its purest form the title restated says, “THE TRUTH SHALL MAKE YOU FREE.” The problem is, “Are you stating the truth when you diagnose physical problems on the trombone?”

A better question is, “Does a diagnosis, in and of itself, lead you to take the steps necessary to solve your postural and technique problems on the trombone that are damaging your body?” NO!

Here’s why. In many ways the diagnoses of your physical problems on the trombone are only labeling, they may not be a call to action. It’s like being diagnosed with agoraphobia, fear of going outdoors, but never taking the steps literally to GO OUTDOORS.

If a trombone player’s jaw is diagnosed as hurting because of TMJ Disorder, how is this diagnosis going to make a difference, if the trombone player doesn’t change a technique that causes his or her jaw to hurt?

Let me state this much more clearly at the end of this article.

WE HAVE BEEN CONDITIONED IN TODAY’S WORLD TO FEEL AND BELIEVE THAT IF WE DIAGNOSE A PROBLEM, THEN THERE IS A SOLUTION THAT CAN BE DONE TO US TO HEAL US. THIS MEANS THAT WHEN A TROMBONE PLAYER COMES TO ME TO STOP HURTING, HE OR SHE WANTS ME TO MAKE THEM MAGICALLY WELL OR TELL THEM IT IS TOO LATE.

In either case the diagnoses has been changed from a stating of the problem to being the actual solution itself. The diagnoses are ONLY a list of physical problems that is usually presented to the trombone player as permanently debilitating or as a list of temporary physical problems.

IF YOU DON’T PURSUE A COURSE OF ACTION, and take a chance on a series of healing steps, then the diagnoses offer you nothing that tell you whether you can continue to play the trombone or should move on!

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