Hand tremor

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BennyM
New CelloChatter
Joined: 15 Mar 2017, 20:50

15 Mar 2017, 20:50 #1

I know this is a long shot but has anyone had experience helping a student who suffers from essential tremor (or have dealt with this yourself)?  If so, were there any techniques or approaches you found helpful?  I’m looking to find an approach to minimize the effect of the shaking hands on the sound I produce.  

I have had essential tremor since a young age.  It was severe in my teens but became milder through my 20’s.   Five years ago I started learning to play the cello, and the hand tremor was mild enough that it didn’t hinder me too much, except for when I get nervous.   However, recently it has started to become more severe again, especially in the right hand.  It is now at a point that a long slow bow sounds more like I am playing Sautille.   

I have a wonderful teacher who has helped me get to a fairly good level of playing for 5 years (even if I do say so myself...), but she has not encountered this particular issue before.  We are going to try experimenting with various approaches to see what helps, but I am hoping someone might have some ideas for us to try.   I appreciate the limitations of trying to explain complex motor skills via the written word so I don’t hope for anything too in-depth here, but any general principles or thoughts you might have that may help us think of something in a different way would be appreciated.

And if not, then just consider this as a “hi!” and let me say how much I’ve enjoyed reading all your posts over the past few years.
Last edited by BennyM on 16 Mar 2017, 00:08, edited 2 times in total.
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iamnycellist
Reticent CelloChatter
Joined: 10 Jun 2014, 15:37

15 Mar 2017, 22:52 #2

I imagine that these links are known to you, but it never hurts to post

https://www.google.com/search?q=cellist ... ial+tremor&*
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BennyM
New CelloChatter
Joined: 15 Mar 2017, 20:50

16 Mar 2017, 00:17 #3

 Yes I have seen most of those links - but thank you for posting them.  I should mention that I do take beta blockers which help to a point, and that is a common piece of advice.  I did read about one cellist finding some control over the shaking by tensing the upper arm, and a violinist who seemed to improve by gripping the bow more.  All things I've spent the last 5 years trying not to do!  But I will be giving these a go to see what happens.
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iamnycellist
Reticent CelloChatter
Joined: 10 Jun 2014, 15:37

16 Mar 2017, 02:45 #4

Approximately where are you located? Someone might have more specific suggestions.
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Nthman
New CelloChatter
Joined: 28 Jul 2003, 10:33

16 Mar 2017, 02:50 #5

Google Joaquin Farias. He works in Toronto treating movement disorders such as dystonia and tremors. He has a website with more info. I'd post the link, but am typing this from a phone and that would exceed my level of technical coordination.
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BennyM
New CelloChatter
Joined: 15 Mar 2017, 20:50

16 Mar 2017, 17:23 #6

A little way down south - New Zealand.
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BennyM
New CelloChatter
Joined: 15 Mar 2017, 20:50

16 Mar 2017, 17:26 #7

Thanks for that link Nthman.  Dystonia is a very different issue, but there is some interesting reading on his site and possibly some of his methods could help with essential tremor as well.  I'll look into this one further.  Thanks!
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iamnycellist
Reticent CelloChatter
Joined: 10 Jun 2014, 15:37

16 Mar 2017, 17:44 #8

I am making inquiries of a friend who is both a renowned neurologist specializing in motor disorders and a brilliant musician. Will pass on any info I find ASAP.
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Chuckput
Active CelloChatter
Joined: 29 Sep 2014, 20:10

16 Mar 2017, 23:55 #9

I've had tremors for a while and anticipate it getting worse (like dear old Dad).

I find three things help:
1) bigger movements with my right arm--taking advantage of the full bow.
2) getting penty of rest.
3) moderate alcohol use.

But, it's still noticeable sometimes. Just think of it as a one-of-a-kind vibratto.

 
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BennyM
New CelloChatter
Joined: 15 Mar 2017, 20:50

17 Mar 2017, 00:36 #10

That would be amazing thanks jamnycellist
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