Friday, January 28, 2011

Live Music for Parkinson's Patients

Here's a brief item about a regional orchestra looking to see if being in the presence of live music can benefit Parkinson's patients. They're taking a first step towards evaluating anecdotes such as this one:

"One of the Phil's chorus member's tremors stop when he goes to the concerts. They start at intermission and stop again in the second half,". . . 

This reminds me of both how singing can help some people overcome a stutter and how music can still get through to people with late stage Alzheimer's. 

It may also tie in to this quote from a post over on Horn Matters by a professional horn player talking about what he thinks was a bout of focal dystonia:

I realized that my attention, especially when warming up, had shrunk down to that tiny area of my face involved in making a buzz. I widened my focus, specifically to include my air column and posture and on maintaining what I call a “supported” setting AND a relaxed, non-stressed mental state.

The speaker is Mark Taylor, identified as a "jazz hornist". His phrase "widen my focus" is the most succinct statement I've seen of how involving more of the brain and body can help clear what seem to be localized problems. It's also a very good way of putting how I think Jeff Smiley's The Balanced Embouchure (BE) helped me with my embouchure. It's that change of focus I also like to bring to my therapist's approach to helping people make music.

Plus, I'm delighted to hear that there is such a thing as a "jazz hornist".

The other thing that struck me about the music organization playing to the Parkinson's patients was that there's a whole new way they could serve the community. 

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