Essential Tremor of the Head or Hands

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26 Aug 2009 04:03 #318 by Jennifer Sholtis
Essential Tremor of the Head or Hands was created by Jennifer Sholtis
Greetings fellow horn players!

I have a question? Have you experienced or been diagnosed with an Essential Tremor of the head or hand(s)? To explain further, this is an hereditary condition in which your head and/or hands shake involuntarily.

My Neurologist diagnosed me with the head kind. Not fun! Treatment: combination of two anti-seizure medications. Results: 80% tremor reduction. However, works that contain long passages with limited breaks, high tessituri and rapid tonguing all wreak havoc on my peformance level. Very frustrating! I wear a headband which has improved matter somewhat, but not 100%.

Any ideas?

Again, I would like to invite anyone who has head or hand tremors to share his/her experiences and treatment successes.

Jennifer Sholtis

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26 Aug 2009 22:05 #319 by Ricardo Matosinhos
Replied by Ricardo Matosinhos on topic Re:Essential Tremor of the Head or Hands
Hello
I allready had 2 students with this kind of problem. they could't have exelent results on solving the shaking but they impoved by relaxing.
If you try to voluntary stop involuntary movments, you will get more tension and as resoult more shaking. Try the opposite: to be as relaxed as you can, even if you don't stop the shaking at first you will manage to avoid it with time.

I hope it can help you


Ricardo Matosinhos

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30 Aug 2009 00:06 #320 by Jennifer Sholtis
Replied by Jennifer Sholtis on topic Re:Essential Tremor of the Head or Hands
Hello Ricardo,

Would your student be willing to contact me for further questions, i.e. has the shaking gotten progressively worse? Has the relaxation techniques allowed them to play consistently and accurately in all ranges, styles and dynamics? What relaxation routine do they follow? etc.

They can contact me at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Appreciate your input and would great appreciate if you could pass this on to your students.

Best wishes,
Jennifer Sholtis

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04 Sep 2009 11:20 #321 by Erik Vigesaa
Replied by Erik Vigesaa on topic Re:Essential Tremor of the Head or Hands
I've had some issues with this, but I'm not sure I have a medical condition--I think I had too much adrenaline going into my left arm which is mostly solved by taking beta-blockers. The funny thing is, when I switch the horn around and play "right handed", I don't have any shaking. Also, a lesson with Tom Bacon had me lifting my elbow when playing to eliminate tension. I also kind of shift around in my chair, lean over and sideways slightly to trick my mind into thinking equilibrium is in jeopardy and it keeps me from getting locked into one place. Also, I've been playing much more and trying to be more prepared for gigs.

I only take the beta-blocker an hour before a performance, not constantly. Recitals get a little more! Kind of depends on the critical nature of the audience, for instance, I played the summer musical and didn't need it at all! I don't want to get immune to it's effects, which really helps me. The young and fearless need not apply!

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16 Oct 2009 23:24 #338 by Ricardo Matosinhos
Replied by Ricardo Matosinhos on topic Re:Essential Tremor of the Head or Hands
Sorty. I'm only now seeing your answer.
They are not good on english so it wont be great for comunication.
Since this beguining of school year, they are not studing with me anymore. But the kind of work I made with them, included a 2-3 minutes relaxation of the muscles during the warm up and them stop thinking about that unless there were any problem.

Good luck

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24 Oct 2009 17:50 - 24 Oct 2009 17:52 #339 by Jennifer Sholtis
Replied by Jennifer Sholtis on topic Re:Essential Tremor of the Head or Hands
Hello Erik,

When I first noticed some shaking, it was very minimal could be controled in the same manner that you are describing. However, with time, the shaking became a major issue. I met a professional orchestra player this summer at the IHS convention. Milton Kicklighter who has the same kind of tremor as yours. You should email him and find out what it was like in the beginning in order to determine if this is just a nerve issue or a medical issue. Please contact me at my email address: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and I will give you his contact information.

I liked Tom Bacon's ideas of moving around in the chair to trick your mind into thinking that your equilibrium is in jeopardy. That is something new. I will give it a try.
Last edit: 24 Oct 2009 17:52 by Jennifer Sholtis.

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