Michael Houstoun

Based in New Zealand, Michael Houstoun is an acclaimed concert pianist and has managed to rehabilitate himself from focal dystonia. In 2000 he began to notice problems in his playing. He describes his symptoms,


  "The first sign was a problem getting my 4th finger (RH) over my thumb without a bump in a descending E flat major scale. The more I tried to practise it out the worse it got. Soon all descending scale passages were compromised, and then ascending scales too. Close observation showed that the problem was in my 3rd finger trying to play at the same time as my 4th finger. Although my 3rd finger could still work independently, my 4th finger couldn’t. To put it another way, I could get a clean signal through to my 3rd finger, but not to my 4th (and eventually my 5th). Movements – and even intentions of movements – in those fingers triggered the involvement of my 3rd finger."


 After extensive retraining and adapting his technique, Houstoun returned to the concert platform. He talks about his methods and the help he received from specialists and other pianists, on his website.

michaelhoustoun website