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Playing With Double Jointed Fingers

In Fitness, Flute, Resources by AngelaLeave a Comment

Not all of my posts are about exercises and stretches.  Sometimes, altering your ergonomics is an option all too few musicians know about, be it changing the way your instrument is made or held or, in this case, using special jewelry to prevent instability in the fingers.  I’m going to be continuing this series soon with other instrument specific options, let me know if you have some information you think should be getting more recognition!

The jewelry that is more than jewelry

When I was in the Nashville Youth Symphony in high school, a fellow flutist had these beautiful rings I commented on and to my amazement she told me: “oh, I have double jointed fingers. These rings help prevent my fingers from flying backwards if I play too fast.”
Say what??

So I looked into it and through the years I have recommended these beautiful rings to any student who has joints that hyperextend (extend beyond the normal range of motion) and also to clients/students with arthritis and other maladies. I’ve never seen anything like these products and not only are they highly effective, they look just like jewelry so no one will give it a second thought.

Hyperextension or even “double jointed fingers 

Hyperextension of a finger joint beyond the neutral position may result in a painful joint, decreased power when pinching and a delay in being able to bend the finger. Without stabilizing or blocking the hyperextension, the deformity can become progressively worse. In addition to looking very abnormal, severe hyperextension can ultimately result in a loss of function because the joint becomes stuck in the hyper-extended position.


Thumb Problems

Do you or does your student have what’s called a “hitch hiker’s thumb”?

A “hitchhiker’s thumb”  is where the top thumb joint bends farther back than normal, in some cases, parallel with the floor. For a flutist this can present a particular challenge because the thumb is supposed to not push the flute up from below, but rather push the flute out away from the body, which counteracts the pushing inward from the first joint of the left hand index finger. Chin and right hand pinky are used for stability. If you have hyperextension of the thumb, this is next to impossible. They have several beautiful options to

actually fix this and according to their website:

Hyperextension of the end of the thumb beyond the neutral position may result in a painful joint, decreased power when pinching and difficulty picking up or manipulating small objects. Without stabilizing or blocking the hyperextension, the deformity can become progressively worse, ultimately becoming stuck in the hyperextended position, making it impossible to pick up objects or write.







Ever heard of “trigger finger”? This can be absolutely detrimental to musicians, especially string and woodwind players who need the dexterity in their fingers to be the best it can be.  Triggering is defined as:

A nodule or inflammation and thickening on the flexor tendon may cause irregular movement of the finger. The finger feels locked in the bent position and when it is straightened, there is a painful snap. Repetitive activities aggravate this condition and pain starts limiting function. Splints may be used to limit bending of the finger for several weeks to allow the inflammation to diminish. This can be a reoccurring problem with inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis.

Sound like you? They have some really beautiful pieces to help with this.  They have pieces that treat Tenosynovitis in the palm, fingers and thumb.


Guess what?  Their rings can be covered by insurance!  So if any of this sounds like you, check out their website at:

You can also download their brochure on their website or here:


Physical Fitness for Vocalists and Athletes Post-Surgery

In Corrective Exercise, Entrepreneurship, Fitness, Motivation and Success by AngelaLeave a Comment

Just because vocalists don’t hold an instrument doesn’t mean they don’t have specific muscle imbalances that can hinder their musical careers.  Meet Liz, a vocal coach and voice trainer here in Nashville who utilized our services to improve her posture, body awareness and freedom of movement to release tension in her neck, upper back and hips and can sing better than ever before!
Susan is a chiropractor and former college athlete who has torn her ACL twice with only 40% left and also suffers from scapular winging.  She wants to become balanced and strong again and with our help is achieving that goal! We are focusing on the weak muscles and releasing the tight ones to bring her body back into balance and function so she can return to the sports she loves!

Music Strong Helps Hollywood Trombonist

In Fitness by AngelaLeave a Comment

Have you checked out our YouTube channel lately?  If not, you’re missing out. Thanks to Neil Ebanks for making these incredible Promo Videos, I have 5 clients talk about how Music Strong has helped them achieve pain-free playing careers and phenomenal weight loss; everyone from recording artists and touring musicians to vocal coaches, chiropractors to trombone players.
Here is the first video from my friend and client Josh Scalf: touring trombonist for Jake Owen and recording artist on how not only is he able to play without shoulder pain and with better posture, we’ve improved his core strength, mobility, and oh yeah, he’s at 50 pounds lost and still losing. 🙂

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New Study Shows Benefits of Working With a Personal Trainer

In Fitness, Resources by AngelaLeave a Comment

Over the course of my career specializing in fitness training for musicians, it has become obvious to me the benefits that come from using a personal trainer, especially when it is combined with a proper nutrition plan. Clients look better, feel healthier, have increased energy, and can play for extended periods without pain.
While I see these benefits on a daily basis when working with clients, a recent study conducted by  to gauge consumer perceptions of personal fitness trainers reinforces that. The study found that an overwhelming number of people are satisfied with their experience when they worked with a personal trainer. The survey, conducted in the United States, targeted consumers that currently workout at least three times a week.
Key Takeaways:

  • 83% of people that have used a personal trainer were satisfied with the results.
  • Experience is the most important factor people consider when choosing a personal trainer, with 35% of respondents stating this was their most important consideration

Satisfied Customers
Of those surveyed, 56% of respondents who exercised three times or more per week stated that they had used the services of a personal trainer in the past. Of those that had used the services of a personal trainer as part of their workout regime, a whopping 83% were satisfied with the results, underlining the value that personal trainers bring to those looking to achieve their fitness goals.
Of those respondents that had not used a personal trainer in the past, there was a clear understanding of the benefit of using a personal trainer as evidenced by the fact that 68% of respondents believed that working with a personal trainer would help them reach their fitness goals.
Experience Matters
Consumers were asked what the most important factors they would consider when hiring a personal trainer. 35% of respondents said that the experience of the personal trainer was the most important factor followed by 27% of people saying that personality and likeability were most important. 26% of respondents cited cost as being the most important factor they would consider when choosing a trainer to work with.
The study asked respondents what they thought was the education level of the average personal trainer. 61% of those surveyed believed that the average personal trainer has less than a college degree. 15% believed that the average education level was high school, while 46% believed that the average personal trainer had some college. 38% believed that the average personal trainer had obtained a college degree.
What is striking about this study is the satisfaction level that people have when they work with a personal trainer. Working with a personal trainer that you can connect with is far more likely to lead to you having success while also increasing your enjoyment level.
The study was conducted in April of 2015 in order to understand how personal trainers are perceived in the marketplace by consumers who make fitness a part of their daily lives. You can view the entire survey by clicking on the graphic below:

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Free Workshops for Musicians tomorrow at Climb Nashville!

In Fitness, Workshops by AngelaLeave a Comment

Becoming Music Strong_flyerTomorrow is the day!
Come join us at Climb Nashville’s brand new West location, located just minutes away from Music Row for our first workshop tomorrow, June 10, 2014 from 1-4 PM. The next workshop will be the following Tuesday the 17th, same time same place!
The initial workshops are free but we do ask you to register since space is limited.
We hope to make this a recurring, monthly event, to empower and educate Music City musicians about how to live their strongest, healthiest lives.  Our workshops will focus on learning:

  • What is musician-specific strength training?
  • How to stay healthy on the road
  • Healthy rehearsal techniques
  • How to structure a workout
  • Preventing playing-related injries
  • Techniques for how to get over current playing-related injuries
  • And the all important question: Is it carpal tunnel?

Please help us get the word out and we look forward to seeing you tomorrow!

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Music Strong Goal Challenge 2014

In Fitness, Motivation and Success, Workshops by AngelaLeave a Comment

The goal here is to change your daily habits, which will change your life. This is not a quick fix. This is a life change.
Are you sick and tired of being sick and tired with yourself? You vow, seemingly daily, to get back on the right track, to do what it takes, to meet your goals. You know what to do but by the end of the day, you realize you’re exactly where you started or even behind where you started the day instead of making progress.
Are you ready to change that?
Are you ready to meet your goals and even exceed them?
It’s time. Accountability is one of the greatest factors of success. Look at Weight Watchers, they have it on two levels: the honor system where you don’t go over your points each day and your weekly check in.
I’m running an accountability group challenge, starting Sunday February 23. Your goal could be anything: weight loss, fat loss, increased pushups, business success, debt reduction, etc. The goal doesn’t matter, the results do. More information is forthcoming, but if you want in, sign up here. All I ask is that you post information at the beginning stating who you are and what your goal is and why you want it, and every week at least detail the steps you’ve taken towards meeting that goal.

  • If you are pursuing weight loss, use my 10 week article series Get Off the Hamster Wheel! 10 Steps to Get From Where You Are to Where You Want to Be.   The list starts with tip #1, it is at the bottom of this page:
  •  If you are using another book for guidance, please list it.
  • When: “registration” is February 23-28. Challenge officially begins March 1 and runs through May 1
  • What is requried?: To join you must state who you are and what your goal is. The goal must be specific and attainable (aka: dropping 100 lbs in 2 months or saving $1M is not attainable, though specific.) Your goal must also have a date. So state your goal in specific terms:

My goal is to Save $1000 and have that amount of money set aside in an account by May 1.
My goal is to lose 20 lbs (or reach a goal weight of XXX) by May 1.
My goal is to be a size 4 in jeans by May 1
My goal is to have read a 1000 page novel by May 1.
My goal is to go through the entire T&G exercise book for flute by May 1.
etc. etc. etc.
All realistic, all attainable, all with deadlines.

  • You need some measure of checking your progress so feel free to post before and after pictures/soundfiles/word documents of yourself/your playing/ your progress/your measurements, etc.

Next, you must name 3 things:

  1. What are you willing to give up?
  2. What small, seemingly insignificant thing are you willing to do each and every day to push you towards your goal?
  3. You must write your goals down somewhere and look at them every day.

Then you come to the group (see below) and post your daily update: what you did, if you failed, what you learned, etc. and everyone in the group will applaud your efforts and encourage you along.
This group is based on the honor system. If you lie, you only cheat yourself.
Prizes: for everyone who successfully completes this challenge (reaches their goal by May 1,) you will receive a month of free online or in person training with me. If I can think of a better prize (or you have suggestions) please contribute!
Are you in?
If you would like to join us, come join the Facebook group and “register” at
Goal Challenge 2014 Group:
The group is only open for one week. After this week you will need to be added to the group to join. How do you do this? Tell me you’re in below, or you can post in the Facebook anouncement on my page:
Top Ten List To Get Off the Hamster Wheel and Be Who You Want to Be

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Are you Music Strong?

In Entrepreneurship, Fitness, Flute, Travel, Workshops by AngelaLeave a Comment

Whew! I have been traveling so much, there has been no time for updating, sorry!  This last week I was blessed to have been invited to present at Stephen F. Austin University in Nacadoches, TX.  I gave a flute masterclass, a recital, two Music Strong workshops and a presentation on being a musician in the military.  It was a wonderful trip and I had a great time.  It’s always nice to be able to help musicians who are in the prime of their career, just learning how to practice efficiently and being able to give them the tools to prevent injury.  If you were in any of my classes, I would love to hear your feedback and if you’d like a personalized program, we can make that happen too! 🙂   You can click here for more information on hiring me as your trainer, to write you a plan to keep you injury free,  improve your endurance and extend your playing career.
Some pictures from this week!
A lot of you were asking about the books I suggested during the presentations.  You can find all of these books in my Amazon store.  The titles I highly recommend and used during my presentations are:

The only book that is not available in Amazon is “Inside-Out“. This is my go-to warm-up book, and is available here in the Resources Tab, or you can click here.  Inside-Out

This coming week I will be playing with Sinfonia Gulf Coast in Destin, Florida!  We have a concert on Thursday night at 7:30 PM and I am immensely looking forward to this.   Niche ad

 Sinfonia is one of a handful of American Orchestras awarded a special grant to perform “Identity” Zhongshan Zhuang,” featuring world renowned guzheng player Su Chang. Also on the concert is Rimsky-Korsakov’s brilliant orchestral showpiece “Scheherazade.”

Cheng: Identity: Zhongshan Zhuang
Artist: Su Chang (Guzheng)
Ensemble: Sinfonia Gulf Coast
Conductor: Demetrius Fuller

 Rimsky-Korsakov: Scheherazade, Op. 35    

It will be a busy week – I”m also proud to announce that I will be giving a Music Strong workshop at my alma mater, Florida State University on Wednesday the 23rd at 2:30 PM.
Angela McCuiston Poster
I should be back to my “regularly scheduled programming” within a week.  I will be posting some pictures and videos and will have some more blog posts coming up.  Also coming up I have a 6-week Holiday Shape-Up boot camp special, will be posting details here soon!
In the meantime, my schedule has changed a bit and I have a few spots open for flute lessons via Skype and personal training clients.  Please contact me if you are interested and we can get something started for you!  I have a current special going on that if you would like to sign up for training with me you can save 50% off your first month with me when you sign up for any 3 month package.  Sign up today and you can start next year already having achieved your New Year’s Resolution!
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