How Pianist Doug Johnson Bounced Back From Debilitating Pain

Jazz pianist Doug Johnson. (Photo Courtesy of Eric Antoniou)

Jazz pianist Doug Johnson. (Photo Courtesy of Eric Antoniou)

Doug Johnson began his musical career as a promising classical trombonist until he developed a neurological condition known as a focal dystonia in his mouth that devastated his technique.

In the middle of his graduate studies at the New England Conservatory, Johnson opted to switch majors to jazz piano. But long catch-up practice sessions took their toll and he developed severe tendonitis.

Johnson persevered and now has successful performing and teaching careers. He also helps lead the Performance Wellness Institute at the Berklee College of Music, which teaches young musicians healthy habits to avoid pain and injury.

Pianist Doug Johnson performs with his trio at Scullers Jazz Club Tuesday, May 1.


  • Doug Johnson, jazz pianist and Berklee associate professor

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