The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #8814   Message #1454254
Posted By: Muttley
07-Apr-05 - 07:16 AM
Thread Name: Playing inspite of injury/disability
Subject: RE: Playing inspite of injury/disability
Not sure how old this thread is but as I'm a relatively new Mudcatter I will toss my sixpence into the ring and tell you a little about my 'woes'.

I've played the guitar on-and-off for a number of years (started learning with a really weird method at age 9); eventually abandoned it for straight vocals and took it up again in my late twenties. taught a fairly understandable style by the local Primary School Head Teacher who is an AWESOME bush musician - if it's got strings - he'll play it and play it brilliantly.

Anyway, things were progressing - doing fingerpicking and barre-ing chords and feeling quite confident despite an inability to read music when eight years ago (in my late thirties) A considerate bus driver indicated that the road he was on was 'clear' to a motorist in a side street and called her out. As he didn't check his mirrors he failed to see me and my motorcycle passing him in the next lane - the driver from the side street appeared 10 feet in front of me from "behind" the bus and I had nowhere to go.

My injuries were extensive: right wrist, left ankle, right shoulder left kneecap broken (the kneecap into 3 pieces), left shoulder torn out and dislocated most of the cartilage in the left knee pulped, Muscles torn off my spine in three places and rehealed pulling vertebrae sideways and twisted at those points. But worst of all was the closed head injuries which basically left me with:
Little or no sense of smell
Little or no sense of taste
infrequent, but severe migraines
Severely diminished short-term memory capability
Wiped out all memories of playing - how to form chords etc
Diminished conduction between brain and hands / fingers

The nett result is that I could no longer remember HOW to play; Could no longer (still can't) recall chord progressions; the nerve conduction hassles mean that sometimes if the chording is OK, the strumming is all over the place or vice versa; Can no longer fingerpick or barre - especially as if I TRIED to fingerpick a tune and sing to it, my brain would simply dp 'backflips just TRYING to coordinate picking + lyrics + tune.

However, I have painstakingly re-learned about a dozen chords I can use without looking them up all the time. Where I have 'odd' chords - like G6 or something like it, I simply draw a 'fingering' diagram at the bottom of the song-sheet and refer to it before I start playing.

I have learned to write lyrics with two-line spacing and double-spaced between words in a clear (Arial) font - 12 point is good.
and on the in-between lines I put the chords in red/crimson above the word where the chord-changes occur; the result is alternating lines of Chords/lyrics/chords/lyrics and so on.

I re-chord some songs to eliminate hard-to-form chords ('F' is a REAL bugger for some reason - I'll take a song in 'F' and reconfigure it either "up" to 'G' or "down" to 'D' or 'E'; depending on the other chords in the song) most times it comes out fairly 'playable and ultimately recognisable

If I want to play a new song, I LISTEN to it literally dozens of times, play it, listen, play etc until it sounds FAIRLY accurate.

I have learned to pick songs that suit my new voice (I lost my true singing voice in a bushfire 15 years ago when a wall of flame swept over me and I inhaled naked flame, burning my vocal chords and trachea which have consequently scarred, giving me a slightly roughened 'burry' sound and about an octave and a half less range - used to be able to go note-for-note with Ian Gillan of Deep Purple and Meatloaf; but that's a "whole 'nother story)
Generally, I prefer Australian Bush music / ballads; the poems of 'Banjo' Patterson set to music; some Eric Bogle and John Williamson; British folk / ballads (Steeleye etc); Some US folk - and a fair bit of comedy/parody stuff as well. Lately I've even managed a small bunch of 'easy listenin' 60's & 70's style Rock / Pop songs.

To finish - as someone said earlier; we all get along with things as they change when we are forced to. The fact that I am also an Asperger makes "changing" things and adapting bloody difficult doesn't help: but in the end - it's the MUSIC that counts. John Williamson and Steeleye Span were my sanity saviours while re-learning and undergoing 'Rehab' - serious physio helped me, but re-learning my guitar was the true Godsend and the BEST rehab I could have undertaken.

John W