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Relearning instruments after a stroke

21 Jan 07 - 01:32 PM (#1943391)
Subject: Relearning instruments after a stroke
From: GUEST

Spent Christmas and New Year in hospital after having a stroke. Left hand and arm affected. Right hand unffected and knows all its stuff. 50 years of playing string instruments blown away. I am recovering the use of the hand and fingers very nicely and have started retraining my left hand on various instruments. Guitar seems easiest, banjo(clawhammer) is coming nicely but Fiddle looks to be the biggest job but I am sure even that will come with work. I can play a recognisable tune but at the moment fingers might as well be chipolatas as far as fine tuning is concerned. Anyone got helpful experience of this overall problem.

Cheers

Roger


21 Jan 07 - 02:11 PM (#1943425)
Subject: RE: Relearning instruments after a stroke
From: KT

Roger, I do not have direct experience, but have a friend who had a similar experience. It was slow and difficult but he is playing banjo again, and very happy about it. I think your positive attitude will serve you well. Keep working at it and KNOW you can do it! We're all rooting for ya!!

KT


21 Jan 07 - 02:20 PM (#1943438)
Subject: RE: Relearning instruments after a stroke
From: Georgiansilver

I had a stroke in 1986 and it took some time but I made a full recovery...except for one thing...my short term memory is not nearly as good as it was..learning songs is a nightmare...Hope you make a full and speedy recovery. Best wishes, Mike.


21 Jan 07 - 02:25 PM (#1943443)
Subject: RE: Relearning instruments after a stroke
From: wysiwyg

Just remember that while you are trying to do it (practicing), it may feel impossible and not go very well, but when you NEXT try you may find your brain has woven amazing progress, in between the attempts.

Be willing to feel stupid, or clumsy, or helpless in the short term-- trust your brain to make itsef smarter, more graceful, and more empowered over time.

Work WITH the frustration, welcoming it as a sign of progress.

Laugh about it as much as possible to counter the fear or built-up tiredness of it all, and it will go faster, too.

~Susan


22 Jan 07 - 08:01 AM (#1944122)
Subject: RE: Relearning instruments after a stroke
From: Gedpipes

a positive attitude like yours mate has to be admired
All the best
Blue skies
Ged


22 Jan 07 - 08:29 AM (#1944160)
Subject: RE: Relearning instruments after a stroke
From: Dharmabum

Hi Roger,
My adversary has been M.S.
It affected both hands over twenty years ago & I spent almost a year unable to play at all.
I've since regained almost all use in my right hand,& much in my left.
Playing your instruments every day is probably the best therapy for you.
Keep your frustration level in check.
There were times when I couldn't see any light at the end of the tunnel,& I'd started to beleive that I would never play an instrument again.
That's when I had to lay the guitar down & walk away for awhile & come back to it an hour or so later.

You'll play again.
Just keep at it.

Ron.

Feel free to send me a P.M.


22 Jan 07 - 08:45 AM (#1944185)
Subject: RE: Relearning instruments after a stroke
From: kendall

I have a dear friend who had a stroke but is coming along very slowly. She was an outstanding harpist, and she is determined to be one again. Attitude is everything.


22 Jan 07 - 09:11 AM (#1944206)
Subject: RE: Relearning instruments after a stroke
From: reggie miles

I've got a friend who has been dedicated to bluegrass music for as long as I've known him. He loves to play the banjo. He fell victim to the same affliction this past summer. He's now recovering at home with his family after a long stay in various care facilities. The support he's received from the folks in the local bluegrass community has been nothing short of tremendous.

He's a very feisty fellow. He's faced and triumphed over many debilitating situations in the past. I have no doubt that this strength of spirit will help him in his recovery.


22 Jan 07 - 05:46 PM (#1944787)
Subject: RE: Relearning instruments after a stroke
From: GUEST,Art

Had a stroke in November 2000, couldn't walk, talk. Couldn't even strum a guitar at first. Tried to play a little every day, and after a year my playing was only horrible but I had progressed. It's been about 6-1/2 years and I find I can hold my own. Subtle nuances aren't there yet, but friends say they don't notice. The journey to virtuoso begins with the first note, and then one at a time. Love yourself, you'll get there before you know it!


22 Jan 07 - 08:37 PM (#1944975)
Subject: RE: Relearning instruments after a stroke
From: GUEST,DonMeixner

I have had a few set backs of my own. The advice I give to everyone is to just play. Playing is physical therapy in of itself. My friend Ed had a stroke and was not expecting to play ever again. I gave him an Autoharp and he is doing great a few years latter. Like me he isn't the player he was. But he is a better performer.

Keep playing.

Don


22 Jan 07 - 08:49 PM (#1944985)
Subject: RE: Relearning instruments after a stroke
From: Bobert

Well, I've suffered thru a broken left thumb (fretting hand) broken index and middle fingers on my pickin' hand and slicing off end of my index finger on my fretting hand and, lookin' back, I'm kinda glad that all those things happened because it made me work to overcome and in that work you find other ways to play and in doing that once you get back the use of those lost digits, yer a better player all around...

That that does not kill us makes us stronger... I am a firm believer in this theory and you will too, Roger... Think about it this way... You know the town or city you work in like the back of yer hand and then something gets shut down so...

...now it's up to your ***knowledge*** to figure how to navigate the situation...

If you think of this as an opportunity, rather than a disability, you will not only come outta this as good as ever...

...but ***better***!!!!!

Now, go figure somethin' out... It's up to you...

Bobert


23 Jan 07 - 07:01 AM (#1945289)
Subject: RE: Relearning instruments after a stroke
From: alanabit

No helpful advice or anything, but just respect. It is because there are blokes like you around that I like the company of musicians.


23 Jan 07 - 07:40 AM (#1945311)
Subject: RE: Relearning instruments after a stroke
From: GUEST,Northerner

I didn't sing for years owing to medical problems. I had a rare condition affecting my sinuses - an enormous cyst growing there.   Eventually I had the darn thing removed, and a good thing too as it could have killed me eventually. Took a year to recover from surgery.

I had thought I would never sing in a folk club again. Started back the easy way by storytelling, then went on beginners' singing courses. Now I'm a singing AND storytelling!!!   Amateur at the moment but am now doing voluntary work with my performing arts skills. I have one meeting later today at a school and one tomorrow at a hospice, to discuss voluntary programmes with them. At the weekend I travel down to Devon to a masterclass with Hugh Lupton, and in February it's down to Shropshire for another masterclass. Eventually I hope to go professional and earn an income again...

Good luck to the orginal poster!!

Diane Taylor


23 Jan 07 - 08:00 AM (#1945331)
Subject: RE: Relearning instruments after a stroke
From: ejsant

Rodger,

Like Ron, I too work through the effects of M.S.. I had all but given up playing the guitar for thirty some years because of this, although unbeknownst as to the reason for the difficulties. I was inspired back to music whilst visiting Ireland some 4 ½ years ago.

The best advice has already been given. Take every scintilla of progress as a victory, leave every stumble in the meaningless annals of history, take respites along the way especially on the difficult days, and carry on.

When asked what it is that I attribute my ability to still walk to I respond simply that I can still walk because I do. Our bodies are amazing and they have tremendous abilities to adapt to changing circumstances. I am convinced, through personal experience, that desire is the foundation of rebuilding nerve pathways and function, or in the very least the foundation of finding new ones to rely upon.

As with Ron you are welcome to contact me directly. Best of luck on this journey. My prayers are with you.

Peace,
Ed


23 Jan 07 - 04:13 PM (#1945864)
Subject: RE: Relearning instruments after a stroke
From: The Vulgar Boatman

Roger - I've done this with people with neurological damage from a variety of causes. You're on the right track; one suggestion - take a big step back and look for those tedious excercises that we used to train our responses when we were first learning. Many of them were written by some pretty smart teachers, and they really work because they take out the need to make a good job of a tune you already know and get on with the business of building, or rebuilding the specialised pathways all musicians need. Look among the classical guitar tutors (which is where I come from) and the violin studies (which is where I definitely don't...).
Good luck - pm me if it you think I can help.
KYBTTS


24 Jan 07 - 12:41 PM (#1946739)
Subject: RE: Relearning instruments after a stroke
From: oombanjo

Roger I had mine 10 years ago and ended up having a triple and OH. Surgery I was given a banjo to learn, as my friend is an after care consultant. He gave me the banjo and he explained that the muscle reactions and the automatic finger movements would in time return, and they have, although I don't play as much guitar as I use to. He said that there would be gaps in my memory and to try to fill them with something new, eg the banjo, not played before, "and like you claw hammer". As said it was slow progress and I was ready to pack it in many times, like Georgiansilver I mostly sing with a copy of the words in front of me as I can't remember even the old songs all the way through. Keep it up and best wishes Oombanjo


26 Jan 07 - 05:00 AM (#1948417)
Subject: RE: Relearning instruments after a stroke
From: GUEST

Hi and sincere thanks to all respondents. This haas been a most interesting inquiry to me (as the originator) and I found your contributions most helpful and encouraging.

The members of the folk club which I run have been terrific. A caring and supportive community. It sems that folkies are truly "The Right Stuff". I found this to be continued in the mudcat membership. Heartwarming and uplifting too - many thanks.

For the record I am making excellent progress on the banjo.

Old Roger


26 Jan 07 - 05:05 AM (#1948421)
Subject: RE: Relearning instruments after a stroke
From: Liz the Squeak

With you all the way up until that last comment Old Roger.... I mean... good luck and all that, but seriously... of all the instruments to choose from, you had to pick the BANJO?!!

: )

LTS


26 Jan 07 - 01:25 PM (#1948864)
Subject: RE: Relearning instruments after a stroke
From: GUEST

Hey Liz

the Banjo picked me. Role reversal or what? But I Play other things too.

bbanjo players are in short supply round here so that's the one for me to work on.

Cheers
Old Roger


26 Jan 07 - 02:46 PM (#1948950)
Subject: RE: Relearning instruments after a stroke
From: GUEST,terrier

It's when I read threads like this I realise how lucky I am to still be in good health (reasonable for late 50's). I can't ever imagine not being able to play and sing and I would hope if the nasties ever got to me I would have the strength of character to battle through, just as many of the posters on this thread have done.

I was lucky enough, some years ago, to meet a wonderful man (violinist) who had suffered several severe strokes. He had spent his life encouraging and training youngsters in the joys of music making. As he was recovering from his malady, far from giving up, he went a luthier and ordered a new violin, how's that for determination.


09 Jul 12 - 07:16 AM (#3373891)
Subject: RE: Relearning instruments after a stroke
From: GUEST,David Wilcox

2009 i suffered a large ischemic stroke ,which rendered my left arm and hand with little use. i have no extension in my left hand fingers therefore unable to play traditional guitar anymore. Although I have such a passion for playing music i am willing to try or learn another instrument. prefer string instrument . but i realise that may not be possible any ideas ?


09 Jul 12 - 08:11 AM (#3373908)
Subject: RE: Relearning instruments after a stroke
From: Jack Campin

Wire harp? You pluck with the right hand, damp with the left. So the left doesn't need to be as strong or agile.


02 Jan 18 - 08:02 AM (#3896884)
Subject: RE: Relearning instruments after a stroke
From: GUEST

Jack Campin

"
Wire harp? You pluck with the right hand, damp with the left. So the left doesn't need to be as strong or agile. " utter tosh... both hands play, both hands damp....

I'm a harpist, and I had a stroke 3 years back. I'm getting back to grips with playing, but I can't read very well anymore.. slow to process information, and I can't remember... I used to have several hours of gig music memorized... and I just can't access it anymore... Once I get it cued from a lead sheet, or something, I'm ok, unless I lose my place, then I'm lost.

I'm trying to find new ways to learn, and triggers for pulling old material back.... but it's slow going


02 Jan 18 - 10:12 AM (#3896913)
Subject: RE: Relearning instruments after a stroke
From: Jack Campin

GUEST is thinking of a different kind of harp. I mean the little mediaeval diatonic wire ones.


05 Jun 19 - 06:12 PM (#3995371)
Subject: RE: Relearning instruments after a stroke
From: GUEST,Old Stroker

I’m coming back from three strokes starting Dec of 2018 and a brain bypass surgery in Jan 2019. My left hand stays too swollen to play my fiddle but after reading this thread and hearing that continuing to try will pay off, I’m not giving up. Roger... see you in a jam maybe this year?
Thanks for talking about this.??????. Sandoom @ yahoo.com


05 Jun 19 - 06:23 PM (#3995374)
Subject: RE: Relearning instruments after a stroke
From: Stilly River Sage

Good luck with your rehabilitation, Sandoom.


06 Jun 19 - 09:57 PM (#3995463)
Subject: RE: Relearning instruments after a stroke
From: Tattie Bogle

I can thnk of at least 2 of my musical friends who have suffered strokes and come back after a period of time and intensive persistence. The one was a fiddle player, and her stroke affected her left hand. It was perhaps the best form of physiotherapy ever that by her sheer dogged determination she got it all back, as well as being proficient on mandolin and guitar.
The other was an accordionist whose stroke affected his ability to read music: he could see the notes on the page and know what he should play, but the notes just did not come out right. He talked about his brain "being scrambled". Again, sheer determination and persistence paid off, and he is back ro pre-stroke playing level.