Stroke survivor possible to play piano again?

I had a stroke 8 months ago due to right brain bleeding. I lost my left side body mobility and since then, i am unable to play piano with my both hands. Anyone can share how to work on the recovery so that I can regain my left hand playing piano?

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  • I am so sorry you have been going through this, and wish you a full recovey.

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    • Jeff
    • Jeff
    • 5 mths ago
    • Reported - view

    What a terrible thing to happen to anyone! Sorry so to hear what are have been through. I think the main thing after stroke is to mobilize the affect side to regain your motorneural control of the larger movements then slowly refine that into the finer movement of the smaller muscles. I.e. fingers, palm and wrist.  Have you been receiving physiotherapy and/or acupuncture for post stroke recovery?

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    • Jenny
    • Jenny.1
    • 5 mths ago
    • Reported - view

    I'm sorry to hear this Agnes. I have known a lady return to playing piano following a mild stroke, but of course it depends on many things, everybody is so different. Do you have access to a specialist physio and occupational therapist? They would be able to advise how best to move forward with your plans. Recovery can seem very slow and frustrating. However, if you are still able to play with your right hand, I wonder whether it's worth exploring right-hand repertoire in the meantime? If you do not have access to rehabilitation team, then perhaps stroke associations may be able to help a bit. Not sure where you are in the world, but in the UK we have www.stroke.org.uk. I hope it goes well for you. Very best wishes for your continued recovery.

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    • Gail Starr
    • Recently retired MBA (international consumer products/luxury goods/classical music mgt.)
    • Gail_Starr
    • 5 mths ago
    • Reported - view

    Dear Agnes,

    What a difficult period you have been through!

    I had a neurological illness 4 years ago and couldn't use my right hand properly for 2 years, due to pain/numbness.  I wasn't a candidate for physiotherapy, so I just started by doing things for the large muscle groups once my pain subsided.  Silly things like squeezing a ball and conducting in the air to get my wrist mobility back.  Now, 4 years later, I still have numbness in my thumb and 2 fingers but I have resumed playing lots of classical pieces.  I bet you'll get better and better as time goes on.  Just try to be patient and enjoy other hobbies in the meantime.  Sending love!

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    • Janice
    • Janice.1
    • 4 mths ago
    • Reported - view

    Hi, I am so sorry for what you have been and are going through. My mom had major strokes in her 30鈥檚. She started a jewelry manufacturing firm in her early 20鈥檚, and did most of the designing and soldered for hours every day. It wasn鈥檛 piano, but still required the use of her hands and great dexterity. Her doctor recommended she return to work as soon as possible. Being a hard worker, she did. She also had to relearn speech. Mom felt this enabled a better and faster recovery than otherwise. 
     

    With your doctor鈥檚 permission, I would pursue aggressive rehabilitation, as my recollection is that different parts of the brain take over as exercise activates new neurons. 
     

    I have a chronic illness and am exploring meditation and Qigong to relax and heal my nervous system.
     

    Take courage, as the next few years will see unbelievable breakthroughs in health. Google search 鈥渂reakthrough treatments for stroke recovery鈥 and you will see what I mean.  You can also focus on other aspects of music study such as ear training, composition, etc.

    鈥楢ll the best to you and speedy recovery.

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  • Agnes,  I think the first thing is to be kind to yourself in your recovery.  I don't know at what level you were playing before, but I do know that it's hard to be patient when we want to just get back to where we were.  Of course, a good hand therapist is vital to your mobility and dexterity, but also perhaps you can start the left hand in simple cords while you exercise it along with a right-hand melody. 

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  • Hello Agnes! I just read your post and wanted to share with you what one of my colleagues in college went through.  Your brain has high plasticity and, while some parts might remain damaged, there is enough capacity in our brain to make up for the lost parts. I share with you the article about my colleague.

    https://buffalonews.com/business/local/a-stroke-patients-musical-journey-from-coma-to-recovery/article_6395c8b6-3f94-5d40-99c4-188c2951a235.html

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  • Hello Agnes, you posted this a couple of monts ago so I  hope you're recovery is going well.  There's been lots of good advice already, particularly about medical advice which I am sure you will have been given.  One thought that came to mind is about how the brain works, which put simply is that there is no such thing as multi-tasking.  The brain does one thing at a time, albeit very rapidly with some people. [See Juliana Han on this on TB]  

    I suggest that you try to build upon that by choosing consciously to play a note in the LH and then a note in the RH, possibly the same note with a different finger.  I would use the scale fingering but start with one note first, then two [firstly LH RH LH RH then LH LH RH RH], then three, etc.  Speed is not at all of the essence.

    I do something similar in scales when the scale uses, say 3 in the LH at the same time as 4 in the RH, or vice versa.  The tendency is for the brain to tell both hands to use the same finger at the same time, so slowing things down and deliberately sending the signal from the brain to each finger in both hands separately [effectively slightly out of time - almost syncopated] helps me with the conscious separation between the hands.

    Hope this suggestion helps and all the best with your recovery of your health and your piano playing! xx  

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