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Had Stroke - changing direction
#2892843 09/21/19 08:58 PM
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Recently I had a stroke and just got back home yesterday from a 37 day stay in the hospital / recovery unit. Fortunately, they did have some pianos at the hospital that I was able to try out during recovery. I posted info about that in the digital piano forum.

A few quick thoughts on the stroke is that it did not affect cognition, speech or involve paralysis. The primary areas affected are the left side balance, basically I will fall left and there in no instinct to try to catch myself. I just fall right over. That and the left hand coordination is also off quite a bit. This is where playing the piano at the hospital helped. The first attempt at the left hand of a piece was a mess, after the second or third day it started to get better and come back. So there is hope that with enough therapy and work most of what I lost should come back though it’s going to take months.

This is where the piano comes in. Up to now I have been focused on classical currently working my way through Clementi. Now I want to change directions a bit and add in something more contemporary. Basically, I want to learn to play music like these two YouTube videos. In the one playing Where are you Christmas there is a lot of improvisation. That’s the type of stuff I would like to learn how to do.

My entire background both playing as a kid for 6-7 years and for the last year as a adult returning player has been classical with almost no knowledge of music theory. I currently don’t have a teacher and with my current situation I don’t see a teacher in my future. Any suggestions on where to get started on this new piano journey would be appreciated.
Thanks in advance for any advice.






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Re: Had Stroke - changing direction
Peddler100 #2892854 09/21/19 09:25 PM
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Sorry to hear about your stroke. Hope you recover quickly from it. Your videos seem relatively advanced jazz pieces so without a teacher I am not sure how you will play like that. Maybe find a structures beginners course that may teach jazz pieces ? There is a exam board that do jazz piano exams and the second piece you selected was a grade 3 piece. I have found it but have not got the score. From what I remembered these scores have the first page you had the tune. The second page you had the chords with no tune and then had to improvise.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qR4BTijdQQE

Last edited by Moo :); 09/21/19 09:30 PM.
Re: Had Stroke - changing direction
Peddler100 #2892857 09/21/19 09:35 PM
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To get you started playing without reading from a score ….

This is the best system I know of to get you started ….

http://www.pianostar.com/system.php


It is not cheap but it is absolutely well done and it will work for you.

Good Luck to you


Don

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Re: Had Stroke - changing direction
Peddler100 #2892935 09/22/19 07:04 AM
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Perhaps free improvisation, not necessarily in classical or jazz idiom, but just playing sounds you like would help. When I had a dystonia I found I could still improvise even though my repertoire took four years to come right. It made all the difference to my enjoyment of playing. With something like that, giving yourself constant positive reinforcement is half the battle.


"We shall always love the music of the masters, but they are all dead and now it's our turn." - Llewelyn Jones, my piano teacher
Re: Had Stroke - changing direction
Peddler100 #2893031 09/22/19 11:15 AM
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I used piano to help with neurological and brain trauma from a car accident. I, too, lost some functionality in my left hand, and my brain would have these "hiccups" where my hands would just stop in spite of my conscious mind knowing what should come next.

Believe it or not, I used Hanon to help myself retain focus. And I played Bach because I found his music to be the most integrated with LH/RH coordination.

I'm not sure if this helps, but I do believe that piano helped me tremendously at this time. I hope you can continue your progress to recovery!


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Re: Had Stroke - changing direction
Peddler100 #2893111 09/22/19 02:18 PM
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I had a stroke a year and a half ago and the piano has been invaluable to help me rebuild some of those lost connections in my brain, and also is where I can lose myself when I start to have anxiety which I've battled with since my stroke. I'm glad you've found it to be great therapy as well!


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Re: Had Stroke - changing direction
Peddler100 #2893808 09/24/19 08:14 PM
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I had a stroke almost three years ago and it affected my cognitive functions and memory quite badly. I'm just starting back at piano now with a teacher to relearn and keep learning. It's a huge therapy step for me both for my brain and my body. (My physiotherapist is all for this.) I also have a focus issue but am kinda hoping it just improves as I practice. LOL Baby steps man, baby steps.

I can't help at all with what direction your going in, but your definitely not alone. smile Nice to meet all of you fellow stroke warriors. laugh


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Re: Had Stroke - changing direction
Peddler100 #2894032 09/25/19 10:15 AM
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Many thanks to everyone for your thoughts and responses. I agree that getting to play like the videos I posted will be a long term goal. At this point I am just looking to get started in that direction. Looking at the suggestions provided I think I am going to pursue the Kent Hewitt videos for now. I watched the first 2 on jazz chords and the logic and structure behind them I find very interesting. It's a bit overwhelming but at the same time much more interesting to use as therapy that repeatedly picking up and setting down beads in exerciser putty. (I am still doing the therapist recommended exercises but augmenting them with the piano.)

Thanks again for the suggestions and well wishes. My short term goal is to post a jazz piece in the recital after the next one.

Tom


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Re: Had Stroke - changing direction
Peddler100 #2894275 09/26/19 12:58 AM
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May I ask why you discount the possibility of having a teacher? It seems that, more than ever, it would be invaluable to have a teacher sitting by you and guiding you in your progress and practice.

Re: Had Stroke - changing direction
navindra #2894368 09/26/19 08:21 AM
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Originally Posted by navindra
May I ask why you discount the possibility of having a teacher? It seems that, more than ever, it would be invaluable to have a teacher sitting by you and guiding you in your progress and practice.


I don't disagree that a teacher would be helpful but at this point I am home-bound unable to drive and most likely wont be able to drive again for a few months. Add into that my schedule is inconsistent along with how I feel on any given day makes committing to a set time for a lesson all but impossible. I live in a small town where there are few options most of which require a commitment to a set number of lessons with limited rescheduling options. Probably the only viable choice would be a on demand Internet lesson but from what I have read most teachers prefer a set schedule.

For now I just need a set plan to organize a practice / therapy schedule. Playing the piano definitely beats sorting beads into a cup. smile From the few online beginner Jazz lessons I have viewed I have enough to keep me going for the next few months. The current plan is to learn the 12 jazz scales and chords along with the inversions and be able to play those on demand without much effort. Similar to learning scales and arpeggios for classical music.


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Re: Had Stroke - changing direction
Peddler100 #2894395 09/26/19 09:23 AM
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There seems to be a collection of us on here, who have had a stroke. That returning or starting with the piano is a choice we have made to be part of therapy to get better or/and to help look after ourselves in the longer term. I do believe it is a good choice, it is both physical and mental and it is the joining of the two that is most beneficial I think.

I really believe oneilt130 is doing exactly the right thing, and we each have to explore for ourselves how we approach learning to play. The goal is not to reach a destination of playing well but the trip we take. Hopefully playing well is a happy side effect.

Re: Had Stroke - changing direction
KevinM #2894397 09/26/19 09:35 AM
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Originally Posted by KevinM
There seems to be a collection of us on here, who have had a stroke. That returning or starting with the piano is a choice we have made to be part of therapy to get better or/and to help look after ourselves in the longer term. I do believe it is a good choice, it is both physical and mental and it is the joining of the two that is most beneficial I think.

I really believe oneilt130 is doing exactly the right thing, and we each have to explore for ourselves how we approach learning to play. The goal is not to reach a destination of playing well but the trip we take. Hopefully playing well is a happy side effect.

Well said. Playing well is only one goal for piano. Of course it is a default goal if one has no other goal. But other goals are to have fun, to amaze our friends and family (only half joking - most of those sorts live on Reddit's r/piano subreddit smirk ), rehabilitation, and #dementiaprevention. This is making me think because I sometimes ask absolute beginners who want to start learning piano, "what do you want to play?" The real question which is more important than this is probably, "why do you want to learn?"


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Re: Had Stroke - changing direction
KevinM #2894427 09/26/19 11:04 AM
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Originally Posted by KevinM
There seems to be a collection of us on here, who have had a stroke. That returning or starting with the piano is a choice we have made to be part of therapy to get better or/and to help look after ourselves in the longer term. I do believe it is a good choice, it is both physical and mental and it is the joining of the two that is most beneficial I think.

I really believe oneilt130 is doing exactly the right thing, and we each have to explore for ourselves how we approach learning to play. The goal is not to reach a destination of playing well but the trip we take. Hopefully playing well is a happy side effect.


It is interesting and inspiring to hear from other stroke patients here that are using piano as part of their therapy. Even before the stroke my playing the piano was more about the journey than the destination. I just enjoy sitting down at the piano and playing it.

As an aside in my brief journey into Jazz piano I am finding the music theory fascinating. It seems a bit overwhelming but it also appeals to the programmer side of my brain. I never new so much was going on.


Yamaha NU1X, Sennheiser HD 599 headphones, dabling with PianoTeq
Re: Had Stroke - changing direction
Peddler100 #2894440 09/26/19 12:01 PM
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No stroke here. But my father had a bad one in the 80s just as I landed a project in the hospital. I was around a lot of stroke patients and ate lunch with them every day. I assume the treatments are even better now but I saw some amazing recoveries...

I ask myself, fairly regularly, why I keep playing piano when it's so hard for me. Well, all I come up consistently is I'm 62, no longer wanted (it's pretty much mutual) as a software developer, and I need something to keep my brain engaged. This does it for me. It's seems a lot harder than it needs to be but the notation and the keyboard aren't going to change for me. I have nothing but anecdotal evidence to back this up but I've sure seen people start to decline mentally once they leave their job or business behind. So it's 20-60 minutes a day for me and learning to accept very slow progress. It is great to finally play something that looked impossible in the beginning.

Re: Had Stroke - changing direction
Peddler100 #2894570 09/26/19 07:08 PM
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Jus' wondering if you don't mind too much. My brother's had a stroke too; he believed in keeping active, which he did but it still happened. Dad did too, when he was late 70s and he kept active. The q. is - how many of you here regularly monitored your BP before this event happened?
Hope you don't mind me asking! Cheeky, aren't I?


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Re: Had Stroke - changing direction
peterws #2894576 09/26/19 07:26 PM
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Originally Posted by peterws
Jus' wondering if you don't mind too much. My brother's had a stroke too; he believed in keeping active, which he did but it still happened. Dad did too, when he was late 70s and he kept active. The q. is - how many of you here regularly monitored your BP before this event happened?

Not just BP, but - especially if you're above a certain age - is your heart beating regularly?

(Check out atrial fibrillation in relation to stroke).


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: Had Stroke - changing direction
peterws #2894589 09/26/19 07:56 PM
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Originally Posted by peterws
Jus' wondering if you don't mind too much. My brother's had a stroke too; he believed in keeping active, which he did but it still happened. Dad did too, when he was late 70s and he kept active. The q. is - how many of you here regularly monitored your BP before this event happened?
Hope you don't mind me asking! Cheeky, aren't I?


Mine was due to a previously unknown heart defect, the stars aligned (dirty enough blood worked its way through up to my brain after 48 years) and I found out about it, hard. I had no arrhythmia or BP issues prior. Sometimes [censored] just happens frown On the plus side, the defect has been successfully repaired and my stroke risk is below what the scale can measure.


Now learning: Chopin C# minor Nocturne (posth) and C minor Prelude (big chords), Mozart Sonata in C K. 545
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Re: Had Stroke - changing direction
Peddler100 #2894657 09/26/19 11:36 PM
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I had a brain tumour that was in the worst spot he could have been. ( I named him Harold. He gets called bad names. laugh ) I had a stroke during the surgery. It happens. I just happened to survive it. smile Bp, has been low my whole life( regularly monitored since my teens, I'm in my 40's.) Family history of heart disease, heart attacks and strokes. We've kept a close eye on it for almost 2 decades now. None of those things were a factor. Where my brain tumour was, was the factor.

It's very encouraging that so many of us have chosen this route to help ourselves and love the journey at the same time. smile


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Re: Had Stroke - changing direction
BeccaBb #2894660 09/26/19 11:47 PM
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Originally Posted by BeccaBb
I had a brain tumour that was in the worst spot he could have been. ( I named him Harold. He gets called bad names. laugh ) I had a stroke during the surgery. It happens. I just happened to survive it. smile Bp, has been low my whole life( regularly monitored since my teens, I'm in my 40's.) Family history of heart disease, heart attacks and strokes. We've kept a close eye on it for almost 2 decades now. None of those things were a factor. Where my brain tumour was, was the factor.

It's very encouraging that so many of us have chosen this route to help ourselves and love the journey at the same time. smile

Wow. You are on your "Bonus Wave"! Congrats on beating it and may you rack up lots of points in this stage of your life. thumb


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"Discipline is more reliable than motivation." -by a contributor on Reddit r/piano
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"Pianoteq manages to keep it all together yet simultaneously also go in all directions; like a quantum particle entangled with an unknown and spooky parallel universe simply waiting to be discovered." -by Pete14
Re: Had Stroke - changing direction
Tyrone Slothrop #2894664 09/26/19 11:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop

Wow. You are on your "Bonus Wave"! Congrats on beating it and may you rack up lots of points in this stage of your life. thumb


Darn tooting! laugh Thanks lol


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