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  • Do any of you play an instrument despite Parkinson’s?

    Posted by Mary Beth Skylis on July 1, 2024 at 1:53 pm

    Michael J. Fox has greatly supported Parkinson’s Research and care. I can’t help but respect the man. I recently saw that he performed with Coldplay, playing the solo to one of the band’s most popular songs. And he played it well, which got me thinking:

    Do any of you play an instrument despite Parkinson’s? Do you have any tricks or tips that have helped you maintain dexterity?

    Alan M replied 4 days, 5 hours ago 11 Members · 10 Replies
  • 10 Replies
  • RosemaryG

    July 2, 2024 at 9:30 am

    My partner was a professional jazz musician but stopped during Covid and was then diagnosed with PD. It’s stopped him performing but he practices every day. If you are a musician it’s your life blood! He plays saxophone, clarinet and flute and finds he doesn’t have the lung capacity to play a full piece. The flute seems especially hard. He keeps trying different approaches and is determined to improve. I should add that he is still “early stage” and tremors are mild. I’m wondering if any other musicians have found useful tricks?

  • Wobblygirl

    July 2, 2024 at 6:52 pm

    I play a tenor horn in a brass band. I’ve had to drop down to second horn and I’m finding getting up and down from stages and negotiating my way through music stands increasingly difficult. I used to play french horn in a concert band but I find that too stressful. I can still play duets with my husband. I just hope I can keep going as long as possible. I love the social side – and feeling part of a group.

  • susanbn

    July 4, 2024 at 7:05 pm

    My flute playing has been inconsistent. I recently cancelled a recital performance because I couldn’t count on my low or high registers sounding good, tone and vibrato weren’t controllable and my fingers weren’t as flexible as I wanted them to be. Then I started Sinemet and those issues have almost gone away. I have only been diagnosed recently, though I began feeling symptoms about a year ago. I am hopeful.

  • Stevie Kay

    July 4, 2024 at 10:22 pm


    I still play the keyboard and guitar in my church and home. Though I can feel the struggle in terms of speed and hammering on weighted Keyboard and pianos but I just play and enjoy myself each time and God takes the glory!!!!

  • Vickie

    July 5, 2024 at 1:51 pm

    I play an alto sax, and found that I quickly get tired. I am tired from standing a long time while playing, and tired from the weight of the sax on my neck. I discovered that if I sit down, and rest my sax on a table or pillows or anything else that will work, it makes playing it much easier.

  • Diva

    July 8, 2024 at 6:05 pm

    Yes, I play guitar. Although the guitar I played was too big, a jumbo, and found it too heavy so I recently purchased a small acoustic guitar & I’m coping much better now! I played it & sang in our church praise group for many years, However I felt the tremor in my right arm & hand was becoming too conspicuous so I stepped down from the praise group with much sadness. I’m concerned that my singing is deteriorating (difficulty in keeping tune & pitch) Has anyone else experienced this problem, I’d love to hear from them!

    Hilary Lynas from N.Ire. UK

  • Robert Ruiz

    July 9, 2024 at 3:32 pm

    Yes! I play guitar, bass and drums. But mostly guitar. I also produce. That’s kinda a hobby though.

    I was about 42 years old when I was diagnosed in 2016. I was in a local metal band playing bass. I probably could’ve stayed on longer but I felt like if I did it wasn’t gonna be right. Bass in a metal band is pretty easy as far as mistakes in a live setting but I felt I couldn’t do the studio work anymore. So I mostly played at home, noodling just messing around. Then I would say the past 2-3 it became less and less. The last year I covered my drums with sheets because I wasn’t playing at all.

    You know what helped?

    DBS! I just recently had the surgery. March 31st. You could say I’m still recovering. I heard about it when I was first diagnosed. My neurologist said “There isn’t a pill or drug that will do what DBS does!” And there isn’t! At the time I wasn’t that bad and the thought of having my head cracked open was not appealing.

    But putting my drums down and rarely picking up my guitars well…it sucked. I didn’t even want to produce. And that’s all editing!

    Now I’m back to playing and producing.

    I can’t wait to be cleared for run/jogging!

    I’m not being by anyone to say these things. I’m glad I did it. But yeah, DBS folks! Thank God for modern science/medicine!

    I’m just gonna leave these here…

  • Parkypicker

    July 9, 2024 at 4:01 pm

    I played guitar for 60 years before my PD DX 5 years ago. I played well enough to do session work and perform with orchestras,

    theater pit bands,Big Bands and church orchestras. My PD has significantly weakend my left hand (critical for playing). I have partially compensated for this by playing nylon strings. However, the multitasking requirements of playing (e.g. coordinating hands and fingers to respond to the written music notes) results in the PD weakened system lacking enough resources to cope with basic tremor control. Also, my upper body strength has significantly deteriorated to where I can hardly lift most guitars. I am now doing music with my PC using music writing software to control MIDI and samples to construct melodies and backing tracks.

  • Edward Fritz

    July 11, 2024 at 2:37 pm

    I’m 73 and a classically trained pianist. 7-12 years ago I was competing in amateur piano competitions around the country. All of those went on hold during the Covid pandemic. In the interim I noticed my left hand becoming much less responsive. Then about 2 years ago I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s and that started to make sense. The physical therapy programs for PD focus on exaggerating our physical movements to counteract the body’s desire to do everything in smaller movements, so I decided to do the same with my fingers and hands when doing warm up exercises. That and increasing my practice time seemed to help, and I played an hour-long recital program and competed in a competition in June this year. Honestly I feel like I’m playing as well as ever, which is a huge blessing since it means so much to me!

  • Alan M

    July 18, 2024 at 8:36 pm

    I tried playing Scottish Small Pipes back in 2021… I contacted a superb tutor in Canada (Halifax). I could do the fingering and learned to play about 15 tunes on an electronic chanter.

    After 3 years I purchased a stand of SSP’s from the South Island vendor. 18 mos. or so later I found it more and more difficult to play the bellows. So now, I’m trying to go back to the instrument (on my practice chanter) and then speak t a bloke names Bruce Lazeroff to design and fabricate me an electronic pump mechanism to drive my pipes.

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