• Music and fine motor skills

    Posted by ally on November 11, 2021 at 8:36 pm

    Can music help people with Parkinson’s disease recover fine motor skills, such as those required for writing, self-care, and fine object manipulation? That’s the subject of a new research study underway at the University of Colorado. Listen to this flash briefing to learn more. Click here to learn more about enrolling in the study as a participant.

    What do you think of this news? Are you interested in participating in this study?

    alan-m replied 1 year, 6 months ago 11 Members · 13 Replies
  • 13 Replies
  • susan-watkins

    November 17, 2021 at 12:44 am

    I started playing guitar to help with the fine motor skills and once the Azilect calmed my mild resting tremor. Most of my PD involves muscle and tendon issues which pt helps tremendously. Seek a pt that specializes in sports medicine as I found that they arecmore inept to push you and focuses on balance issues ti eliminate falls.

    • thomas-rutschman

      November 18, 2021 at 12:20 pm

      I sing in a choir and that has helped by voice to be stronger. The isolation during the Covid pandemia was not good for my voice, though. I started doing magic tricks to keep my fine motor skills, as well as doing some carpentry projects. (I make wooden puzzles for kids.) My guitar playing has take a toll, though–it is not as fun as it once was. My mother, who had Multiple Systems atrophy quit playing the piano a few years before she passed away. And she was a piano teacher most of her life.

      • ally

        May 19, 2022 at 8:01 pm

        Hi Thomas, thanks for sharing. How did you get into making puzzles? That’s a really cool hobby (or is it your profession?) and I’ve never met another person who does that.

  • alan-m

    November 18, 2021 at 6:25 pm

    I hope the News Forum allows me to post this time.  I tried to post a reply on Mary Beth’s “Stress” query but the URL said it could not post it at this time???

    I hope you don’t mind me sharing a story about music and my journey with PD.  And I trust my droning on & on doesn’t bore you too much.  I fancy mesell a crazed Scotsman.  I’ve always loved singing Trad music and held an even greater passion to learn to play the bagpipes. I broke the bank and purchased a stand of GHBP’s from Norm Kyle (rest his soul) early in July 1986 at Edmonton AB.  I lugged them around with me from pillar to post until I left Canada for Oz in 1999.  Wish I had learnt to play them back then.  Only thing was, I lived in remote communities & logging camps on the West Coast for the latter half of the 1980’s and most of the 1990’s.

    I wasn’t fortunate enough to find and connect with a pipe tutor, sadly.  Too busy getting married, working my butt off, and getting divorced 13 years later.  It wasn’t until I shifted to NZ with my second spouse, that I finally met a piping tutor online (in Kingston, ON).  I had previously parted with my GHBP’s.  I wasn’t aware I had PD back then, either.

    It took me the last 3.5 years to save sufficient pesos to purchase a new stand of SSP’s (Scottish smallpipes).  A gorgeous stand of Fred Morrison’s from Scotland!  You beauties!  I meet with my tutor online once a fortnight.  And when I’m not practicing, I’m listening to Trad music.

    Pipe chanters have 8 holes to play melody with, and as these are “cauld wind” pipes, they are powered by a set of bellows activated by me right elbow.  The bag tucks under me left armpit area.  I need to motion these in sync so it’s excellent for exercising range of motion in both arms, really. RH four fingers and the LH three pinkies and thumb get an adequate workout.

    Thank the heavens for music and musical instruments!!  Alan

    • ally

      May 19, 2022 at 8:03 pm

      Hi Alan, loved this post. I went to university in Kingston and it doesn’t surprise me you found a piping tutor there. The city has a very strong musical community and a lot of Scottish influences, too. I love the bagpipes and I’m so impressed you learned how to play them. What is your favourite song to play?

      • alan-m

        June 9, 2022 at 11:12 pm

        I have learnt so many “favs” from Michael (my tutor) in the past 6 – 8 mos it’s really difficult to pick just one, Ally.

        My fav genres are slow airs, waltzes, laments and folk ballads.  The slow paced ones suit my current level of prowess, I guess.

        As far as tunes go, I’ve learnt to love: Hector the Hero, Cork Hill, Cullen Bay, the Mill O’, the Green Hills of Tyrol, Nut Brown Maiden, Marie’s Wedding, On Eagles’ Wings, Amazing Grace, How can I Keep from Singing, MacCrimmon’s Lament, Sound of Sleat, and a few other Irish ballads.

        N’er a shortage of good tunes, I’ve heard it said.  If I can get 55+ tunes under me belt and play them well, before I die, I’ll be more than happy.  I’ve learnt most of these tunes by ear, thus far.  Quite a challenge!

  • Gauri

    April 29, 2022 at 8:14 am

    Before I could get the right treatment for Parkinson I was struggling to learn Indian classical vocal music. With tremor at its peak caused instability in the posture resulting in a setback. but under these circumstances also I could pass 5 exams of the Board for vocal classical music.

    Today as my symptoms are under controlled and managed better I am able to practice vocal music and gain command over it.

    I also play piano and accompanying instruments as you can see in the link




    • mary-beth-skylis

      May 1, 2022 at 12:08 pm

      Thank you for sharing, Gauri! I’ve often found music to be therapeutic. And I’m so glad to hear that you’re finding ways to incorporate it into your life.

  • john-citron

    May 3, 2022 at 1:52 pm

    I studied music since I was around 7 years old and continued my piano lessons up until 2017 including as a music major seeking a BA in piano performance. I never completed my degree program but continued with private lessons.

    Today, I play nearly daily. I find it has definitely helped me keep up my motor skills with my hands and fingers. My neurologist noticed that when I do the finger-tap test. I can blaze along quite well with my right hand, although my left hand is definitely slower and quite a bit weaker. This slowness and weakness definitely affect my piano playing, but I learned to compensate for it by playing slower, which isn’t a bad thing anyway because I am able to play more musically and accurately. I could go into a whole rant about this, but I won’t!

    Piano playing does have other benefits as well because this is not just moving the fingers and counting time. This is a whole-body exercise regimen because to play at a high level it requires balance, relaxation, focus, and foot movements for clear pedaling. While studying, I learned the Alexander Technique, or some of the exercises for whole body relaxation, and this really helps with the PD as well.

  • lamar-cartwright

    May 3, 2022 at 4:29 pm

    Music encourages a person’s inclination to move, developing their fine motor skills and gross motor skills.

  • rich

    May 4, 2022 at 12:52 pm

    Everyone here seems so accomplished that I hesitate to jump in the fray!

    I could never afford a drum set, although I loved to play other people’s when given the chance. But I could afford drum sticks! So I actually air-drum to my favorite music, which wouldn’t probably be a therapy my neuro would automatically suggest. But I’m stretching, I’m manipulating my wrists, I’m swiveling, I’m tapping my feet, I’m anticipating the next beat, I’m singing lyrics, I’m sweating—and I’m *smiling*. Here’s one of my go-to songs: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LdpMpfp-J_I.

    Do I look like a fool doing it? Absolutely. And I couldn’t care less! 🙂

    As Alan said, “Thank the heavens for music and musical instruments!!”

  • patricia-conner

    May 5, 2022 at 2:50 pm

    <p style=”text-align: left;”>Yes,especially chair dancing to rod Stewart.  Yes,yes, to music.</p>

  • wbblygirl

    May 5, 2022 at 6:04 pm

    I play French horn – badly, but I love it. I find my main problem is breath control. I’m an expert on vibrato – I just can’t hold a straight note, especially if I’m nervous. I’m happiest hiding behind more accomplished players because as soon as I’m stressed everything goes to pieces. I’m just glad I can still join in. Before I started on Madopar the tremor was so bad I couldn’t hold my horn and I was really scared I would have to give up. Playing music in a band is such a joy and I’m sure it helps cognition. Fingers crossed I can continue for a few years.


  • alan-m

    May 12, 2022 at 9:25 pm

    Hi hi Wobblygirl,

    Like you, I’m tying to learn an new instrument (badly) — the Scottish small pipes.  I’ve got no one to hide behind.  It’s an instrument that sounds good alongside a fiddle, or guitar, mandolin, or button accordion.  But I live in an area of NZ where traditional musicians are scarce.

    My instrument is bellows-driven — and sits under me right arm.  The issue is, I suffer from tremors in my right arm…  and then after 10 – 15 mins of playing, I feel tenseness (dystonia) in my entire right arm (wrist, fingers, forearm and shoulder).

    I really hope that both you and I can continue playing our hearts out for years to come.  Cheers, Alan

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