Musician stuggling to play

Hey all,

I’m 46 year old musician who was recently diagnosed. I have stiffness in my right side, which stops me playing my instrument. I’ve been on a low-ish dose of pramipexole ER for two more than months and haven’t experienced improvement in hand movement.

I have many questions, and I know we’re all different, but I’m worried I’ll never be able to play again.

Has anyone else been in the same boat but can play their instrument again after their medication has been calibrated? Or is it time to say goodbye to playing and start the grieving process so I can move on?

Maybe it’s time to de-clutter the music gear - it takes up lots of space!

Thanks to all.

I was taking classical guitar a couple of years ago and only got worse over time. Very frustrating! Good luck! BTW there is a YouTube of a guy playing classical guitar beautifully after medication.

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Don’t give up. A year ago I couldn’t play either my tenor horn or french horn because my left hand was shaking so much. I started on Madopar which took some getting used to, but I persevered with the nausea and now I’m back to playing. I don’t know how long it will last, but I’m just so grateful to be able to go back to the bands. I also take Azilect in the morning. It did nothing on its own but seems to work with the Madopar. Good luck. I know just how devastating it to think you might have to give up something you love, but fingers crossed - you may well find getting the meds right sorts it out.


I agree with Tenorhorn. It is disheartening for sure, but it is early days. Your medication regime will be adjusted many times until you find as close to optimum. Some people find that the muscle memory required to perform a task is retained even when stiffness of shaking happens as soon as you stop doing it. My partner can touchtype, and a friend of ours was able to paint miniature toys in incredible detail because his tremor stopped when he was focused on that. Other musicians adapt their playing to suit – I know a guitarist who swapped to playing with open tunings, for example. This is a long piece, not a two-minute punk thrash; please don’t stop now, you may well be able to do more than you think once the treatment has been adjusted to help you.


Thanks guys. I appreciate the encouraging messages.

It’s made more upsetting because prediagnosis, I had to drop out of a reunion tour for an old band I was in because I couldn’t play.

I faked most of the playing in the State Comps last year (a very understanding band master insisted I join in.) This year I played the lot (almost). On a different “note”, have you thought of trying PD Warrior? The 10 week challenge is a hard slog but well worth it and the people in Tribe 360 are so positive. I turned 76 last week so if an old lady can do it I’m sure you can. Worth a try anyway. I was walking with a stick 3 months ago, now I don’t need it.

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Pramipexole’s for restless legs,I’m on it for that,but only the lowest strength,bye.

I’ve just picked up your message concerning your guitar playing.
This may help a little.
Do not give up!!!
I’ve had Parkinson’s for nearly ten years now and it’s taken my left side. I play acoustic guitar and although I have moments of extreme frustration, my meds keep me going together with shear bloody minded determination!
Don’t give up and keep your beloved guitar always.
There will always be ways and means.
I wish you luck.


Hi, I am a Bass player who was diagnosed 18 months ago. About 8 months ago I was invited to join a band, the members of which are scattered over a wide are, but mostly in excess of 60 miles from me. To begin with my symptoms, tremors down my left side and anxiety, didn’t really cause any problems and I played a few gigs and travelled some distance to rehearsals. Despite the fact that whenever I was a rest, off would go the tremors.
However I have recently put gigging with them on hold because of increasing anxiety about travel and being in the right place at the right time, that’s the part of Parkinsons that I seem to struggle most with.
I find that playing my instrument helps ease the physical and mental symptoms.
I now concentrate on playing with a singer songwriter friend, who has his own problems, depression and tinnitus. But we are both learning how to adapt to our challenges and I hope that you will too.
I am determined not to let Parkinsons define me.
If you love doing something that you love, and it defines you, find a way to adapt.
Good luck.

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Although I am newly diagnosed, I have already found that my medication has helped my hands to be more co-ordinated on the piano.

I know what you’re feeling. I’m a violist and my tremor is in my bowing arm. I can’t judge the pressure of the bow or have control of where its going . Im bowing like a 9 yr old. I’ve been playing in symphonies and orchestras for 30 yrs. My Dr suggested DBS as a possible solution and I’m still considering it. Maybe its something you should look into?