Stroke affect on learning and memory

I had a stroke three weeks ago today and has left me with memory issues to the extent that Im struggling to play some guitar pieces I learned years ago, been practicing and now its all coming back to me...

I had my stroke 3 months ago now. I play and teach the piano. The first lesson I taught following my stroke my brain was arguing with me!! It would let me read the music, watch my pupils hands or listen to what they were playing but no way was it letting me do all 3 lol. I only have a few pupils and had dropped down to just one lesson a week in the early days. I’m back up to teaching 1:1 for a couple of hours on a Saturday morning now but as a primary school teacher, am still unable to spend much more than 30 mins with a class full of questioning children. As for playing the piano myself, I wasn’t too bad, although every now and again my left hand just decides to stop mid piece ? 

I think music and reading have been my saviours. The only things I’ve managed to continue doing without the fatigue kicking in too quickly. Keep going x

Hi! I taught and play piano and guitar as well. My stroke was on the left so I have a right hand that gets fingering mixed up! Bass and guitar are doing fine but it’s parallel movement - hands are synchronised in playing a note! Persevere - get out your Hanon and practice scales until your concentration goes. Later on, when your concentration returns, play an easy piece that you like and enjoy!


After three months? You are doing extremely well, it took me a year to learn how to hold the guitar again and get the fingers working. My main problem was that the right hand couldn't hold a plectrum and I had to design a special one. In my fourth year now and playing is possible but rather limited and slow.



Thats so fast. Very pleasing to hear.

There does seem a large number of musicians amongst our ranks..

May I ask what your formal diagnosis says ? 


Right infarct thalamic stroke...getting there but small steps. My memory does seem ok though to a degree

Dear Janey

So many musicians come on this forum. No idea why, perhaps musicians are physically fit so you all survive.

Pleased that the music and reading are still working for you.

I have read many many cases on the forum and as a generalization it takes nine months to return to employment and then only phased. So you are progressing very well after the stroke bit you. I hate to think of it as your stroke. You didnt choose it. 

Best wishes


You are an exceptional case. I hear of medics saying you might recover in just three months, but I have never yet come across anyone. So do enjoy your situation knowing that not only did you survive, when many do not, but that your recovery is exceptionally quick. Thats just super.

I imagine you had an ischemic thalamic stroke rather than a bleed.

Quite right...small steps.

Do let us all know how you progress.

Best wishes


It wasnt a TIA it was a full stroke caused by a blood clot. Didnt know what was happening to me other than felt strange. CT scans confirmed blood clot. I understand some people come out worse and that Im lucky but there are issues which Im working to resolve. Hope youre feeling better 

Keep up the excellent progress. I am so impressed at what you have achieved in such a short time


Thank you. I must be truely lucky as I know some people are not so in their recovery

Nice attitude. I like that.

Your positivity will be a big help during your recovery. 


Thank you

Do any of you play brass instruments? Have you played since your stroke?

Not brass, I play piano. I’m just gone 3 months and able to multitask the reading music with both hands doing different things! Took a while though, initially my body was willing and mind was reading music but kept short circuiting between the 2 and my left hand would just stop playing - often without me noticing!!

HelIo. I played guitar to a moderately proficient level until my stroke on 11.11.2010.

I spent months in hospial and then home. I still struggle with the left hand and can't play anywhere near my previous level but my main problem is with my right hand and it's accuracy in hitting the strings. But just as that was getting better [after 8 yrs odf practice!] the muscle at the base of the thumb is now so wasted that it can't hold the plectrum like you.

Although I am doing exercises to strenghten this muscle I would be interested to hear what your plectrum design is.

I live in the Buxton area and can still strum resonablely well and I wondered if there were any others in the area that would be interested in meeting to see what we could bang out.


My stroke was just over two years ago. One of my hobbies was keyboard. My left side is affected and my brain seems not to connect with my hands anymore. I have only tried a couple of times since the stroke and failed miserably both times, so I am reluctant to keep trying and failing.

Dear Rita

Dont give up. I have had lots of improvement after the two year mark. I have left sided weakness and its only now, 43 months post stroke, that the weakness is starting to equalize. I wish I had attended to this aspect long ago. But better late than never. 

So many musicians amongst our fellow SS. I wish I was one of them. I would love to play base guitar but it will stay as a dream.

I started gentle yoga and the instructor is magic. She picks out every muscle that is out of line, and she has so many good ideas to improve things for me and my fellow attendees.

Best wishes


It must be very frustrating to be able to read and then have your brain decide to let one hand go off the path. I have been hesitant to attempt reading music but am encouraged by your comments. I also play piano but used it mostly as a tool,not performing. I have a nice alto recorder that needs some work, but I have found the stretch of my right hand is limited so I have some difficulty there.  Just talking with another musician makes me happy and I will give the piano a try then get the Recorder to a shop. I will let you know how it goes. All the best to you.

It took me nearly two years to get my left hand working fairly well because I lost 30% of my general  body strength and initially 90% loss on my right arm and fingers. Just to get all right hand fingers to touch thumb took several months alone. I'll try to add a picture of the plectrum I designed to overcome loss of grip. It is made from kangaroo skin. I'm in my fourth year of recovery and still have a daily practice time to try and improve more.