Formerly "Neil Stone Updates"

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

I Got the Music in Me

Neil has pages that look like this, and others that describe exercises for his mouth--sounds to make, words to pronounce, etc. Because half his face is still struggling to respond to commands from the brain, we're hoping the neurons will find new paths through this kind of stimulation.

A couple of weeks ago, as Eric was practicing his trombone, we got the brainstorm that Neil ought to try making sounds with the mouthpiece. He used to play the instrument himself in middle school, so we figured he might be able to reconnect to those old memories and get his mouth to cooperate. Alas, no such luck. His lips felt big and useless and he couldn't pucker and tighten them to get the needed "buzz."

...Until a few days ago. He tried it again...and, success! Not only did he buzz, we attached the mouthpiece to the horn and he made music! I don't know that he remembers how to play specific notes, but his tone was good and it sounded nice. His left cheek still puffs out a little and occasionally you can hear some air leaking out of the corner of his mouth on that side, but this is a terrific start. It's even therapy for his left hand as he has to force his reluctant fingers into the right position to hold the trombone up.


Meredith said...

Unconventional yet perfect. Fantastic, Neil!

HMStammler said...

Way to go Neil!! I am sure that therapy can be kind of boring somethings so it's great to find new and more exciting ways to get it done!! I say look out Glenn Miller!! Keep up the good work!!