Beyond Adversity

Enjoying Life After Adversity

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Cognitive Benefits of Music

2016-0415 Cognitive Benefits of Playing Music

A doctor visited one of her patients in the hospital. The patient survived a nine-hour surgery to remove a cancerous tumor from his brain. After the surgery, bandages covered most of the patient’s head.

“Doctor,” the man asked excitedly “will I be able to play the piano when these bandages come off?”

“I don’t see why not,” replied the doctor.

“That’s great,” said the man. “I wasn’t able to play piano before the surgery.”

~ author unknown

Prior to my brain injury, I enjoyed watching the hands of pianists more so than listening to the sounds created by the hands. Now, I am fascinated with the entire process of playing piano. The brain memorizes music or the eyes read music and the brain interprets what the eyes see. Two hands move in different directions, play different notes, and yet they do so in a coordinated way. Somehow the brain, eyes, hands, keys, feet, and pedals work together to produce a sound that is sometimes pleasing to hear.

The following video shows what happens when all the pieces fall into place. Please note that I am not the person playing piano in the video. The artist in the video is Lionel Yu.


What skills would you like to develop? What steps have you taken to achieve your goals? What obstacles prevent you from reaching your goals? 


Click here to read another Beyond Adversity post.

Thanks to Lionel Yu for playing Black Star, musicalbasicsand YouTube for providing the video in this post.


Even after brain surgeries, chemotherapy, and radiation treatments to eradicate his brain cancer, Scott continued to work; continued to study; and earned professional certifications from the Project Management Institute, American Society of Quality, and Stanford University School of Professional Development. How were all of these achievements possible at a time when Scott was struggling with the hurdles of brain injury? The answers are in this blog.

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**** About The Author ****

During the past 13 years, I have been diagnosed with cancer, brain injury, balance issues, stroke, ataxia, visual impairment, and auditory challenges. I have overcome significant adversity! I can explain how to overcome your challenges. I am a very active Toastmaster and a motivational speaker.