I have decided to write about this remarkable students progress, (With both his and his father's kind Permission) He is a 17 yr old student studying art at college as any normal 17 yr old would do, but what makes him remarkable in my humble opinion is that he suffers from a condition known as "Disteric Cerable Paulsy", or (Distonia) as it is commonly known as. This affects his right side, It is by no means the worst case but does mean that he has to put a huge amount of effort into just doing every day tasks including his love of playing the drums.
If you do not know what this condition is it is a condition that means he gets involuntary shakes of his right side and cannot control his hand / arm, nec or head movements though this only affects his head when he looks to the right, it is involuntary messages from the brain that causes spasms in the muscles leading to his right arm, hand and fingers. In order for him to achieve his dream of playing drums with a band I have to understand his condition and then start and reprogram his brain with regards to creating muscle memory.
Prior to me taking William on as a student he had being having lessons with a teacher for five years but he still could not read notation, unfortunately it oppears that this teacher did not think about how it would be possible to get William to read notation nore did he think about how it would be possible to get some movement into Williams right side. He focused on what "He thought William could do." Sadly there is a huge difference, as I have discovered whilst teaching William. ( 5 years of Wills ditermination Wasted), I feel this is a long time in Willliam's life that could have forged some great results. The longer I teach the more frustrated I become with teachers that do not take there students needs into account.
When I decided to take William on as a student I gave him an assessment with regards to his drumming ability, I soon realised that William's determination far out weighed his ability to play due to his condition. I decided that if I was going to help William I needed to spend time on the internet researching and trying to understand the condition of "Disteric Cerable Paulsy". I made a point of putting william"s playing to one side and made a program of exercises for will to do to get his right side working using small movements and gradually increasing over time to create muscle memory, At this point Williams Dad sugested employing the help of a trained physio therapist to work with william to increase his overall movement on his right side,This meant I could suggest possible exercises relervent to drumming and the phisio could show will a safe way of performing the exerciese. This is a slow progress and one which requires william to spend hours just doing the smallest of movements, when william starts to become stressed his right side starts to shake, this will be a constant problem for william for many years, and possably for his entire life. With a lot of hard work we can try to overcome some of the shakes by creating muscle memory so that william can achieve his dream.
I would just like to point out at this time that I am merly a Drum Teacher who has had no medical training or had experiance of working with people with Disteric Cerable Paulsy up untill meeting Will, All I am doing is taking a little bit of extra time and helping a young man work towards achieving his goal and every care has been taken not to aggrivate or put william under any undue stress whilst doing this.
Williams First Accuracy Test
After William had spent about a month on accuracy movements which consisted of very simple up and down motions and arm extentions, he was able to strike the practice pad with his right hand,with the aid of a finger support this meant william could now place a drumstick in his right hand with out dropping it. This then gave us the foundations to move forward and started work with the pracice pad.