Let’s Make Some Melodious Sounds


We’ve blogged about music before here at SPINALpedia, but there are always new musicians to profile. So many of us love music and find ingenious ways to create it  after our injuries. It can be easy to just walk away from the instrument, but don’t fall prey to such an action. Our videos below prove you don’t have to.

All it takes is to realize that it’s not going to be like it used to, and that that’s okay. You can still enjoy making music even if it’s different. You just can’t let your injury or disability take away your love of music, along with so much else. Check out our three videos below that will certainly inspire you to try to get back into music.

Our first video comes from Ms. Wheelchair California 2010 Jennifer Kumiyama, who was also the first person in a wheelchair to become a performer in a Disney production (Aladdin). A California girl, Jennifer was born with Arthrogryposis, a condition the occurs in the womb and causes permanently contracted joints, making it difficult to walk and/or move ones arms.

It can be a tough condition to live with, but Jennifer Kumiyama makes it look beautiful when she’s on stage singing, as this video of her singing a cover of “Hey Mr. DJ” by Zhane with a live band proves. Jennifer performs with her backup singers, letting them chime in throughout.

My favorite part by far is when she raps at the end, sounding almost like the original version. As she rolls around on-stage looking awesome in a printed dress, she may be the most dynamic performer in a wheelchair you’ll ever see. Watch her sing “Hey Mr. DJ” last summer at a benefit for the Ms. Wheelchair California Foundation

Our next video comes from C6-7 quadriplegic Jason Gerling, a professional drummer who’s been drumming professionally since he was 16 years old.  Despite breaking neck in a car accident when he was 23 (falling asleep at the wheel after leaving a late night performance no less), Jason has made a triumphant return to drumming despite now only having two limbs to drum vs. four.

In his video, he talks about the ingenious drum kit he invented that allows him to play the kit drum (the big drum that is usually played with one’s foot), when he plays by hitting a symbol, officially making him viable once again professional drumming world.  He’s so excited about what he’s been able to do that he’s made a DVD sharing his tips, and this video is his trailer for the DVD. Check out this amazing drummer in action

Our last video is for the guitar heads of the world. Made by Robert Florio, a C4 quad who also paints and does stand-up comedy, he has found a way to learn how to still play the guitar. He ingeniously uses a PVC pipe in one hand and his tenodesis splint with a fork in the other to make some melodious sounds. It’s hard to believe the works, but it does .

He calls his contraption the “pic-fork,” and he’s quite proud of it too. In his video, he shows how he plays, and plays several diddies for 7 minutes straight (making it look good). Watch Rob Florio play the guitar

You know, you gotta love music in any shape of form It lifts the soul. Don’t let any disability stop you from getting your music fix too. It just feels too good to miss out on, and you know we’re right.

What instruments have you adapted post-injury?

Watch the videos!

Ms. Wheelchair Cali Jennifer Kumiyama singing at a event

Paraplegic drummer Jason Gerling shares his story

Rob Florio, a C4 quad, playing the guitar with a cool hand splint

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