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I am one of the Millions of people in the world who suffers from Bipolar disorder (a.k.a. Manic Depression). This problem is actually kind of a blessing in disguise. As a result of this thing I have I tend to be a bit more emotional than the average person. I actually cried in the theater after Gil Shaham finished the intro and 1st movement of Bruch's Scottish Fantasy.

I was put on medicine that almost killed me due to an allergic reaction. Consequently, I stopped taking all medicines! But I'm glad I don't take the meds cause it really numbed my emotions (what I consider my soul). Well, I mentioned that having this is a blessing because I can channel all of the emotional surges through my violin and I can really say something with my music.

What I'd like to ask is, are there any obsticals, either physical or mental, that have enhanced you musical abilities?

I really don't believe I'd be much of a musician without this problem. I'm glad I have other musicians who I can share my thoughts with, too. Here's a thanks to everyone!

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ADHD for me.

Without it, I wouldn't be able to keep up with the emotional/physical demands of violin playing.

The internal energy that is a gift of having ADHD allows me to practice for hours without tiring physically or mentally.

Sitting in a desk for 1 minute and trying to be still is far harder for me than running through all the Paganini Caprices in a single sitting without break - which I tend to do fairly frequently nowadays.

I also have hyperflexible joints, almost like Ehlers Danlos syndrome. Nobody else in my family has this. This allows me to stretch to play things like the double trill in Paganini Caprice #3.

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thats funny. I have ADHD as well, but I never really thought of it as an advantage.

I sometimes space out while I'm playing and find myself at the end of the piece, which made much of my practicing when I was younger quite worthless. I'm better at concentrating now, but I still have trouble forcing myself to just practice and not play.

I never really thought about how it might help me play longer, but over the last couple months I've been practicing more and more, and I even put in about 10 hours yesterday, although 5 hours were rehearsals. I started to feel tired by the 8th hour, but I can go for about 3-4 hours straight without noticing the time go by.

I've been averaging 5 hours a day, but my playing still isn't as disciplined as I would like it to be, and sometimes I can't pay attention when people talk to me.

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Well, my "obstacle" is a degenerative connective tissue disease that entered my life at about age 43...prior to that I had been EXTREMELY athletic and active...professional ballet and jazz and showing horses (hunters and jumpers). As a kid I tried to take piano, but could NOT stay still long enough to focus on the music theory because I wanted to MOVE.

WELLLLL, I can no longer do any of those things and even have difficulty sometimes breathing when the disease attacks my lungs and heart. As difficult as things were for me to get used to not being so athletic, I was able to redirect my mental energies and emotional energy into learning the violin (which was a secret childhood dream that I did not follow because my parents had told me that if I could not play the piano I could never learn the violin).

So, what could be a negative thing in my life has yielded a new passion for me in my life and helped me to learn an instrument that I have always loved! When I am in reasonable shape, it is such an immense joy to focus on the music and expression it offers me.

I think all of us who have various "obstacles" (ADHD, Bipolar, etc) will often find that music is a terrific conduit for our desires, emotions and souls. Maybe we also appreciate it just a bit more? laugh.gif


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String toad, my folks said the same thing to me after I decided to quit piano. But I am glad I defied them on that. smile.gif

I think being depressed during my high school days helped my playing. Violin kept me from giving up on this world entirely, and at the same time, not really feeling up to doing anything normal (i.e. socializing, sports, studying), I ended up having a lot of time to myself, which went into practice. On top of that, violin of course is one of the best instruments in which to vent frustration and sadness, which probably helped keep me on an even keel.

A friend of mine who is chronically depressed plays violin and although his technique and his intonation aren't very polished, the music he makes will just stop you in your tracks because the emotional content in his playing is so intense. It's almost disturbing.

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