Connor Derraugh 'A Musical Recovery'
I'm Connor Derraugh and I've always loved music.
When I was 13, I wrote a piano piece for Jazz legend Oscar Peterson. When I performed it at his tribute concert, I got a standing ovation and knew that music was my calling. Music came easy to me, but that soon changed.
When I was 15, something went horribly wrong during routine nasal surgery and bone fragments shot into my left frontal lobe causing a brain hemorrhage. I spent a week in Intensive care and a month in Children’s Hospital recovering.
Learning to Walk
Initially paralyzed on my right side, I had to re-learn how to do things I once took for granted like feeding myself and walking.
My recovery started with physiotherapy. I had to do tons of specific exercises to rebuild my right side.
I was devastated when I discovered that my right hand couldn’t even make a sound on the piano. I knew I had a long way to go.
Back on the Keys
Saxophone great Walle Larsson knew that the hand position on the sax would make it easier for me to play. Walle taught me a technique that relied more on reflexes than finger strength. I was playing music with both hands again!
The piano was awesome therapy too. To reconnect the neural pathways to my right hand, I'd play games on my iPad with my left while playing the piano with my right. If I didn’t, my strong left hand would do all the work
3 Years Post Injury
I was accepted into the University of Manitoba Jazz Studies program. Music healed me in so many ways - it gave me comfort and a reason to work hard!
Without music I’d only be about a quarter of the way back to where I am.
Music is my life. The sky's the limit now.