Musician adapts pieces to help friend play piano one handed after stroke

Stroke survivor Peter Ellis from Diss at his piano

Peter Ellis, from Diss, has been able to play piano thanks to his friend Peter Jones who has adapted music for those that have suffered a stroke. - Credit: Peter Ellis

A Norfolk man who has been unable to play the piano since suffering a stroke has been able to tickle the ivories once again after his friend adapted classic pieces to be played one handed.  

Peter Ellis, from Diss, enjoyed playing the musical instrument before a stroke in 2018 which saw him unable to move his left hand side.

With rehabilitation Mr Ellis, 60, has been able to regain some mobility but thought he would never be able to play again. 

His friend Peter Jones, who lives in London, wanted to help his friend and others by taking the solo violin works of Johann Sebastian Bach, and added adaptations so the pieces could be played using either the left or right hand.

Mr Ellis, who writes a blog around raising awareness of stroke recovery, said: “I was in a sorry state after my stroke – emotionally, physically and spiritually. I felt totally exposed and vulnerable and couldn’t even do regular tasks, let alone hobbies like gardening and playing the piano.

“When Peter mentioned what he was sending me, the thought of going back to play piano was amazing. I am still trying to get my single handed playing in place, it’s rather like going back to the beginning and taking lessons again.

“Playing piano again stirs up real emotions for me when I had been given no hope that I would ever be able to play again.”

Peter Jones has adapted music for stroke survivors

Peter Jones wanted to help his friend Peter Ellis after he suffered a stroke and has adapted music to be played one handed. - Credit: Peter Jones

Mr Jones is going to make the pieces available free of charge to stroke survivors.

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Mr Jones, 65, said: “I wanted to encourage people like my friend Peter, who have experienced a stroke and used to love playing piano to start playing again and I really hope it can help them in their recovery.

“The beauty of this particular Bach music is it is so complete that it can be played with one hand. It doesn’t need the other hand for harmony. I have therefore put in the notations and fingerings for the right hand, and also for the left hand in a separate book.”

The music will be available from mid-March.

You can send your details, stating which book you require (either for right or left hand) to Peter Jones at