This Drummer’s Response to Dystonia is Worthy of a Solo

Imagine you’re a drummer in a popular band. Every time you sit down behind your drum kit, grab your sticks and queue up the music, the rhythm just flows out of you. You close your eyes and mentally hook onto the bass notes and with each move you make, you form the backbone of the band. But then, one day, you notice three of your fingers curling into your palm. You rearrange the drum stick and continue playing, but it gets harder and harder until the profession you’ve worked toward your whole life toward is in jeopardy.

This is what happened to Daniel Schwartz, the drummer for Toronto-based band The Key Frames.

Hand crippled by symptoms of dystonia
Here is an example of how crippling dystonia can leave the hands. As a drummer, Daniel’s love of making music was greatly at jeopardy. Source: Neurosymptoms.org

The Star reports that Schwartz was self-taught, but decided it was time to take lessons, which he now believes triggered the onset of his dystonia, a rare neurological disorder that causes involuntary movements and . He discovered other musicians who had show symptoms of dystonia in various parts of their bodies.

Schwartz tried Botox treatments, acupuncture, and even helped bring a dystonia advisor to Canada from Spain, but unfortunately his suggestions were useless. Finally, at the suggestion of one of his band mates, he turned his drum kit around so that he could drum with his less dominant left hand, and work the bass drum pedal with his left foot, as his right foot had also developed dystonia.

He admits he’d prefer to go back to drumming right handed, but overall, he’s happy that his music life didn’t come to a crashing halt.


Sometimes life can throw you a curve ball and leave you quite confused on how to hit it.

Share Daniel’s story to encourage people not to strike out, rather switch hit and knock it out the park!

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