Episode 022 — Meet Craig Martin, The Online Busker

Why didn't anyone ever tell me this before? Not that you're gonna go around teaching everyone to look for stroke signs, but…Well, I don't know. Why not? Why is it not part of schooling or something? -- Online Busker Click To Tweet

A few weeks ago, I was visiting the Reddit Stroke forum (r/stroke) and saw some posts from The Online Busker. I checked out his site, and thought his music was great so I invited him on the show.

Don't buy a harmonica thinking it's going to be easy. --Online Busker Click To Tweet

Craig was a professional musician and guitarist before his stroke. He made a nice living playing in the bars and restaurants of Portugal and Gran Canaria. He moved to the Spanish mainland and began teaching English in Salamanca. When his stroke happened he had to make some decisions.

I wish people who had high blood pressure would take it seriously. -- Online Busker Click To Tweet

Craig worked to relearn how to play guitar. He adopted several strategies, including the use of double-stick tape. You can see the results in this video, and you can see a whole lot more over at

I bought myself a small-bodied travel guitar, and that helped. That really really helped because I could hold it. --Online Busker Click To Tweet

During our chat, Craig also talked about one of his more popular videos with some tips for playing guitar after a stroke.You can check that out here.

If I get out of hospital I'll try to help other people who are in the same boat as me because it's not nice. --Online Busker Click To Tweet

Craig wanted to help others with his music. On his website, you can tip his virtual guitar case. Half of all the funds he raises there go to the World Stroke Organization.

Without that aim or that goal I wouldn't have practiced. I wouldn't have bothered probably. -- Online Busker Click To Tweet

One thing that has made Craig successful in recovering as many of his abilities as he has is that he set a goal of producing and publishing his performances. The public goal of doing that creates a level of commitment to others that means you HAVE to do the work. That approach drove him to practice, rehearse, and record.

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Craig, born in Manchester England suggested using cell-o-tape to tape a pen into your writing hand. It can be a great way to start writing with an affected hand.

In the US, I believe cell-o-tape would translate to Scotch tape. I imagine referring to Scotch tape in the UK would be more complicated.

This also makes the appearance of spell-o-tape in the Harry Potter novels more sensible.

I've had to make some strange inventions. --Online Busker Click To Tweet

Where do we go from here?

  • Have you tried to make art or music post-stroke or worked with someone who has? What was your experience like? Let us know in the comments below.
  • Check out Craig’s website at
  • Visit Strokecast on Facebook and “like” the page for more content, including Facebook Live videos.
  • Share this episode with someone else who finds post-stroke music fascinating. You can give them this link:
  • Don’t get best…get better.
Don't ever be scared to ask somebody for help. That's a big thing --Online Busker Click To Tweet

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