MOMENTS OF VICTORY® – Geoffrey Armes on the Power of Music and Exercise

Geoffrey and Grace Armes

Each month, we spotlight Moments of Victory® from people in our community. Today, we are happy to feature Geoffrey Armes from Berlin, Germany.

briefly describe your journey since diagnosis  

I am a professional musician. I was diagnosed in August 2020, although I’d been experiencing symptoms for a few years prior, possibly as far back as my stroke in 2015. At some point I found that I couldn’t play my own music (I just hadn’t practiced, surely!), and riding the bike became noticeably more difficult (I was training wrong and getting older; no big deal, right? A sudden significant drop in form was normal, no? Train harder. Harden up. Don’t be comfortable. Work.).

Playing instruments became close to impossible as I lost control over very specific movements and capabilities born of and created by long hours of practice over many years.

By the time I needed to act, covid was a real issue in Berlin, a definite contributor to my hesitancy to get going. Eventually, after some observation of my movement, the mother of one of my students, a neurologist, packed me off to a practice that knew what it was doing. That practice, in turn, packed me off on a summer at various locations for appointments, tests, examinations, and scans.

So there I was, riding around on my green bike like I owned the road and all my fitness thereof, fast and furious to every appointment like I was a fit cat, a cat who didn’t really need to be visiting doctors with scanning machines and the like.

If I rode fast enough I’d beat them all into second place.

By August clearly it wasn’t to be, but relief in diagnosis was. I was validated. I wasn’t a whiner, I wasn’t fussing about unnecessary details or seeking to endorse some unknown laziness. I had — have — a real problem. On offer were solutions that I greedily took. To date, drugs and physiotherapy. A few months later, on a rainy day on a cold corner my physio told me, “You have two superheroes on your side. The first is the drugs you take, the second is your will to exercise.”

How do you live well each day?

I still ride the bike 100k weekly, even when it hurts and feels awkward. And I have been practicing daily, moving between piano and the guitars with the occasional visit to the percussion stand. I am painting and drawing. I have created a lot of music, but more on that another time.

what do you wish you had known when you were diagnosed with parkinson’s

That I would rediscover painting (see picture below).

What do you wish everyone living with Parkinson’s knew about living well?

It’s possible.


Each month, we spotlight people from our Parkinson’s community who embody living well today – what we call Moments of Victory®. Your story, like Geoffrey’s, could be featured on our blog and Facebook page so others can learn from your experiences and victories.  

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