Life changing

When Sarah plays piano her 'Twitch' disappears completely

On Saturday 5th May The National Lottery’s Lotto results were brought to you live from The Sage in Gateshead. Having received over £50 million of National Lottery funding, The Sage has established itself as an international home for music and musical discovery, bringing about a widespread and long-term enrichment of the musical life of the North East of England.

"I can overcome the challenges I've always had. I will never let my disabilities stop me doing what I love," says musician Sarah Fisher. “My disability plays a big part in the kind of musician I am today. I always describe myself as a musician with a disability.”

Sarah, 24, is originally from Bedfordshire but moved to study at Sage Gateshead (and has stayed in the region ever since). Sarah has cerebral palsy and whilst studying for her music degree at Sage Gateshead she developed an aggressive involuntary movement in her arm. Playing the piano and percussion has helped to control it. In fact, when she plays you wouldn’t even be aware of her condition. “Music has been part of my physiotherapy since I was five. While I was studying for my degree I started taking medication to reduce the stiffness caused by Cerebral Palsy. It worked but my left arm started to make involuntary movements. They were small at first but soon I couldn’t control my arm. It was really tough and I was undergoing test after test whilst trying to study. The only time it stopped was when I was playing music. It taught me that there could be a way of controlling it in my everyday life."

Sarah is also incredibly funny. Her humour, combined with her musical talent led to Sarah landing her own gig ‘Twitch’ – where she was joined by friends and special guests combining music, disability and humour – at Sage Gateshead. It was supported by Sage Gateshead in its role as a Talent Development Partner for PRS for Music Foundation and by Unlimited (celebrating the work of disabled artists).

“Humour has always been a coping mechanism for me”

“The first time I spoke about my disability and experiences in front of an audience was during my final year event and the response was amazing. People said I should do it again. I tied in my music, disability and humour. Humour has always been a coping mechanism for me. You can have a disability and laugh! It’s not a bad thing.”

She gained a first-class degree in Community Music at Sage Gateshead and has gone on to inspire young people with her infectious love for music and unique teaching style. She is so passionate about music and how her disability has shaped her as a musician that she now talks about it at conferences up and down the country.

Sarah has worked with students at Sage Gateshead and now works with people of all ages and abilities across the country. She uses body and hand gestures to teach as she sometimes struggles with her speech.

She now plans to take 'Twitch' to Liverpool and Bristol.

The Sage has been made possible thanks to National Lottery funding.

Over the last 23 years we’ve created over 5,000 millionaires and funded more than 535,000 National Lottery projects - discover more life-changing stories.

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