Sometimes I do have a good cry at the keyboard. I miss making real music. But I do think that trying play the piano has helped me a lot, in unexpected ways.
When I practice, often I don’t focus directly on finger dexterity, because it’s too frustrating. I still don’t have much sensation or proprioception in my hand and arm. So I focus on looking symmetrical while playing. I compare the angle of my right wrist to my left wrist, or left chest or the right chest, or the angle of my forearms.
Then I make tiny adjustments of position or posture, and at some point, I usually get a sudden feeling of awakening in some muscle in my right side. Usually it’s a muscle (or group of muscles) in my trunk: my shoulder, or upper back, or my chest, or my abdominal muscles. It can be a stretching feeling, or a heavy feeling, or an itchy feeling. But that feeling of my body waking up is addictive. So I try to hold on to that feeling, and make it happen again.
One day a few months ago, I was getting tired after about 15 minutes. I needed a change of pace, so I decided to really to work on arpeggios for the first time (but with my left hand--it’s too frustrating to try with my right hand at all). When I (and most people) play arpeggios, I have to lean from end one of the keyboard to the other end, and back again. So I leaned, and voila: I had that wonderful awakening feeling--in my right buttock. Now I think of arpeggios as “butt practice.”
I’m sure I could find a few reasons why regaining sensation in this part of my body is good. But the biggest is very utilitarian: any gain of sensation also helps me regain strength, and any gain of strength helps me to improve my gait. In stroke recovery, everything is connected.