Man born without elbows learns to play piano

A man has defied the odds by becoming an incredible piano player despite being born without any elbows.

Bart Gee, 34, was born with arthrogryposis, a rare physical disability which weakens muscles and stiffens joints.

Doctors told his parents he would never be able to walk, sit up independently and would have a bleak outlook to life.

But despite being unable to bend his legs, arms or fingers, Gee defied the odds by taking his first steps age 3.

A young Bart Gee learning to play the piano. Bart was born with a rare physical disability called Arthrogryposis which means that he has weak muscles and stiff joints. At the age of 5, Bart wanted to learn how to play the piano. Chippenham, Wiltshire. See SWNS story SWPIANO; A man has defied all the odds by learning to play piano - despite being born without any ELBOWS. Bart Gee, 34, was born with arthrogryposis, a rare physical disability which weakens muscles and stiffens joints. Doctors told his parents he would never be able to walk, sit up independently and would have a bleak outlook to life. But despite being unable to bend his legs, arms of fingers, Bart defied the odds by taking his first steps aged three.

He learned to play the piano in school and immediately fell in love with it.  (SWNS)

His love of music took off when a teacher strapped sticks to his arms so he could play glockenspiel.

The budding musician developed a flare for the piano at age 5, and he his now a beautiful pianist who plays keyboard during his local church services.

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“I started learning on a glockenspiel," Gee, from Chippenham, Wiltshire, said. "The teacher would strap the beater against my wrists and I would hit the keys."

“I learnt a few keys. But my piano teacher was playing along in the background felt really inspired and wanted to have a go," he said. “I remember turning to her at the end and asked if I could copy her - I knew I wanted to play piano. I just really enjoyed it."

“As a kid I would come home and practice every night after dinner,
 Gee said. “We had a piano in the family home and I wanted to play the church organ like my father.”

Gee’s enthusiasm paved the way for an award at age 8, and passed his grade 5 by age 11.

Bart Gee pictured as a baby. Bart was born with a rare physical disability called Arthrogryposis which means that he has weak muscles and stiff joints. At the age of 5, Bart wanted to learn how to play the piano. Chippenham, Wiltshire. See SWNS story SWPIANO; A man has defied all the odds by learning to play piano - despite being born without any ELBOWS. Bart Gee, 34, was born with arthrogryposis, a rare physical disability which weakens muscles and stiffens joints. Doctors told his parents he would never be able to walk, sit up independently and would have a bleak outlook to life. But despite being unable to bend his legs, arms of fingers, Bart defied the odds by taking his first steps aged three.

Despite doctors' predictions, Gee has learned how to drive, play several instruments and even completed a 5K swim.  (SWNS)

“I’ve always seen playing the piano as a challenge," Gee said. “My favorite thing to play is ‘His Eye Is On The Sparrow’ from Sister Act 2."

“I play most days on my Samsung G8," he said. "It depends on my mood because sometimes I can play for almost an hour but other times it can be a few minutes. It’s funny when I actually play I think of my hands looking different to what they probably look like."

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Gee plays regularly at his local church in Malmesbury, Wiltshire. He also plays bass guitar and uses an electric drum kit.

He also recently completed a Marie Curie 5k swim last year which he did in 5 hours and 30 minutes.

But his achievements have also run alongside the struggle of living with arthrogryposis, a disability which affects 1 in 3,000 people.

Bart was also born with a 30 degree bend in his left knee and a 80 degree bend in his right knee. He also suffered severe arthritis which eventually had to be operated on.

Pianist Bart Gee. Bart was born with a rare physical disability called Arthrogryposis which means that he has weak muscles and stiff joints. At the age of 5, Bart wanted to learn how to play the piano. Chippenham, Wiltshire. See SWNS story SWPIANO; A man has defied all the odds by learning to play piano - despite being born without any ELBOWS. Bart Gee, 34, was born with arthrogryposis, a rare physical disability which weakens muscles and stiffens joints. Doctors told his parents he would never be able to walk, sit up independently and would have a bleak outlook to life. But despite being unable to bend his legs, arms of fingers, Bart defied the odds by taking his first steps aged three.

Gee, who was bullied as a child, now performs at his regular church services.  (SWNS)

Growing up Gee found it particularly hard at school as he was often bullied.

“School was pretty tough. My parents put me in an ordinary secondary school so I would have as ordinary a school experience as possible which was good, but it had its downsides," he said. “There was name-calling and the other pupils would spit at me."

“But the worst thing was when the bullies would push me down to the floor knowing I wouldn’t be able to get up without help," he said. “Outside of school I would struggle with stares I would get in the street."

“Kids would shout ‘why is he walking like a penguin?’ I know they are only kids and don’t know any better but it was still hurtful," Gee said. “Growing up I’ve just got used to the stares so it doesn’t bother me as much."

“I’ve defied what doctors thought my life would be - someone who would be wheelchair bound and unable to walk,” Gee said.

Gee drives a Citroen C4 Grand Picasso to zip around the UK as part of his job as a motivational speaker.

He delivers hour-long talks to schools, organizations and even prisons about physical limitations.

“I enjoy being independent, which has been against the odds. For me difficult means possible," he said. "Hard means possible. Challenging means possible.”