BUFFALO, N.Y.- When Leslie Bahler noticed some difficulty playing her viola last summer, it was the first sign of some difficult news.
"It turned out I had a bleed in the brain, which paralyzed my right arm and right leg," said Bahler.
Surgery wasn't an option, so came the trips to rehab.
But for this life long musician, the skills needed to heal, were those she'd spent a lifetime developing.
"I know how to practice, how to break something down to a simpler activity, get better at a smaller activity, and build on your successes," said Bahler.
As it turns out, the other thing that got her through was also a lifetime in the making.
"I found out what a terrific community Buffalo is too, I found out I am very wealthy in my friends," said Bahler.
Many of those friends were at the Community Music School in Buffalo, where she's both a teacher of stringed instruments and student of voice.
"It's been wonderful," said Bahler. "To come here and know that I wasn't singing right, and I really needed help, but not only to find people that are fine teachers, but fine people."
The school was started in 1924-- and Linda Maybry's been leading it for decades.
"Community Music School has a philosophy that anyone at any age, who has an interest in music, can benefit from study, and so we try to provide the access to people of all backgrounds," said Maybry.
Here-- that access starts at just a few months old. Kids can take music classes at as early as three months old.
The music school runs free afterschool programs that introduce older kids to music.
"In South Buffalo, in Lackawanna, we have kids who otherwise, without help, without motivation, without encouragement, would never think about starting an instrument," said Maybry.
And once they start playing-- there's no excuse not to practice.
"We have instruments that we can rent for almost nothing for people that can't afford to do that," said Maybry.
As for Bahler, she's playing again, and teaching again, and passing on what she has learned.
"And what I learned in my own rehab, I bring to my studio every day, I bring to my own lessons that I learn, and I bring to my students," asid Bahler.