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Other commitments keep you from practicing? What to do?

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(@sullivandf)
Estimable Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 66
Topic starter  

I was reading a thread started by SteveS earlier about setting goals for 2005 and it got me thinking about all of the other folks out there who are addicted to the pursuit of becoming a better guitar player but are probably in the same boat as me....

I'm old for a newbie (mid 30s) and have a young family (2 kids under the age of 3). I often don't have much time to practice. Like SteveS, it's usually late before I can sit down with my guitar and by then I'm too tired to be very productive. I've given up all of my other hobbies (no golf this summer) but there still doesn't seem to be time. The problem is that I'm addicted! If I'm not playing, I'm listening to new guitarists I've discovered, watching concert DVDs, reading the latest Guitar Player or Guitar World or browsing guitarnoise.com! Part of me says get over it because it'll be years before I have time to actually dedicate to practice. But the other part of me says just do the best you can and see what happens.

Anybody out there in the same boat as me? How do you deal? Any suggestions?

(Sorry for the long post but I had to get it off my chest.)


   
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 geoo
(@geoo)
Famed Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 2801
 

Similar. I am mid thirties, two kids 11 and 7.. but for me it is a rarity for something to interfere with playing. Even when my boys were young it wasnt too bad because (Well there was just one of them at the time) he liked listening to me play. I do alot of my reading, theory, etc stuff while I am sitting at work (If there is nothing going on) but when I am at home I just play. Some times its not a strick lesson type thing that I am practicing but I figure as long as my finger are moving then I should be getting better.

Geoo

“The hardest thing in life is to know which bridge to cross and which to burn” - David Russell (Scottish classical Guitarist. b.1942)


   
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(@musenfreund)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 22 years ago
Posts: 5108
 

I'm 49, children are 11 and 8. I manage to make time -- usually by rising an hour earlier than I need to to play in the morning and then I manage an hour in the evening as well. (And I sneak it in a lot on the weekends!). Lately a group of us have an informal band going and we set aside two hours on Sunday evenings for rehearsals. That's my tale anyway.

Well we all shine on--like the moon and the stars and the sun.
-- John Lennon


   
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(@undercat)
Prominent Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 959
 

What I find is that I end up throwing away tiny chunks of time here and there. I found when I started cutting out those few minutes of TV here and there, and really thinking about exactly what extra time I had, I could always fit something in.

Really, even if I'm having a busy evening and work a 12 hour day, generally, I can do it. Truly my biggest obstacle is my own excuses. If I start saying "well, I only have 20 mintues, I'll just listen to a few songs..." Well, that's 20 minutes of guitar practice right there.

Do something you love and you'll never work a day in your life...


   
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(@racer-y)
Estimable Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 114
 

Hi. I'm 39 and got two kids too one 14 and the other 12.....
I manage to practice 2 hours a day every day...well I skip about two days a month. Anyways what i'm wondering now is since i'm not in a band,
nor do I plan to get in one, is it really practice or just a noisy hobby?

I'm not the sharpest tool in the shed, but when
you're a 22lb sledge, do you really have to be?


   
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(@kingpatzer)
Noble Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 2171
 

40-something, 4 kids 12, 8, 6, 4, 2 dogs, full time job, lessons I take and lessons I give, etc. etc. etc.

Here's some ideas:

1) trow away your tv
2) get up earlier and play for a half hour before work
3) keep a guitar on a stand by wherever it is you normally sit down to "take a load off" and just get in the habit of having it in your hands whenever you're not doing something else
4) You must SCHEDULE time to practice.
5) decide how important playing the guitar is to you, and whever practice conflicts with something less important, practice takes priority

"The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side." -- HST


   
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(@rsadler)
Reputable Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 210
 

42 with two kids, 5 and 2. I work 12 hour days, with an hour commute each way. I stay tired and I can understand your situation all too well. I work shiftwork, and usually don't get alot of time to practice until my off days. I sometimes get so discouraged because I think about guitar in some sort most all day if I'm away from home. When things are slow at work, I at least try to read some material on theory and such. I'm gonna hang in there, because doing something is better than doing nothing until I think I have more time anyway.


   
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 vink
(@vink)
Prominent Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 722
 

Anybody out there in the same boat as me? How do you deal? Any suggestions?

I've got similar issues: two kids (4 and 9), dog, job, chores ...

One thing that helped is to have the guitar on a stand in my family room/kitchen area. Makes the "barrier to entry" lot easier -- I can just pick up and play. But it is still a lot easier for me to "play" rather than practice with my metronome or while looking at something written down (like going through a whole song with all the chords).

I've been taking some group classes, and that helps too, because I know I need to practice this weeks stuff this week, because there's more stuff coming next week..

Now I got an electric, and practicing with it is harder. First of all, I've got to get it all hooked up, and secondly, I make too much noise to do this in the family room all the time, and if I want to move around, I have to lug the amp around..I've got to figure my way around this. I'm thinking maybe use headphones while there are other people doing stuff in the family room.

--vink
"Life is either an adventure or nothing" -- Helen Keller


   
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(@banre)
Reputable Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 414
 

I'm in this situation too. I'll be 30 in a couple of weeks. Five kids (two steps), one of whom is just four months old. I picked up an acoustic in January for the first time in years.

I keep the guitars on stands in the living room. I'll be cooking supper and will pick it up for five or ten minutes while the spagetti is simmering. I'll try to play a little while the kids watch some useless Disney show or another.

I need to try the mornings thing. I get up before everyone already, so that might fit my schedule perfectly!

Unseen Evidence
UE Reverb Nation Page


   
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(@aaronj)
Eminent Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 32
 

Weird...I was just getting flustered about the lack of practice time I have now. We just had a baby 3 weeks ago (our first) and I have had some trouble finding the time to play/practice.

Nice topic, glad to hear I'm not alone in this whole thing.

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AJLCOM


   
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(@cmoewes)
Estimable Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 111
 

40-something, 4 kids 12, 8, 6, 4, 2 dogs, full time job, lessons I take and lessons I give, etc. etc. etc.

4) You must SCHEDULE time to practice.

I think this is the most important thing to do. I've been playing (read as noodling) for a year or so and I recent started taking lessons. I told my wife that I needed to practice at least 30 minutes a day and that I was going to do it from 7-7:30 every night (no kids helps). And having that time scheduled she doesn't plan things to do, and if she does, she knows to plan them ahead of time so I can accomodate my schedule.


   
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(@tim_madsen)
Prominent Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 724
 

I'm listening to new guitarists I've discovered, watching concert DVDs, reading the latest Guitar Player or Guitar World or browsing guitarnoise.com!

Cut out or reduce these things and you will have more time to practice.
If I had to make a choice between any of those and practicing I'd choose practicing. Finding time is usually a matter of priorities.

Tim Madsen
Nobody cares how much you know,
until they know how much you care.

"What you keep to yourself you lose, what you give away you keep forever." -Axel Munthe


   
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(@crank-n-jam)
Noble Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 1206
 

Ah yes, the lack of practice time. I know this all to well lately. I started playing last September. I practiced for hours each day. Then spring came around and softball and sand volleyball started. So I lose two evenings right there. I also have two kids (12 and 9) and with the nice weather spend more time outdoors with them. Then we move into a new house in June and I suddenly have all sorts of things to do with it. I'm also in the process of trying to get two side businesses up and running, which places me at my computer for hours. I also work full-time. Mix in a little social life and I've found myself with very little time to practice.

Lately it was really bothering me, so I just started taking time away from other, less important things. While everyone is watching some TV show or whatever, I'll sneak off to the family room, plug in, put some headphones on, and practice for an hour. On the occasion when I have the house all to myself, I crank up the Deluxe Reverb and annoy the neighbors for awhile. :D

I guess my point is that you can work time in by giving less time to other things like TV or other such activities. If you really analyze your time, you'll probably see that you 'waste' time someplace. Put that 'wasted' time towards playing.

"Rock And Roll Ain't Noise Pollution"


   
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(@bluezoldy)
Reputable Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 329
 

I think the two biggest thieves of our home time are the TV and the PC.

Many of us would be surprised if we added up the time spent on these two things each week.

♪♫ Ron ♪♫

http://www.myspace.com/bluemountainsblues


   
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(@steves)
Estimable Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 212
 

Since I sort of started all this, I thought I'd add my story and viewpoint. I'm 45, kids are 10 and 12 and active in sports - lot's of weeknights not getting home until 9:30 at night. In addition, I have another pursuit (some would say obsession) that takes some time and dedication - I didn't, I couldn't give up the golf. I did pretty much give up the TV, except for 24 and Washington Nationals games. Don't miss it a bit.

I find that I go through periods where I've got the time and focus to sit down and play for an hour a night. These periods can last days or weeks. There are other times (in that phase right now) where I'm not sure when my next extended time with the guitar will be. During those times, I make it a point to pick the guitar up every single day and at least strum my way through a song. The continuity is important to.

The thing that keeps me going is the realization that at my age, I realize it's a marathon, not a sprint. Yes, I want to get better faster, but I also know that I'm going to spend the rest of my life playing and I will get better over time.

Steve


   
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