Adults with Jobs, Spouses, and Kids - How do you find time to advance

Guran

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I know I replied to thread like this about 10 or 12 years ago. I was then in the first half of my forties, with two small kids and the main caretaker of the regular household duties. My reply was "Do you watch TV?". I think a lot of people spend that hour they need for hobbies in front of the TV instead.

I did not have much of a problem to find like an hour's worth of time to pratice guitar, singing or tinker with guitars/amps, but then I rarely watched TV.

I also sang the kids to sleep, and I used that to work on aspects of my singing.
 

PoorNoodle

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For me it’s important to have easy access to my instruments. I would suggest to always have at least one guitar “available” in a central area, for example on the wall or on a stand in the living room. This makes it much easier to start a practice session. I also accept to play my electrics unplugged. Playing “quietly” usually means softly which has a way of facilitating speed and good technique.

And when the wife and kids are out I crank my tube amps and enjoy a glorious wall of sound!
 

buster poser

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I know I replied to thread like this about 10 or 12 years ago. I was then in the first half of my forties, with two small kids and the main caretaker of the regular household duties. My reply was "Do you watch TV?". I think a lot of people spend that hour they need for hobbies in front of the TV instead.

I did not have much of a problem to find like an hour's worth of time to pratice guitar, singing or tinker with guitars/amps, but then I rarely watched TV.

I also sang the kids to sleep, and I used that to work on aspects of my singing.
Came here to post "how much TV do you watch." No kids here, and I do watch TV, but I get in an hour+ after work and usually a few minutes in the morning.
 

Bob Womack

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Life is made up of "seasons" and they come and go. There are seasons when it will be had to have time and energy to grow musically and others where it is easy. When we are in our early twenties and single, we have control over our time. When we marry and have kids, responsibilities ramp up. There are a couple of times during that cycle where we will be time-challenged:
1. When the kids are infants. Expect to share kid duties and expect to loose sleep and you won't be surprised. I lived on four to five hours of sleep for about five years. You won't have a lot of time to develop your skills. Exchange TV time for playing. Don't play if it is nothing but a chore. Learn to do it in snatches.
2. Just before your oldest gets his/her driver's license. They want/need to go everywhere and YOU are the chauffeur. When the first child gets a license, your hours dramatically drop.

After the kids are out of the house there will come seasons when its just you and the dogs and you are back to being nearly single. Embrace the seasons and you will be a much happier person.

Bob
 

BrettFuzz

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What is that "advance" you speak of?
Been playing the same riffs since 2004.
 

11 Gauge

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how much TV do you watch?

i'm not a parent, but i've seen my own parents waste at least two or three hours on it every day after dinner for the last 30 something years. TV on and sitting on the couch or in bed from 8-ish to 11. that's like 15-20 hours a week, practically a part time job's worth. i don't even think they are really aware of how much time they blow on it.

if you count your time put in and it's considerable, then cut it out of your life, save for a favorite show or movie night whatever. it's not worth it.
My wife and I really didn't watch all that much TV until our daughter got to be a bit older. When she was really young, most of the TV programs were all for her. When she went to bed, the TV was turned off.

As my daughter got a little bit older, I can still remember a good bit of the time it being her watching DVDs on the TV.

Anyway, in retrospect, I think part of what saved my wife and I was luck. We had no decent cable providers in our neighborhood, didn't care that much for the bulk of what came on the handful of broadcast channels, and the dish-based DirecTV that we ended up getting when it was offered in the early 00's was a bit of an unreliable joke. I think we had like 2 or 3 premium channels.

...I can't even remember now when Netflix started doing the mailed DVD thing, but that was probably the only potential way that my wife and I could have been excessive with our TV watching. Oftentimes, the disks would sit around for a long time before we even watched them, so I'm glad they didn't have late fees (unless they did, and I'm not remembering things correctly). To this day, there's still a bunch of movies from the time that my daughter was young that I somehow missed.

Having said all of the above, I can see how none of that applies any longer. Anyway, my daughter is now in her twenties and my wife and I are mostly empty nesters, and my wife loves watching TV at night, after the conclusion of her workday, which typically doesn't end until 7 or 8 pm. We've now got both cable and a bunch of streaming options, and I'll admit that I spend more time watching TV now than I did when my daughter was younger, but I just can't be glued to the thing, oftentimes.

And aside from the TV, I'm not glued to my smart phone, either (probably use it for well less than an hour on any given day). I think the phone is the current biggest time suck, by far, for many people.
 

Guran

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And aside from the TV, I'm not glued to my smart phone, either (probably use it for well less than an hour on any given day). I think the phone is the current biggest time suck, by far, for many people.
You're probably right. I didn't even think about it as I don't use it for entertainment. Today the TV question should probably be phrased "are you on Facebook?".
 

SRHmusic

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How about playing at lunchtime?

I had an office job with long hours while my kids were very young. For a about a year I took a guitar to work, ate a quick lunch at my desk, then played for another 20 or 30 minutes. (Not every day, but a few times a week.) I was working on classical guitar at the time. Two other guys thought that was cool and we had a lunch time, conference room, classical trio going for a little while!
 

Strat Jacket

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A couple other things; when the kids were young and living at home, my '65 Strat stayed in the case, in the closet. Out of sight, out of mind for the kids' (and guitar's) sake! Since we are empty nesters, there are now at least 3 guitars out on stands at all times in my den. This means if I go in there for something totally different, I'm called to grab one and noodle, if nothing else. Even a few minutes helps. There were times in the old days when the Strat didn't come out of the closet and case for over a year. Out of sight out of mind works both ways...
Also, silly as it sounds, a new guitar can kick start your playing. Different sound, feel and looks even if it's basically the same thing. My playing has jumped up a level every time I get new axe. A Tele is not the same as a Strat and it brings different tunes, different artists and different music to the forefront which is a boost in itself.
 

Charlie Bernstein

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In general, you don't. Successful, groundbreaking artists put their art first. They are what they do. For them, it's not a trade-off. All they can do is do what they do.
 

Charlie Bernstein

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. . . So I don’t know, what do people do to carve out time for an effective practice routine?
For most of us, it's a trade-off. I thought when I retired I'd have more time to make music. And I do, a little, but not nearly enough.

Successful, groundbreaking artists put their art first. They are what they do. For them, it's not a trade-off. Family and other responsibilities take a backseat or aren't there at all.

All they can do is do what they do.
 

Califiddler

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I played in gigging bands pretty much the whole time that we were raising our children, and ran my own business at the same time. I don't know where I found the time. Mrs. Califiddler took more of the laboring oar with the child-rearing, so that helped. Most of my practice in those years consisted of learning material for the bands.
 

bendercaster

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You're doing the right thing now. Enjoy the time with your young kids and the quality time with your wife. You'll miss it later, when your life gets even busier with older kids who have sports and band concerts, etc.

That being said, it is important to have hobbies, especially as you get older. When I was in your position, I tried to integrate as much of my interests into the time I spent with the kids--I got guitars and other instruments for them and we spent time "playing" together, which really meant I was playing and practicing and they were making noise, but it was fun. My 4 year old son even wrote a few songs during that time.

I would also play guitar and sing for the kids before bed time. When I worked from home, I would use my lunch hour or coffee break time to play guitar. It may not all add up to as much time as you want, but it's better than nothing.
 

Trenchant63

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Possibly a sensitive subject for some, I don’t know. Long story short, I fit the profile in the thread title, and I am very involved in household upkeep, cooking, and child care. I’m honestly kind of flummoxed at how so many people I know find the time to indulge their hobbies, but I suspect that they don’t take on as much as I do. I think I’ve settled into a good suite of material to stick with for a while that combines fretboard learning, theory, and repertoire effectively (Frank Vignola’s Modern Method/Inversion Excursion from Truefire, Tim Lerch’s Truefire Channel, Martin Taylor’s Artistworks page), but I just have a hard time finding time to really practice effectively. I’d like to get at least an hour a day in, not necessarily all at once, but I’m usually lucky to get fifteen minutes, in which case I just work on a tune. So I’m basically treading water but I know I can be better. I’ve tried waking up early to practice with headphones but my wife is a light sleeper and can’t get back to sleep if my alarm/getting out of bed wakes her. In the evening I’m basically on daddy duty and then when the kiddo is in bed my wife wants her quality time, which I understand.

So I don’t know, what do people do to carve out time for an effective practice routine?
All you can do set realistic expectations according to your priorities. Don’t beat yourself up and enjoy your time. We both worked and juggled all kinds of priorities with kids but I also knew at that point guitar was never going to be a career so at times I didn’t touch the guitar for a week or two and stopped stressing about that. But I never lost my skills and always came back to it. I still play about an hour+ a day and occasional gigs and having fun.
 

sammy123

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For me, I just have to make time after everyone goes to bed. So usually about 9pm. My wife usually goes to bed right after my 2 year old. I work from home 3 days a week so I can sometimes get some playing in during my lunch as well. I am lucky that I can play pretty loud in the basement too at all hours of the night. You just have to find the time I guess.
 

Fiesta Red

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I kinda quit trying to “grow” and instead became better at playing to my strengths…

And ironically, when I did that, I started “growing” as a musician.

It’s weird how things work out that way.
 

Cosmic Cowboy

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When do you have time to exercize? to take your family on vacation? To work on home improvements?

pretty simple. If its a priority to you, you make time.
 

johnnyASAT

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Well the responses in this thread have inspired me to play less guitar and nut up and get my masters. Afterwards hopefully I can buy more teles.
 




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