I started playing about 6 months ago as a hobby. It’s one that I really enjoy; but a hobby nonetheless. I have a demanding full time job, a family and a home to take care of. I find that when one of my main responsibilities starts to get really busy or something else pops up, the hobbies are the first thing that tend to fall out as they are optional items in our lives. Therefore, you’re definitely not alone. It’s funny, my violin teacher made a comment on this when I said I had a rough week due to kids being sick and work going crazy at the same time. He said, “I have kids who have a lot of free time but don’t want to practice and adults who would love to practice but have no free time. When holidays come, the kids say ‘Yes! I get to have a break’ and the adults say ‘Yes! I get more time to play.'”
Obviously he was exaggerating a little bit as a joke but the point still stands. Those of us with responsibilities have to fit our hobby around them. Here’s a few things that I do to keep things flowing when life gets in the way:
1. I still try and listen some some violin/fiddle music that I enjoy or watch tutorial videos on Youtube to help keep the momentum. I especially like to watch tunes that I really want to learn but don’t have the ability yet to learn.
2. Rather than push practice when I’m too tired, I’ll take the day off and try to come back more focused the next day. If I just can’t fit the time in, I’ll play for 5-10 minutes or so doing one octave scales.
3. I have weekly lessons that I pay for. They help keep me accountable.
4. Joining a forum (like this one) and joining Facebook groups that have others at similar levels help as well.
5. I’m really lucky that I have a supportive wife. I’m not sure if you have a significant other or not but if so, helping them get the time to do their hobby is a great way to get them to help you get time to do yours.
Playing violin (or any musical instrument) is something that is a big time commitment. Luckily it’s something that can be measured in years and not just weeks, days or hours. You have to put the time in but you can also play the long game. Therefore, don’t allow yourself to be too negative if you miss a day, a week or even a month. Absolutely do not get to the point where you start saying “I’ll never find the time. It’s just as well as I give up”. Just come back focused and hopefully as you start playing, you quickly realize what you’re missing.
Good luck and enjoy!