This thread is so great! I have been encouraged as well!! Really good tips from everybody. It is sad that adults, so enthusiastic, often have to set practice aside to take care of home and family. I think Anteros’ list of tips is very useful. I especially like his idea of listening on days that you can’t practice. You can fulfill your obligations and listen at the same time with a little planning. Play CDs in the car, or videos on your computer while you have to commit both hands to kitty care or housework, cooking and so on. Listening teaches the brain what to demand of you when you are playing. It’s the first teacher! If you think of music like learning a language, you can clearly see that first we listen, then we imitate. Through continually returning to the good example (whether listening to music, or a spoken language) we learn master in layers of application. This is so effective, even 2 and 3 year olds learn to speak their mother tongue this way. It isn’t until we are 5 or 6 that we are taught formally to read the language we already speak fluently.
I don’t know what your day is like, but you might find you can squeeze in 5 or 10 minutes if you find a safe place to leave your violin case open and the violin ready to just pick up and play a drill, or a scale for 5 minutes before you are off again. I leave mine open on the piano with a large silk scarf covering it to keep the dust off.
You also might benefit by thinking through some solutions about how to care for or watch over sick kitties without having to hold them, or whatever. While I don’t know your situation, I will share that I have a 16 year old poodle that is just about ready to cross over the rainbow bridge. I have to carry her all around no matter what I do at home. She is totally blind and almost completely deaf. She has a breathing problem we have been treating for a couple years. She is also wasting away, even though she still eats as she always did. This year, she fell on a slippery hardwood floor and twisted her leg. I took her to the vet right away and she seemed ok, but a month later, that muscle had atrophied and so she carries one hind leg now at all times. Since she is so old they can’t do much. Luckily she is in no pain. But I see that she has very little joy in life now. I have to feed her in a cage because I have another little dog who attacked her once when she got too close to his bowl at feeding time. I also crate her when I teach. She doesn’t like it at first, but I insist and she somehow settles and goes to sleep.
Anyway, since she is just a little 4 lb thing, I carry her around and set her down on blankets here and there, depending on what I have to do and she waits patiently. But it is literally like having a sick newborn. I guess I’m sharing so much about it because, we are just now beginning to think about planning a place for her final resting place in our yard. We will plan everything in advance, so this is a first for me. I had a big dog that had to be put down and I stayed with her during the process, but left her at the vet after. I will bring this little one home, lay her to rest, and plant a shrub that will flower in remembrance. I will also put a statue of some kind there. Haven’t decided that yet. Anyway, life so often gets in the way of what we would rather do. And often that becomes life itself. Somehow, we must find work arounds that allow us the time we deserve, because situations are rarely ideal.
Much hugs from us to you and your kitty. I hope your practice is frequent and fulfilling!