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  • #14367 Reply

    cosmusik
    Participant

    Hi Everyone,
    It has been a rough couple of weeks. We have had a sick kitty that needs cannot be left alone right now and I have been much busier with work and my schedule is very unpredictable. Despite my best efforts, I’ve hardly practiced at all. I am still in the beginning stages of relearning to read music again, so it takes effort. I am not at the stage yet where I can just pick up and play a song and my brain is tired from being pulled in so many directions all day long. I found an app to help me memorize notes but that is the best I have been able to do lately. It is a bit discouraging because I have the commitment and intention but have not had any time to practice lately. Can anyone offer some feedback about a similar experience? I fear losing my momentum. Perhaps my situation is normal? I welcome any feedback and thank you for listening. I am so glad to have this forum!

    #14382 Reply

    Anteros
    Participant

    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!

    #14385 Reply

    Gayle Maurer
    Participant

    I understand completely about life getting in the way sometimes. I hope your kitty is getting better. We have three cats and know they sometimes need your attention more than music. What I try to do is, unless it is completely impossible, practice for just 10 minutes on those days that are hectic. If you really can’t even do that, don’t worry about it! If you are like me, you are learning to play because you love music and you love the violin (or any other instrument). The main thing is not to give up altogether! You may be surprised at how much you can do in 10 minutes. Then, when things simmer down and you can practice longer, take advantage of it.

    #14389 Reply

    Dianne Adkins
    Moderator

    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!

    #14401 Reply

    cosmusik
    Participant

    Hi Anteros,

    Thank you so much for responding and providing positive constructive feedback. I agree with your instructor and I appreciate you sharing his perspective! I cannot afford private lessons but I do think that paying for lessons helps to hold one accountable. I am really feeling a lot of regret right now about having quit all those years ago but my desire to be able to just pick up the violin and play songs again is the reason I will not quit. Music has been a sustaining force in my life throughout the darkest times and I am determined to persevere. All of your points are one’s that I’ve been adapting, minus the private lessons, & my significant other is completely supportive. I appreciate you taking the time to respond and offer support!

    #14402 Reply

    cosmusik
    Participant

    Hi Gayle,

    Yes, that was my strategy until kitty got sick. I find that my brain is so tired that it can be difficult to focus on learning, even for 10 minutes sometimes, that it creates stress to try and force one more thing into a non-stop day. But my spirit suffers when I cannot find time to practice and that is the dilemma. So, I am taking one day at a time right now and keep my daily practice time on my calendar even if I have to delete it again because I choose to keep a positive intention.

    #14403 Reply

    cosmusik
    Participant

    Hi Dianne,

    My heart goes out to you and I cannot thank you enough for sharing, it is just what I needed to hear! Being able to share & receive feedback is extremely helpful and I feel better knowing that I am not alone in my challenges and knowing that I can use this forum for support is invaluable to me. I applaud your efforts and commitment to care for your little one and help her through the challenges of her senior years. I know how very difficult it can be and letting go is never easy so I wish you all the best during the time of transition. Hugs to you and your poodle and I’m sure she will hear your music over the Rainbow Bridge!

    #14450 Reply

    rrachael912
    Participant

    Definitely not alone! I havent picked up my instrument in months …almost a yr? I have 3 girls and a part time so I’m always busy but lately I’ve been inspired to go dig it out.

    #14509 Reply

    Pphantom538
    Participant

    Great topic. I try to always remember that it’s not how many times I couldn’t practice due to family obligations, it’s how often I figured out a way to make the time to practice.

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