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Practicing when you have young kids- need support!


tuttischwein70
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Hi, everyone

I was a passionate amateur violinist until I had my three children, ages 5,3, and 15 mths, and I really want to start

practicing and playing again. But when they are awake, they are either making demands when I try and play

(want juice! need help! J. hit me! Mom come see!) or getting into trouble (the other day my daughter left the front door partly

open and my 3 yr old let himself out- naked - with the baby following.)

Anyone have any support/advice/words of encouragement? Usually at night when they are sleeping I am too tired,

and I hate just putting TV on for them, it feels neglectful.

Anybody else in the same boat? How do you ever concentrate and take the time you need?

Thanks!

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Hi, everyone

I was a passionate amateur violinist until I had my three children, ages 5,3, and 15 mths, and I really want to start

practicing and playing again. But when they are awake, they are either making demands when I try and play

(want juice! need help! J. hit me! Mom come see!) or getting into trouble (the other day my daughter left the front door partly

open and my 3 yr old let himself out- naked - with the baby following.)

Anyone have any support/advice/words of encouragement? Usually at night when they are sleeping I am too tired,

and I hate just putting TV on for them, it feels neglectful.

Anybody else in the same boat? How do you ever concentrate and take the time you need?

Thanks!

SOme possibilities might be: Getting a sitter, practicing during naps, wait until they are going to (pre)school.

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I'm never able to play a lick with little kids around. Inevitably they either want to play too, or resent the fact that they're not the center of attention, so they raise enough fuss to resolve that issue in their favor.

This is one of the reasons that great artists tend to be totally self-centered; it's the only way they can devote the necessary time to their art. Got kids? Forget the solo career, or look into boarding schools, nannies or totally subservient spouses, who will gladly give up their hope for a real life to promote your career.

But hey, you've only got 4 more years before school snags them all. Enjoy them while (and if) you can, because it only gets busier. Then when they hit the teens, life is over again. Plan accordingly.

Personally I like kids, but I've never been able to finish a whole one by myself.

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Hi, everyone

I was a passionate amateur violinist until I had my three children, ages 5,3, and 15 mths, and I really want to start

practicing and playing again. But when they are awake, they are either making demands when I try and play

(want juice! need help! J. hit me! Mom come see!) or getting into trouble (the other day my daughter left the front door partly

open and my 3 yr old let himself out- naked - with the baby following.)

Anyone have any support/advice/words of encouragement? Usually at night when they are sleeping I am too tired,

and I hate just putting TV on for them, it feels neglectful.

Anybody else in the same boat? How do you ever concentrate and take the time you need?

Thanks!

++++++++++++++++++

Play your violin in the parks and in your backyard while they play their games or they are in child-safe places.

You will get used to it.

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++++++++++++++++++

Play your violin in the parks and in your backyard while they play their games or they are in child-safe places.

You will get used to it.

Maybe. In my experience, the real problem isn't finding the time or place--it is simple concentration. They are never out of your thoughts, not even while you dream.

My kids were (are) similarly spaced, and I pretty much quit for four years until they were old enough to occupy themselves with games, books, and play either at home or at rehearsals, weddings, and concerts.

As for TV--yeah, I remember the time we interrupted their play after a long rehearsal. They had the Barbie limo all loaded up: "...and now we dump her body into the swamp..." They had been watching Psycho (Saturday morning programming?!) and were reenacting it with Barbie & Ken! :)

Now they are all out of the house, and I still haven't fully regained my concentration!

Good luck, tuttischwein70.

J.

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and I hate just putting TV on for them, it feels neglectful.

Anybody else in the same boat? How do you ever concentrate and take the time you need?

Thanks!

If you really want to change things you will have to change your attitude, basically you need to be a just a bit more hard-hearted and hard-headed. You've set a pattern where they know you can always be interrupted, that you will put their wants first, no matter how trivial. Unless you call a halt they are going to carry on this way. If you let them control you, they will. You have to stop rewarding them with your attention. No need to go over the top with this, you can let them know quite subtly that you are not pleased to be interrupted with trivialities.

Your feeling that it is neglectful to let them watch TV isn't about TV, it's about you. It says good things about you, how much you care, but you are getting it out of proportion. Relax!

I spent a fair bit of time looking after my kids when they were the same age as yours. I was studying at university, and as always I spent an hour or so playing music most days. I made sure I made room for things I wanted to do, and let the kids do what they wanted, and if that was watching rubbish on tv, fine! I like watching rubbish on tv sometimes, it's part of our so-called culture.

I was talking to my 25 year-old son about precisely this issue the other day, he was quite happy about the way he was brought up!

Having said all this, when you say you need support I rather suspect you really just want to have a little moan about things and carry on as you are!

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If you really want to change things you will have to change your attitude, basically you need to be a just a bit more hard-hearted and hard-headed. You've set a pattern where they know you can always be interrupted, that you will put their wants first, no matter how trivial. Unless you call a halt they are going to carry on this way. If you let them control you, they will. You have to stop rewarding them with your attention. No need to go over the top with this, you can let them know quite subtly that you are not pleased to be interrupted with trivialities.

Your feeling that it is neglectful to let them watch TV isn't about TV, it's about you. It says good things about you, how much you care, but you are getting it out of proportion. Relax!

I spent a fair bit of time looking after my kids when they were the same age as yours. I was studying at university, and as always I spent an hour or so playing music most days. I made sure I made room for things I wanted to do, and let the kids do what they wanted, and if that was watching rubbish on tv, fine! I like watching rubbish on tv sometimes, it's part of our so-called culture.

I was talking to my 25 year-old son about precisely this issue the other day, he was quite happy about the way he was brought up!

Having said all this, when you say you need support I rather suspect you really just want to have a little moan about things and carry on as you are!

+++++++++++++++

Children's safety is important, other things, believe me, means absolutely nothing.

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Hi Marie, long time no see. At least I haven't been on Maestronet in a long time.

My grandvhildren are always around; ages 8, 6, 4, and a toddler of 14 months. I give them toy instruments of their own to play. They dance and have a ball while I practice. It works well with the livelier music and not so bad with the slower stuff.

BTW: I was at two music festivals this summer with my friend John (same last anme as yours). If you recall I once asked you if you were his daughter Marie.

Cheers !

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I have been in much the same situation as you. My older son had extremely sensitive ears, and I discovered to my great horror that playing the violin in the house when he was a newborn would have him shrieking in pain almost immediately (and no, I'm not that bad). Playing with a practice mute helped damp the overtones that I think were setting him off, but it was such an unrewarding experience that I found myself playing less and less often, each time getting more frustrated that I no longer had the dexterity in my hands that I previously had. Of course, with a young child, I also resigned from my orchestra and pick-up quartet because my wife and I pretty much had to cover him 24/7 (as well as hold down 60+ hour/week jobs).

That period of time lasted longer than I had hoped, mostly because of the addition of another member of the family about a year and a half later. I found myself easily (and sadly) slipping into the ranks of the "ex-musician" and barely touching my instrument for about 2-3 years.

And then, last year, when my sons were 4 and 6 and no longer a constant menace to themselves, I finally tried to give things one last shot. I basically reserved 30 minutes a day (not more, but also not less) for "Daddy time," during which time I was not to be disturbed. And I started slowly digging back into the violin. It certainly wasn't easy at first--this was usually later at night, when I'm normally pretty tired--and my hands were in pretty rough shape. However, by virtue of building a ritual out of this, things became easier quite quickly. I also found that playing the violin helped wake me up, much like a comfortable (but not ferocious) gym workout. I had no trouble falling asleep as soon as I got into bed, but I still had more energy at night.

As an added bonus, for the first time, my boys began to understand the relationship between practicing and improving. They also found that violin music was, well, not awful. :-) It's still quite distracting to have one of them walk in while I'm practicing, but they've learned not to interrupt me unless something is really really wrong. And it's only 30 minutes, so if I have to put them in front of PBS Kids, I refuse to feel guilty.

Now, playing 30 minutes a day doesn't really get you much past the extended warm-up stage. I know that. If I have the energy, I'll try to practice a bit more after the kids go to bed--I'm lucky that I can hide in the basement where they can't hear me. I can't find that extra time more than 1 or 2 times a week, but I always feel great after an extended session. Over time, as my kids continue to develop independent interests that require less and less adult supervision, I'm hoping to extend that "Daddy time" to 45 and then 60 minutes.

What's all this get me? Well, for starters, I'm playing better and more consistently than I had been for some years before my unwanted break. Knowing I have a limited time to practice has made me more actively plan out what I want to do in the time I have available. It's made me sharpen my ear. And, even if I don't get past scales / double-stops / 1-2 etudes, I'm still much better prepared to tackle gigs than when I was hurrying through a warm up so I could read some repertoire.

Good luck with your situation. Things will get easier. Honest.

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Hi, everyone

I was a passionate amateur violinist until I had my three children, ages 5,3, and 15 mths, and I really want to start

practicing and playing again. But when they are awake, they are either making demands when I try and play

(want juice! need help! J. hit me! Mom come see!) or getting into trouble (the other day my daughter left the front door partly

open and my 3 yr old let himself out- naked - with the baby following.)

Anyone have any support/advice/words of encouragement? Usually at night when they are sleeping I am too tired,

and I hate just putting TV on for them, it feels neglectful.

Anybody else in the same boat? How do you ever concentrate and take the time you need?

Thanks!

I assume you have a husband. On weekends, he can take them out somewhere. Evenings he can watch them for a while (or someone else can during the day, like a local high school kid). You need a room from which you can close them out while you practice. You cannot solve the problem without help from someone. Good luck!

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I've had some success with a cheap electric in another room (unplugged with a mute)....if the youngsters can't hear you they don't come demanding as often......if they know you are busy they come to take your attention.

Once they are in nursery or school then break out the acoustic.

I used to have fun playing a made up crazy sounding 2 stage hungarian style tune whilst chasing my son around the house...stage 1 was...mysterious... he's around here somewhere...he's going to come soon....followed by stage 2 which was 'run for it' , the crazy violin playing monster is coming. :)

OK...sounds silly, but at least it was practice of sorts...just need to be careful of knocking the bow or scroll on the wall as you run around :)

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Consider that it might be good for your children to see and hear you practice. I understand that you might not be able to concentrate as well with them around. My mother played the piano a lot and I am sure that it helped develop a musical sense in me. Let them see and hear you and know that that's who you are -- someone who loves the violin.

Maybe much later the memory of that WILL come back to them.

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