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If you play an instrument (or sing) and have small DCs...

(30 Posts)
MyNameIsInigoMontoya Wed 08-Jun-11 23:20:25

How/when do you manage to practise?

I am finding it nearly impossible... if I play when they are around, they both come running and want to play themselves instead or at least "join in" with me (if not actually trying to shove me off the piano stool...). Which is nice for them of course, but no good for me.

But when they're in bed I worry about waking them up, my piano is quite a loud one and unfortunately directly below DS's room. I still have unfond memories of my dad waking us up with his piano practice every Sunday morning!

About the only times I get to play now are when the DCs are both out of the house with DH or granny, but those times are pretty rare and there are a lot of other things competing for that time too. Am hoping it will get a bit easier as they get older - I have already pretty much forgotten how to play one instrument sad so don't want to lose this one too.

IHeartKingThistle Wed 08-Jun-11 23:24:46

I only play for fun (am a bit rubbish these days) but the same thing happens to me - DD has also started sighing audibly when I play pieces she doesn't like!

DH plays guitar and sings and his repertoire has been almost entirely reduced to nursery rhymes.

No-one ever warns you about the effect having children has on your piano practice, eh?

MavisEnderby Wed 08-Jun-11 23:26:26

When dp was alive and dcs were tiny and he wanted to practice I used to take dcs out for the day/afternoon(every weekend!!).If you have a dh/dp is this feasible??/

casawasa Wed 08-Jun-11 23:27:00

After i had my son i found it really difficult to find the time to play. I bought an electric violin that i could listen to with headphones but i still didnt find much time to play. Like you it was only when my h took him out. Once my son started nursery age 3 i was able to start playing seriously again.
Of course i assumed that he would be musical and desperate to play an instrument but because i want him to he says he doesn't want to. Very frustrating.
Couldnt your dh play with them or take them out at a set hour at the weekend so that you could at least do an hour a week?

MavisEnderby Wed 08-Jun-11 23:34:41

It pissed me off somewhat at the time,but his music was so important to him.I would give anything to hear him playing nowsad (sorry,he died on 9 june 2010 so am a bit wibbly tonight)Show this to your oh if your music is important!!!Love,Mavis xx

MyNameIsInigoMontoya Wed 08-Jun-11 23:38:35

Mm, maybe I should ask DH to take them out a bit more. He does sometimes, but he has his own interests which are quite outdoorsy, so if he does them he is usually out for most of a day at the weekend (he can't just go for an hour), and I try to let him go more weeks than not as he doesn't get much chance to see his friends otherwise. So then we only have one day left over for doing things together or for me to get some "time off".

It also doesn't help that when I do finally get some child-free time there are always so many things I could/should be doing with it - always lots of jobs I can't easily do with DCs around, I really need to get more exercise, and am sadly missing wandering round the shops which almost never happens now!

Oh well, I suppose it's just normal while they are still both so young...

MyNameIsInigoMontoya Wed 08-Jun-11 23:40:13

Oh Mavis sad - not surprised you are feeling wibbly. Have a big [hug] from me.

casawasa Wed 08-Jun-11 23:43:05

I walk for exercise and practice (almost) every day. School is a marvellous thing! smile It definitely does get easier as they get older.

Mavis - hope you aren't too sad tonight.

Catilla Wed 08-Jun-11 23:53:54

Can you grab time when they're safely engaged in something else (Cbeebies??)?

Also are they old enough that you can start "doing a deal" eg. you can "help" me play for x minutes, then I will play on my own and you will do xyz? A timer can help them stick to this. Also giving them something good to do - depending on character but eg. their own little keyboard (or Leap Pad or your laptop...) or colouring next to you etc.

One other thought - once they have properly gone to sleep most kids are pretty hard to significantly disturb... so I'd suggest playing in the late evening (not like your Dad in the morning, when of course they'd be coming into lighter sleep ready to wake up). Oh - and can you play another instrument while they occupy the piano??

Good luck!

snailoon Thu 09-Jun-11 09:57:32

I loved waking up with to the sound of my mother practising. I would play when they are asleep, but also when they are around; you are giving them a wonderful gift.
You will not forget how to play in a few months or even years, though it may feel awkward and rusty for a while.
I think it is hard to get the motivation and mental energy to practise when you have little ones, because practising can be a very challenging and draining activity, (though also more rewarding than just about anything else IMO when it's going well).

mistlethrush Thu 09-Jun-11 09:59:39

I used to go to sleep to the sound of my mother playing Schubert.

We've been in a small holiday cottage, with open stairway off the living room, and had a Beethoven septet in there (complete with horn) and Ds has gone to sleep to it.

If its normal, it won't disturb them.

fuzzpigFriday Thu 09-Jun-11 10:16:13

I've been pondering this as we've finally got enough money to move my piano up from my parents' house. So excited, we moved out in 2006 and I've barely played since then.

How old are they? Are they learning how to play piano? My mum (who was taught by her mum, who taught herself) taught me basic stuff on the keyboard - an amazing gift and a lovely memory. Could you set aside time to teach them individually, and also explain that at other times you need to be playing alone?

Take care of yourself today Mavis xx

whydobirdssuddenlyappear Thu 09-Jun-11 10:34:52

I just send them out into the garden/to play upstairs/ask them to read quietly in the corner/stick the tv on for them. Not that it works all the time, but it does usually mean I can get some done. I can't practise in the evening at all, because it means having to try to work in the same room as DH, and I find I can't concentrate...

CoffeeDodger Thu 09-Jun-11 10:37:30

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

IntergalacticHussy Thu 09-Jun-11 10:54:44

i only muck about on the guitar, playing Billy Bragg songs and other political stuff, but i tend to do it after they've gone to bed (quietly). couldn't really do that with a piano though as the volume is that much greater.

whydobirdssuddenlyappear Thu 09-Jun-11 10:58:46

Mine are 6 and 3.5, by the way. Not sure if that makes a difference. They're also home ed, so never at school/nursery. Have had to make lots of changes to the way I practise to make it work (trying to make it much shorter, but more concentrated so actually more effective). I can, on a very good day, get in a couple of hours in 20 min bursts. I play the oboe, so any significant time off means lip muscles collapse and my stamina goes, so I try to make sure I do a minimum of half an hour a day. Doesn't always work though.

ragged Thu 09-Jun-11 11:00:13

Frigging awkward, I have to connive & struggle.

When they are watching something on DVD/TV, but I find TV etc. very distracting, increasingly can't do it.

When all at school + preschool (hooray!! only started 6 weeks ago, but only 3 mornings/week)

In the evenings after tea, sometimes (these long summer evenings them playing out), esp. if DH is out playing footie with them

Sometimes I wake up early and get practising at like 5am (they say it doesn't wake them up confused)

Very rarely in the evening after very LOs in bed (DH puts up with it while he's watching telly, fine if something like Footie/darts, but I can't concentrate well so late, either)

Occasionally in the day during holidays at unexpected moments, esp. if DC3 (the most demanding one) is doing something that totally consumes his attention

I have tried paying money to the eldest DC (11) to occupy the youngest (3yo), but that still leaves the demanding 6yo DC3 (who nobody but me can placate, sigh).

There was a thread on pianoworld.forums where some woman sighed about her cats sitting on her lap during practice, and I thought "That's nothing compared to practising one-handed scales with a baby on your lap!"

MyNameIsInigoMontoya Thu 09-Jun-11 11:45:53

Mine are 3 1/2 and 1, so it is still hard to get them both to do something on their own for more than 10 minutes, and they can't really learn much yet although I do let them sit on my knee and bash away if they want to! Sounds like it should get a little easier once they are a few years older though - DS will already watch TV for a bit on his own now but DD isn't very interested.

I am back at work p/t now, so although they have a couple of days at nursery, I'm always working then.

Maybe I should try in the evenings though, the Beethoven septet made me grin!

CoffeeDodger - have you thought about joining a choir? I am in one so at least I always get to sing once a week! I never practise at home (not really a solo singer anyway tho), but luckily my sightreading is good so I get away with it, and DH minds the DCs while I go out in return for doing his sports at other times. At least a couple hours a week is better than nothing. Of course it depends whether you have someone to look after the DCs though.

mistlethrush Thu 09-Jun-11 12:30:16

Its amazing the volume of music Ds can sleep through - or even go to sleep during. I think that the thing is that you have to get them to believe that its the norm. I think I did quite well - sat through a pre-concert rehearsal of Belshazzar's Feast (ie 400+ choir, Large orchestra and 2 brass bands) when Ds was about 4 wks old and he slept through most of that - so it might well be conditioning....

Come to think of it, when singing The Christmas Oratorio (all of it, no cuts, all movements) when 5 mo pregnant, ds was still when I was singing or there was loud orchestra - but kicked a lot when it was quieter - as if to say 'where's all the music gone?' grin

whydobirdssuddenlyappear Thu 09-Jun-11 12:34:59

It definitely gets easier as they get older, and more able to amuse themselves.
Although evening isn't an option for me personally (house too small), I do remember going to sleep as a child whilst listening to my mum play, and it's a very happy memory. Once they get used to you playing, it won't disturb them.
I recommend 'The Perfect Wrong Note' by William Westney, by the way. It's a really, really good book on how to practise. Helps you learn how to practise more efficiently, so you can get better much faster in less time.

vintageteacups Thu 09-Jun-11 12:43:37

It's okay once they're at school but as soon as try to sing when DCs are home, DD wants to get her 'singstar' gane out and DS (6) wants to sit and sing to youtube all night long and if I interrupt whilst he's singing, he says "mummy, now I'm going to have to go all the way back to the start because you interrupted me" okay when it's short, not so great it it's ' When I needed a Neighbour, were you there?' !!!

Darkhoodedrobes Thu 09-Jun-11 13:05:56

I do bits here and there - perched in the kitchen, waiting for things to cook, or best one, stick the DCs in the bath and sit (out of splash range) outside the door. No good obviously if you play the tuba or piano or something!

MyNameIsInigoMontoya Thu 09-Jun-11 13:07:02

Vintage you will have to start a choir grin Or a family barbershop quartet or something!

MyNameIsInigoMontoya Thu 09-Jun-11 13:09:06

Mistle Belshazzar sounds fun! I would tell you my singing-while-pregnant story but would totally out myself to anyone who was there blush

WoTmania Thu 09-Jun-11 18:47:21

with just DS1 I used to manage to do a Fl;ute duo but not anymore sad am thinking about moving my piano from my parent's to mine so I can have a ploay and the children can muck around and experiment.

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