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#2146637 - 09/08/13 09:37 PM FT working mom with young toddler but LOVE playing piano?
RX2Bunny Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/22/12
Posts: 119
Loc: Chicago
I'm new to this forum but a very nice "PW friend" has recommended this forum to me and thought i'd like the people here. so "hello everyone!"

just curious if there're any other full-time working mom here like me who are trying to squeeze every free minute to play piano when you can?

I would love to play more but after a long day of work and when I finish all the chores and caring for a young toddler, it's usually very late at night. It's then becoming too noisy to play piano. :sigh:

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#2146683 - 09/08/13 11:44 PM Re: FT working mom with young toddler but LOVE playing piano? [Re: RX2Bunny]
Jessiebear Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/23/13
Posts: 174
Loc: New Zealand
I'm a busy SAHM mom (not quite the same) and I play in 5-10 minute bursts throughout the day in between being chef/driver/entertainer LOL. It works ok and keeps me keen wink
_________________________
Inspired by Einaudi and Tiersen.

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#2146687 - 09/08/13 11:50 PM Re: FT working mom with young toddler but LOVE playing piano? [Re: RX2Bunny]
Whizbang Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/27/12
Posts: 817
I know nothing about toddlers, but if you can possibly squeeze in 15 minutes at a stretch of some focused practice at any point during the day, then that is actually extremely productive.

If you can pull off two, then that's even more awesome.

Crazy talk, I know.
_________________________
Whizbang
amateur ragtime pianist

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#2146697 - 09/09/13 12:22 AM Re: FT working mom with young toddler but LOVE playing piano? [Re: Whizbang]
Bobpickle Offline

Gold Supporter until July 10  2014


Registered: 05/24/12
Posts: 1383
Loc: Cameron Park, California
If she doesn't respond, I think TwoSnowflakes is also a full-time Mom and is an active pianist. I'm sure if you contacted her for advice, she'd be happy to oblige.


Originally Posted By: Whizbang
I know nothing about toddlers, but if you can possibly squeeze in 15 minutes at a stretch of some focused practice at any point during the day, then that is actually extremely productive.

If you can pull off two, then that's even more awesome.

Crazy talk, I know.


This is really good advice. Practicing piano is far more about finding little pockets of time and practicing for maybe just 10-20 minutes at a time and working to accomplish specific tasks (just like any other activity) and moving down a checklist - be it mental or literal - rather than about finding 2 hours with which to sit down and just "practice". The nice thing about this approach is that once you're organized with knowing what to practice, it's easy to find 10 minutes here and there with which to sit down and accomplish some focused work. Practice a little and with great focus, and you'll accomplish far more than practicing a lot with hazy or unclear focuses.

Originally Posted By: Bernhard
Practice is the same as improvement.

If you have not improved, you have not practised. If you sit at the piano for 8 hours and after 8 hours you are still playing badly, you cannot call those 8 hours practice. They are simply “piano activity”. The number of hours you spend practising is completely irrelevant. Only results count. So from now on, judge your practice by its results. If you are not getting the results you want, change the way you are practising. This of course assumes you had thought long and hard about what you want.

You must be really specific here. It is no good to say “ I want to play better”. You must be very specific: “I want to always hit that high C without ever missing it”. “ I want that 12 note run to be totally even both in rhythm as in tone.” “I want to memorise the first page of the piece”. You get the idea.

Then you must use your practice session to achieve your aims.

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#2146704 - 09/09/13 12:46 AM Re: FT working mom with young toddler but LOVE playing piano? [Re: RX2Bunny]
ZoeCalgary Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/01/11
Posts: 748
Loc: Calgary Alberta
Hi. I am working full time and have young children as well. For practice after kids are in bed have you considered a digital piano so you can use earphones? I got a second hand digital at a local music store and use that for night time practice. Even short sessions help. On weekends I try to get piano time in first. Otherwise I Find the while day goes by and then I'm too tired.
_________________________
Preparing Grade 6 RCM.


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#2146709 - 09/09/13 01:06 AM Re: FT working mom with young toddler but LOVE playing piano? [Re: RX2Bunny]
HalfStep Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/25/11
Posts: 206
Loc: Boston, MA
Yes, im a mum here. I also studied piano while working full time and going to grad school. Piano was/is my time to relax. It does help to have a DP when you have the urge to practice late. The upside is that my daughter plays as well. It really helps us bond. Of course we are close but practicing and discussing theory is a daily routine for us. Welcome to the forum and remember to make time for yourself smile

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#2146835 - 09/09/13 09:35 AM Re: FT working mom with young toddler but LOVE playing piano? [Re: RX2Bunny]
barbaram Offline

Full Member

Registered: 09/06/13
Posts: 196
Hi,
I have just recently found this forum (first post!). I'm in a fairly similar boat - I work full time and have 3 kids aged between 3 and 8.
I'm a returning player, having learned as a teenager. I've had a piano again for a few years, but it's only in the last couple of months that I've been playing with any regularity and I'm really loving it.
Like you, it's all about seizing my chances - 5 minutes here, 10 minutes there. It's rare enough that I get a full 15 minutes without interruption. I've made huge progress even with this opportunistic approach to practicing - I try to focus on that, and not on how much better I would be if only I had more time :-)

Do you play on a real piano or a digital one? I have a digital but need to get a jack to fit my headphones - that will help me sidestep the noise at night problem.
My only other suggestion is that you don't wait to finish all the chores before allowing yourself to practice - the chores can wait :-)

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#2146864 - 09/09/13 10:41 AM Re: FT working mom with young toddler but LOVE playing piano? [Re: RX2Bunny]
RX2Bunny Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/22/12
Posts: 119
Loc: Chicago
Hi everyone! good to meet you all here. I have an acoustic and I don't have a practice pedal anymore. So far if i play softly at night after my son sleeps (which is the only time I get to play), I usually have 50-75% chance of not waking him up and cry.

Just like everyone else, I tried to do 5-10 mins here and there too! it's not the most efficient but i think it's better than nothing! Barbaram, I feel the same - it's rare that I get a full 15 mins without interruption! it's usually little better in the weekend and I could get 30-45 mins or so practice time!

Do you all take lessons? how often do you do it?

oh yeah, I sometimes play piano before doing the chores too! LOL! and that also meant I don't get to bed till almost midnight :P

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#2146875 - 09/09/13 11:12 AM Re: FT working mom with young toddler but LOVE playing piano? [Re: RX2Bunny]
Sweet06 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/22/13
Posts: 408
perhaps you can get a digital piano for headphones to help with that problem quite a bit! smile

I think most people on this forum attend lessons.
_________________________
"Doesn't practicing on the piano suck?!?!"
"The joy is in the practicing. It's like relationships. Yeah, orgasms are awesome, but you can't make love to someone who you have no relationship with!"

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#2146877 - 09/09/13 11:19 AM Re: FT working mom with young toddler but LOVE playing piano? [Re: RX2Bunny]
RX2Bunny Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/22/12
Posts: 119
Loc: Chicago
That's true.. DP does help with the sound control. but I just upgrade my piano so I won't have any spare funding for a while.

Halfstep, I can't believe you can do all and attending grad school. it's also great that you said your daughter also plays. How old is she? did she express interest to play on her own? I would love to have that bonding opportunity with my son if he wants to play too. but right now he seems so restless and active that I can't even make him sit still for more than 5 mins. he would press a few keys then run away @_@

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#2146879 - 09/09/13 11:26 AM Re: FT working mom with young toddler but LOVE playing piano? [Re: RX2Bunny]
jotur Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/06
Posts: 5657
Loc: Santa Fe, NM
Here's Sam S's survey of the ABF - looks like 49% taking lessons, and 51% not taking lessons - pretty much an even split. But you'll probably like looking at other results, too:

2013 ABF survey results

Cathy
_________________________

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#2147288 - 09/09/13 11:13 PM Re: FT working mom with young toddler but LOVE playing piano? [Re: RX2Bunny]
ZoeCalgary Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/01/11
Posts: 748
Loc: Calgary Alberta
Hi again. I am just going to start up lessons again. I find it helps me to stay focused. Last year I had to cancel many of them due to other events for the kids but thankfully my teacher is very flexible.

My oldest played for a year and then wanted to stop. My youngest played for a couple of months and wanted to stop. We let both of them stop last year. I am trying again to get them both to start lessons again. They were doing well but say it is too hard! I'll wait and see if we can get in a few months to try it again.

They are at an age that they can play without supervision so when I can practice they are good about it.
_________________________
Preparing Grade 6 RCM.


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#2147310 - 09/10/13 12:21 AM Re: FT working mom with young toddler but LOVE playing piano? [Re: RX2Bunny]
HalfStep Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/25/11
Posts: 206
Loc: Boston, MA
Originally Posted By: RileyBunny
That's true.. DP does help with the sound control. but I just upgrade my piano so I won't have any spare funding for a while.

Halfstep, I can't believe you can do all and attending grad school. it's also great that you said your daughter also plays. How old is she? did she express interest to play on her own? I would love to have that bonding opportunity with my son if he wants to play too. but right now he seems so restless and active that I can't even make him sit still for more than 5 mins. he would press a few keys then run away @_@


RB, she started piano lessons at 8 and clarinet at the age of 9. She's currently 13 and I think pretty talented. I was always exposed to music and studied violin when I was younger but started formal piano lessons when she did. The trick is to expose them and foster practice on their terms. Some healthy competition between the two of us makes us both work harder smile. I will admit that our achievement does not represent our practice. In other words, I practice four times the amount she does to achieve a similar, or often less fruitful outcomes... She prefers music and band to athletics so it's what we focused on.


Edited by HalfStep (09/10/13 12:23 AM)

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#2147318 - 09/10/13 12:37 AM Re: FT working mom with young toddler but LOVE playing piano? [Re: RX2Bunny]
peekay Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/31/13
Posts: 184
What a wonderful thread. I don't have kids yet but I have a 2 1/2 yr old niece. She has a little Casio keyboard she got for her 2nd birthday.

Her mommy is thinking about learning how to play too, maybe getting a real piano in the fall. It's probably the best motivation any kid can have, to see the joy his/her mommy has when playing an instrument.
_________________________
Working on RCM Grade 8

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#2147327 - 09/10/13 12:54 AM Re: FT working mom with young toddler but LOVE playing piano? [Re: RX2Bunny]
RX2Bunny Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/22/12
Posts: 119
Loc: Chicago
I guess I was quite motivated from meeting other dedicated mom/pianist here that I decided to slack tonight and didn't do any chores LOL! I spent almost an hour playing! and I felt great! I definitely can't do it every night but I guess every once in a while is okay...

I used to play violin too. but I have to say I like listening to violin but I love playing piano more smile

Halfstep - I hope one day I could do that with my son too.

Maybe I should edit the thread to "FT working parents with kids and LOVE playing piano". It's great to exchange ideas or hear stories from others.

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#2147596 - 09/10/13 01:47 PM Re: FT working mom with young toddler but LOVE playing piano? [Re: RX2Bunny]
Saranoya Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/27/13
Posts: 632
Loc: Brussels, Belgium
Hi RileyBunny,

I'm not a mom. But I do work full-time, spend about ten hours a week engaged in things that have to do with the scouting group I am involved with, and recently returned to graduate school part-time.

What works for me is to practice early in the morning -- and by early, I mean really early. 5:30 AM or so. I have to get up that early for other reasons anyway, and when I practice in the morning, I don't need to feel guilty if I'm too wiped out to practice again at night, after a full day of work and classes.

I'm also finding, now, that the piano makes for an excellent way to blow off steam after studying or working on a paper for an hour or so. When I went to college the first time, I used to have a rule that said: an hour of study gets you a fifteen minute break. I spent those breaks mostly surfing the internet rather aimlessly, back then. Now, I play the piano for fifteen minutes.

So another 'yay' to the 'short bursts' idea. Because of the focus required to get anything useful done in a timespan as short as fifteen minutes, I'm finding that fare more effective than two hours of consecutive noodling, anyway.
_________________________
Beginner with some priors since 9/2012

Currently Playable
Bach 846, 926, 930
Beethoven 27/2 mvt. 1
Burgmller 100/3, 4, 7, 12, 15, 19, 25
Chopin 72/1
Clementi 36/1
Grieg 12/1, 7
Tchaikovsky 39/9

Future
Burgmller 109
Bartok Sz 56
Mozart K331

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#2147633 - 09/10/13 02:38 PM Re: FT working mom with young toddler but LOVE playing piano? [Re: RX2Bunny]
HalfStep Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/25/11
Posts: 206
Loc: Boston, MA
Originally Posted By: RileyBunny
I guess I was quite motivated from meeting other dedicated mom/pianist here that I decided to slack tonight and didn't do any chores LOL! I spent almost an hour playing! and I felt great! I definitely can't do it every night but I guess every once in a while is okay...

I used to play violin too. but I have to say I like listening to violin but I love playing piano more smile

Halfstep - I hope one day I could do that with my son too.

Maybe I should edit the thread to "FT working parents with kids and LOVE playing piano". It's great to exchange ideas or hear stories from others.


The chores will be there when you're ready, haha.

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#2147743 - 09/10/13 04:46 PM Re: FT working mom with young toddler but LOVE playing piano? [Re: RX2Bunny]
Music Me Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/23/12
Posts: 235
Loc: New York
I work full time and sometimes overtime. I try to get in put to an hour on weeknight a. Then I reward myself on at least one or both weekend days I will play for up to two hours, take a break and repeat. There's nothing more I'd rather be doing with my time-unless performing.

As my signature says,
...without music, no life...
I guess I should add ...without piano , no life
_________________________
Barbara
...without music, no life...

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#2148321 - 09/11/13 03:49 PM Re: FT working mom with young toddler but LOVE playing piano? [Re: RX2Bunny]
DinaP Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/31/12
Posts: 152
I have physical limitations so my time can be quite restricted some days -- I try to put in time in the morning by getting up early -- then do short spurts throughout the rest of the day if possible -- one thing that has helped me is using this Smart Cube Timer. Typically I do five minute intervals -- it helps me both to steal a few minutes here and there and also to keep my longer practice sessions focused -- if you have to stop and assess what you are doing frequently it keeps you from practicing over and over without actually improving the piece or a part of it.

I'm working at late elementary/early intermediate level plus learning scales so my pieces are not terribly long -- someone doing more advanced pieces may need to work in longer intervals.

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#2148332 - 09/11/13 04:33 PM Re: FT working mom with young toddler but LOVE playing piano? [Re: RX2Bunny]
Rickster Offline


Registered: 03/25/06
Posts: 8585
Loc: Georgia, USA
Interesting thread…

My two sons are grown now, with families of their own; however, my wife of 37 years is severely disabled due to a brain tumor, which requires a great deal of care and work on my part. I pay a sitter to stay with her during the day, while I work full time. When I’m at home, I am her primary care provider. She is totally confined to a wheel chair and pretty much an invalid, though I hate to use that term. She needs a lot of assistance to do pretty much anything and everything. She can use the telephone if she needs to, and use the TV remote to watch TV. She can read. Her speech is impaired, but she can communicate and she pretty much has her right mind. The physical paralysis is the biggest problem; her left arm is completely paralyzed and her left leg is partially paralyzed.

So, with that said, my time at the piano or anything else is very limited. I keep my cell phone on me at all times, and she can call if she needs assistance (which is pretty often). She can’t be left alone for more than an hour or so at a time. If I have any extracurricular activities with my job, I have to pay the sitter extra to stay with her after normal working hours. Anything I do, I have to do in small bits and increments of time.

I try not to feel sorry for myself, because I do feel sorry for her. Either of our lives is not normal in the sense that we can do anything we want or go anywhere we want anytime we want. In all honesty, I’m the only thing keeping her out of a nursing or assisted care home. I plan to be there for her as long as I’m physically and mentally able.

But, when life gives you lemons, you try to make lemonade! I’ve always been an optimist and try to look at the glass half full instead of half empty.

As you’ve probably guessed, I don’t get out much… but, hey, that means more time at the piano! smile

Learning to play the piano has been a wonderful experience for me, and a good stress reliever. smile

Sorry for the vent, but thanks for listening!

Rick
_________________________
Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel

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#2148337 - 09/11/13 04:43 PM Re: FT working mom with young toddler but LOVE playing piano? [Re: RX2Bunny]
DinaP Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/31/12
Posts: 152
God Bless you and your wife, Rick -- I lost my husband four years ago and while we were together he never resented the degree to which our lives were changed by my disability. It made me greatly appreciate him even more than I already did and I realized that as a couple we modeled exactly what the wedding vows are all about -- and so do you and your wife.

It's ok to vent once in a while -- we are all mere humans -- and this week I have done my share --maybe it's something in the air???

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#2148435 - 09/11/13 07:45 PM Re: FT working mom with young toddler but LOVE playing piano? [Re: RX2Bunny]
RX2Bunny Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/22/12
Posts: 119
Loc: Chicago
Rick - no worries for the vent! I'm glad you feel comfortable to share your story with us here. I'm very impressed of what you do for your wife and I am sure she and your sons really appreciate it. I bet it is not easy. While I thought life as a FT working mom is hard, I do think there're many people who have much harder lives in different ways. You definitely have my full respect!

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#2149460 - 09/13/13 01:18 PM Re: FT working mom with young toddler but LOVE playing piano? [Re: RX2Bunny]
Musictuary Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/19/05
Posts: 169
Loc: Aurora, Illinois, USA
Another FT working mom here. It is very encouraging reading all the stories here. Despite all the challenges/obstacles that we encounter daily we have the piano to look forward to whether in short or long spurts of practice time.

Like some posters, I took piano lessons as a child. I resumed lessons many years later for five years until my teacher passed away. She also taught our boys who are 9 and 11.

Fortunately we found another piano teacher shortly after our teacher's death mainly for the boys and I have recently resumed piano lessons as I missed having lessons!

Also like everyone else, finding time to practice can be challenging but the 5 - 10 minute spurts can be very helpful and of late I have been doing a lot of that type of practicing.

I also endorse the idea of having a digital piano if you also have an acoustic piano. I have both but funnily enough I haven't played on the digital piano in months. The acoustic feels and sounds so much better. As I have recently resumed lessons I guess I'll be doing a lot more practicing on the digital especially in the early morning hours.

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