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Parents - how do you find time for bass?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by BertBert, Jan 10, 2005.

  1. BertBert


    Nov 9, 2002
    It's been a while since I posted on TalkBass -- in fact it's been a while since I've done anything with the bass, because in September I became a dad for the first time. My wife and I travelled to China to adopt our daughter, who turns 1 year old on January 12. She is an absolute blessing and I love being a dad.

    HOWEVER... finding time for bass has been really difficult. Having an infant around the house is a full-time undertaking. Every moment I'm home, I am watching her or I am doing stuff around the house that needs to get done because my wife is watching her. Practice time has been almost non-existent, and my skills are starting to slip. I'm also in a band, and even though we took three months for a hiatus before and after the trip to China to allow me to get my legs underneath me, I'm still having finding it hard to make scheduled rehearsals, and basically forget about gigging.

    Being a dad to my daughter is infinitely more important than being a bass player, since bass is just an avocation for me. However, playing bass is part of who I am, and I miss it. I'd like to find some balance of giving an appropriate amount of time to family and find time to at least maintain myself on the instrument, if not perform every now and then. Even just finding a half an hour every other day to practice would be nice.

    I'm wondering if the parents in the crowd out there can offer some advice. How did you do it? Did you just have to give up playing for a few years until your kid(s) got to the point where they didn't need constant attention? Did you manage to squirrel away some time for playing? Or what?

    EDIT: I should mention too that practicing while she naps isn't an option, since I'm at work during her nap times. Practicing after she goes to sleep is possible but not likely since after she turns in, I usually go to bed an hour later and there's lots of stuff to catch up on in that hour.
  2. kjones


    Dec 4, 2004
    Dude, please enjoy this time. It goes so quickly. I feel as if my kids were your kid's age just a day or so ago, and now they're 10 and 5.

    Worry not. Although you still have to supervise as they get older, that supervision is not as intense as time goes by. Then, the magic day will hit: my kids loved music so much that they want to play along when I practice. My son and I just played bass together an hour or so ago.

    Love your daughter. Share your enjoyment of music with her. It will be just another bridge between the two of you.
  3. Folmeister

    Folmeister Knowledge is Good - Emile Faber Supporting Member

    May 7, 2003
    Tomball, Texas
    Wow, congratulations! When my son was born, bass became nearly impossible for about the first year. After that, the wife and I made an agreement that each would start taking one night a week to go do something for ourselves while the other covered. That one night a week of band practice was a REALLY important component of my sanity. As your child gets older, there will be more time for a rapid rehearsal scheme. Just be a dad for a while and then the opportunities will emerge.
  4. I've got five kids in the house. 4 of them are older, so they don't need much time. The youngest just turned 5. After he was born, I pretty much laid off bass playing for about a year. My wife (lucky me) fortunately, supports my bass playing, so for the past four years or so, I've been able to get band practice in at least once a week and also time for the occasional gig. She's a stay-home mom, so she also needs time off...I usually take the little guy on the weekends.

    Listen to kjones....the time you get to care/carry the little one is so short; love your kid and spend time with him/her! Before you know it, she'll be too big/heavy to carry and will be doing her own thing.
  5. I'm a stay-at-home-dad with a 5 yr old boy, 3 yr old girl & 1 mystery child on the way. I commend you for adopting- something I'm not sure I could do. As for practice/playing time, you've got to, in the words of Janis Joplin, "get it while you can!" It does get easier when you can leave them alone for a few minutes- hang in there. My playing is strictly out of love, too, & like you, it's part of who I am. Being a bassist dad is cool, but 'just' being a dad is indescribable. Try writing about your child. Record her voice. She's only this exact age right now, & never again.
  6. Kelly Lee

    Kelly Lee Yeah, I'm a guy! Supporting Member

    Feb 17, 2004
    Marana, AZ, USA
    I agree, my kids come first. Thats why I'm not in a steady gigging band now. Between work, the wife and my two kids, I don't have alot of free time. However, as they get older you slowly get back some of that time. Mine are 10 and 13 now.

    Hang in there and take any chance you get to practice. I know its not as good as a set schedule for practicing but you got to get what you can. You can maybe squeeze in a half hour before work. Heck, get you a small headphone amp and take your bass to work and practice at lunch! You could also try and stay up an extra half hour before going to bed. If you really want it, you'll find a way. Good luck.
  7. WillPlay4Food

    WillPlay4Food Now With More Metal! Staff Member Supporting Member

    Apr 9, 2002
    Orbiting HQ
    I'm expecting my first kid on Wednesday. :eek: :) I was thinking about picking up one of the De Armond Ashbory basses (the ones with the silicon strings) to practice with at work since they are small and light. I don't know how my coworkers would take it though.
  8. I've got an Aria Sinsonido bass. I bring it to work to practice in the car on breaks/lunch. It's got a set of headphones included. I also have a Zoom PS04 on which I record some backing tracks to play along with. It's small and battery powered, so I almost always have it with me. I guess a Boss RC-20xl loopstation might fit the bill too.
  9. I'm in the same situation and manage to play in two gigging bands.

    It's a matter of priorities for me. I work, spend time with my family, and play music. That's about it. I don't watch TV, follow sports, etc. I'm behind on projects around the house but none of them are critical.

    If you watch TV, try cutting that out entirely. You'll be amazed at how much time you have left.
  10. mikemulcahy


    Jun 13, 2000
    The Abyss
    Enjoy this time, you only get it once. Bass will work itself out and will always be right where you left it.

  11. atldeadhead


    Jun 17, 2002
    Congrats new dad and to all you future new dads in this thread. I too am a recent new dad. That's my son Will in my avatar.

    When I married my wife she knew that music was a very big part of my life. Luckily she is also involved in musical endeavors (Church choir) so she understands the "need" to play/perform. I took a hiatus for the first 3 or 4 months after Will was born. Since then I've managed to gig here and there and find time to rehearse. Granted, it's no where near the amount of time I spent before baby or before marriage for that matter, but if you work to find time here and there you can make it happen. I like the suggestion about cutting out TV time. I need to try that one.
  12. Yes, definitely first thing, congrats on being a Dad. It's the BEST thing that has ever happenned to me, I love it so much, I did it twice. :D

    As to the question, it's quite hard at times, but also quite easy lately. Both my children (10 & 2) have taken a shine to what Daddy does, and they like to be around hen I play. It's a bonding time of sorts, and a much more enjoyable practice time then I would ever have just running thru scales and whatever. I usually pop in a disc of something I've been meaning to pull off, and the kids will gravitate to my den, and then on goes the amp, on go the effects (they love to stomp on them) and then it turns into "What kinda cool noises can Daddy make with his funny stick thing?"...you know...and that becomes a time of happy accidents and the birth of ideas.

    I for one am SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO over "building chops". I have no interest in playing anything than what comes to me naturally. And my kids help me along. What's fun is I also have a drumset in the room, so it usually devolves into a smack the drums and everything else in the room fest...

    If there's ever a gig-specific practice regimen that I really have to bite into, I will wait until the kids are sleeping and the Wife is nice and comfy and not needing a footrub or something, and then I just plug the bass into a mixxer, same with the disc player, grab my chart paper and headphones, and hit pause and rewind for hours on end.

    Thing is, sure practice is important, but the kids are moreso. Bring them into your world...who knows?
  13. Sundogue


    Apr 26, 2001
    Wausau, WI
    I agree. I've got three kids...two boys and one girl. The boys are already interested in music, and one bought his own guitar with his own hard earned money and is now trying to learn. The other is still trying to save up for one.

    We're expecting a baby in May. We, of course, are very excited. Right now, I go to band practice once a week, and at home I'll practice whenever I can find a little time. But the family comes first. We hardly ever watch TV, so that does free up a lot of time. I agree on the headphone thing late at night. I can practice as much as needed, without getting bothered, or bothering anyone else.

    Also, my band is not booking any gigs for three weeks around the due date. My band only plays out once a month and we are all pretty good friends, so even if the baby comes sooner or later than anticipated, the band has no problems cancelling a gig if need be.

    Family first! After that, it's a matter of what works best for everyone.
  14. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    I'm a stay-at-home dad as well to a 13-month old, and four days a week I watch my 3-month old nephew/godson for about nine hours a day. I also take care of my daughter basically from when she wakes up until she goes to bed, so it's more than a full-time job. We spend almost all day in her room (even her high chair is in there), and we keep her old playpen in there as well for when I nanny my nephew. When he's not there, I keep a bass on a stand in the playpen (so it's safe), and play whenever she's occupying herself, and sometimes she likes it when I play for her. Naptimes are when I get the most playing in.
  15. godoze


    Oct 21, 2002
    I get up at 5AM and practice Double bass for 1.5 hours then i go to work. I teach three nights a week so i generally practice slab after lessons are over. I've learned to live on little sleep...
  16. P. Aaron

    P. Aaron Supporting Member

    Whether my kids were in diapers, or old enough to make some of their own decisions, I just took the 5, 10, 25, minute opportunities I could get to just run through things on the instrument.

    But I had no real set practice/rehearsal times until they got older. But that's O.K.

  17. Ding Ding Ding! Winner!
  18. Eric Grossman

    Eric Grossman

    Nov 3, 2004
    St. Louis
    Endorsing Artist: Hipshot Products and SIT Strings
    Man, the joy and the pain. I play for a living, and with two little dudes (1 and 3), it's hard to do anything when I'm home. Practice is crucial for me, though. If I'm not touring, I'm Mr. Mom, so the kids come first. I carry a bass around the house with me, just to run scales and such, whenever there's a free moment.

    When the little one naps, I hit the basement with the 3 year old. We refinished the basement so it's a play room, exercise room. Between that, and LATE night sessions, I manage to find time every day, for a workout and heavy practice.

    Having a baby means no sleep, so I've grown accustomed to it. When they were infants, I was lucky to get 3 hours a night, so now if I get 6, I feel like I've "slept in". It's a matter of perspective and priorities in my case.

    Hang in there. It really will get easier as your little one gets older. With a bit of help and understanding from your wife, you'll be able to get some things done. Just be patient. Good luck and congratulations.

    BTW, my 1 year old is literally hanging on me as I'm typing this.
  19. All of Y'all make me proud to be a TB'er!
  20. eric atkinson

    eric atkinson "Is our children learning "Is our teachers teachin

    Feb 4, 2001
    It was hard when my daughter was born but not that she is 5 she comes over for every band practice! It helps that the drummer has a 6 year old as well! But i look at it this way if i dont play bass then i am not happy! If i am not happy my kid isnt happy! LOL She loves music as well and has a crap ton of fun watching and flirting with r guitar player! :)