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New job: concerned no more time for piano

Posted By: WeakLeftHand

New job: concerned no more time for piano - 08/16/19 06:12 AM

I just started on my piano journey this March and am taking biweekly lessons with a teacher. I’m enjoying piano very much and am on the RCM path and about to get a new piano. But I will be moving into a much more stressful and time consuming role in my career and all of a sudden I’ve realized this might impact my ability to practice daily. I will be working long hours. I’m sad and scared at the same time. I’m wondering if this might be the end of my very short but happy piano journey, or is it possible to make it work. I will probably be at work all day and won’t get home until 7pm if I’m lucky.

I think I’ll also be moving to weekly lessons because a time opened up.
Posted By: Tyrone Slothrop

Re: New job: concerned no more time for piano - 08/16/19 06:21 AM

You could get up an hour earlier and practice before you leave for work when you have the most energy. Or you could do as I do and practice very late. Some people do have intensive jobs. I usually end up practicing in the middle of the night, but I know night piano is not for everyone, which is why I suggested early morning practice.
Posted By: KevinM

Re: New job: concerned no more time for piano - 08/16/19 06:34 AM

Piano is my therapy for a stressful life and work. Though work only recently and I hope it will return to a more even level soon. But it’s role in my life means it gets priority.

I hope you can find your own balance that works for you.
Posted By: earlofmar

Re: New job: concerned no more time for piano - 08/16/19 07:06 AM

You will never find the inscription ''I wish I had spend more time at the office'' in a cemetery.
Posted By: dogperson

Re: New job: concerned no more time for piano - 08/16/19 07:17 AM

Every work week is 50+ hours for me and often at 60+ hours.... it’s just the way it is. And I take weekly piano lessons.
No, you do not need to quit learning or playing the piano but you will need to make practice focused.... have a goal when you sit down to practice and stick to that goal. Left hand a problem in measure three? Practice measure three only. Do not start at measure one and work your way up to measure three. . You will be amazed at how much you can accomplish in a short period of time if you have a clear plan.

Sneak in practice time. Have 15 min while you are reheating dinner? Practice 15 minutes. It really is important that you not try to cram it in all over the weekend but do what you can each day during the week. There is no way I can sit down to practice in a one or two hour block as it becomes unfocused and rambling. So I practice in very small chunks of time.

You get the idea: small, concrete goals for each practice; steal small chunks of time to practice. Celebrate the small victories—- they will add up.
Posted By: Animisha

Re: New job: concerned no more time for piano - 08/16/19 08:01 AM

Originally Posted by WeakLeftHand
I just started on my piano journey this March and am taking biweekly lessons with a teacher. I’m enjoying piano very much and am on the RCM path and about to get a new piano. But I will be moving into a much more stressful and time consuming role in my career and all of a sudden I’ve realized this might impact my ability to practice daily. I will be working long hours. I’m sad and scared at the same time. I’m wondering if this might be the end of my very short but happy piano journey, or is it possible to make it work. I will probably be at work all day and won’t get home until 7pm if I’m lucky.

I think I’ll also be moving to weekly lessons because a time opened up.

The first two years of my playing the piano (without a teacher) I was on my way to get burnt out - but obviously I didn't know it. I wanted to practise way more than I did, but many times when I came home from work I was too tired. Also, I just wanted to relax and not to focus on a task. In retrospect, I am glad that I didn't push myself even more beyond my limits.

So my advice is that you should think a bit. You say that your new job not only will be longer hours but also much more stressful. How will you get most relaxation after a very stressful day? Is practising the piano a relaxating activity for you, does it help you to get your mind off stressful thoughts? Or does it add to your stress? And if the latter is the case, is there anything you can change in your piano practice to make it less stressful? Can your teacher help you to design a relaxing piano practice for you? Or would it be better, for instance during the first month, to devote yourself completely to your new job, and only play favourite pieces, and once you're not as new at your job anymore, try to slip in some practice again?
Posted By: Groove On

Re: New job: concerned no more time for piano - 08/16/19 10:02 AM

thumb +1 to using the Piano as stress relief.

Any chance you’re working for a startup? Back in the dot com days I was able to convince two startups to put band instruments in the recreation room. At that time I was working 60+ hours a week and many of us would jam whenever we could.

Or perhaps you can get a ‘travel piano’ so you can practice on the go.
Posted By: Tyrone Slothrop

Re: New job: concerned no more time for piano - 08/16/19 10:08 AM

Originally Posted by Groove On
Back in the dot com days I was able to convince two startups to put band instruments in the recreation room. At that time I was working 60+ hours a week and many of us would jam whenever we could.

I just visited a major tech company a few weeks ago. They had a pool table, ping pong table, and a video game machine w/ 80" TV in one of their break rooms. No piano - I guess pianists are just not that common frown
Posted By: bennevis

Re: New job: concerned no more time for piano - 08/16/19 11:08 AM

It's good to have a few nice pieces that you can just play from the music or from memory, completely stress-free, for when you're not in the mood to 'practice'.

Or if you're good at sight-reading, and you have a stash of easy fun stuff that you can play from without worrying about how many wrong notes come out of the woodwork. wink

I don't work crazy hours anymore, but there was a period of several decades when I did (yes, I'm that old cry), and the best time was when I had access to a piano for a few years - at my then work place - in the late evenings, when the place was officially closed. I'd spend hours at the piano there after finishing my day work, even while I was still on-call for emergencies (all night, all weekend 24/7). Instead of worrying about whether I was going to be called out, I forgot all about work by learning new pieces which required all my concentration.

My rep expanded greatly during that time (of course, playing from the music, not from memory - I definitely didn't need the stress of trying to memorize anything) to the extent that I was able to give a couple of lecture-recitals for the staff, when someone heard me practicing and asked me to do one for (- in place of) one of their occasional lunchtime lectures whistle.
Posted By: bSharp(C)yclist

Re: New job: concerned no more time for piano - 08/16/19 11:50 AM

Make time for it, WeakLeftHand! I'm in a similar situation, sort of. I move in with my girlfriend next month. My commute will be a little longer, and I cancelled my weekly lessons with the school starting next month. My girlfriend would like to spend Saturday afternoons with me. I've been wanting to move lessons to a week night anyway. Need to decide on staying with the school, or finding something closer. Another option would be to take private lessons with my current teacher in her home, but that is also a bit of a drive.
Posted By: LarryK

Re: New job: concerned no more time for piano - 08/16/19 12:00 PM

Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by Groove On
Back in the dot com days I was able to convince two startups to put band instruments in the recreation room. At that time I was working 60+ hours a week and many of us would jam whenever we could.

I just visited a major tech company a few weeks ago. They had a pool table, ping pong table, and a video game machine w/ 80" TV in one of their break rooms. No piano - I guess pianists are just not that common frown


You have identified why I despise modern offices. Tech companies don’t want you to ever go home, it’s depressing. I knew people who couldn’t seem to find a wife or a girlfriend and spent all their time at the office eating “free” food and drinking “free” beer, and playing games. How about we all stop screwing around, do the work in eight hours or less, and go home.

I’ve decided to work at home from now on. I made up my mind after I got stuck next to a pool table at one contracting company. The sales guys would shoot pool and drink beer all day while I tried to write the software they had sold, software they had underestimated in terms of time required to build, of course. I complained to the CEO that the sound of pool balls striking each other was disturbing my concentration and he said he couldn’t do anything about it because pool was part of their “culture.” So, I worked from home after that, until the work dried up.

At home, my piano is always waiting to be played.
Posted By: dumka1

Re: New job: concerned no more time for piano - 08/16/19 12:26 PM

Also, even though it might sound blasphemous on this forum :), but you don't necessarily need to practice every single day to make progress. Don't get discouraged and tempted to quit just because you can no longer practice every day. Do more extended practice on weekends and sneak in shorter practice sessions on some week nights (or mornings), as others have recommended. And I agree that piano practice can be a great stress-reliever (it is definitely for me). You might think you're too tired to practice, but once you sit down and start working on your pieces, you might feel refreshed and will keep going. This has happened to me a lot. Best of luck!
Posted By: Tyrone Slothrop

Re: New job: concerned no more time for piano - 08/16/19 12:33 PM

Originally Posted by bSharp(C)yclist
Make time for it, WeakLeftHand! I'm in a similar situation, sort of. I move in with my girlfriend next month.

Things have been progressing well, I see thumb
Posted By: Pau Gasol

Re: New job: concerned no more time for piano - 08/16/19 12:39 PM

Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
You could get up an hour earlier and practice before you leave for work when you have the most energy.


This would be my suggestion also. If not an hour, how about fifteen minutes? I play (or practice) every morning from about 5:15 to 5:30, as soon as I get out of the shower and before I eat breakfast. Its very relaxing and I find it productive; whatever I was stumbling over the previous evening suddenly becomes crystal clear in the morning. But I am a morning person; maybe not everyone enjoys a morning practice like I do.
Posted By: malkin

Re: New job: concerned no more time for piano - 08/16/19 12:58 PM

Weekly lessons and morning practice work for me.

Some weeks, only some parts of my lesson are prepared, but I make sure to have visited each part of the week's assignment so that I have identified any questions. I practice all my technique exercises (Edna Mae Burnham) every day, because I'm slow at learning them and then my teacher can see how they're coming and keep me from going astray and give instructions for practice. I also work on small sections of pieces.

I often don't have time in a lesson to go through everything, so I pick what needs the most support and instruction. Lots of things just need more practice, so I end up not working on them with the teacher in every lesson.

I may be the slowest student ever. Sometimes I feel bad about this, but usually I can just focus on my practice.
Posted By: j&j

Re: New job: concerned no more time for piano - 08/16/19 01:14 PM

As mentioned in other responses, set your alarm to get up 30 minutes earlier and practice 30 minutes before you go off to your new job. Also, take a copy of the piece you’re working on and over lunch study it. Maybe play air piano under the desk or lunch table. Download a sight reading app on your phone and during lunch or while waiting for the meeting to start you can quiz yourself quietly on quickly reading notes and ledger lines. I did that for 6 or 7 years before I retired and I never lost momentum. I didn’t have the phone app but copied quizzes from my student workbook and worked on those at lunch.
Best of luck! Congratulations on the new job. Besides playing piano is the best cure for the stress a new job can bring.
Posted By: ShiroKuro

Re: New job: concerned no more time for piano - 08/16/19 01:29 PM

WeakLeftHand, you're getting lots of good suggestions here, but I will add a few in case it's helpful.

I think the most important thing is to always fee like you're making some progress, however incremental, and to never feel like you've been away from the piano for very long. I have managed to stay with my piano practicing through full time jobs, full time graduate school and dissertating, and now a fulltime teaching+research position. Here are the things I find that help me.

1) get a wall calendar and put it somewhere you can see it. Whenever you practice piano, put a star (or a P or whatever) on the square for that day. Aim to always have at least 5 stars each week, and periodically take a minute to look at the calendar and congratulate yourself for sticking with it. If you miss a day, don't beat yourself up, but make sure you get piano time the next day/ I always want to make sure there are never two days in row when I haven't played. Using the calendar takes away any uncertainty about how many days I've played or not played.

2) Even if I don't have much time, 15 to 30 minutes at the piano is better than zero, so I always have something I can sit down and get right into practicing on, whether it's a new piece, scales/technique work, or maintaining repertoire pieces. If I'm super tired, I do repertoire playing. If I have more energy, I work on something new. I get a star on the calendar either way.

3) On days when it seems like I don't have any time, 15-30 minutes before bed is always do-able.

4) On days off when I have other plans or when I plan to spend the whole day with my husband, I can still put in 15-30 minutes in the morning before whatever activity is planned.

5) I have almost completely replaced TV with piano.

6) Have some achievable goals to work toward, whether it's an ABF recital or a friend coming over to hear you play etc. Preparing for a lesson is also another good goal. These mini goals are very motivating and help keep me at the piano consistently.

7) Remember that if you make sure to get 15-30 minutes at the piano most days most of the time, you will progress. And two or three years down the road when your work schedule becomes more manageable and you suddenly have more time to devote to piano, you will be able to maximize that time. The alternative is, you quit piano until there's magically time for it, and if you do get back to regular practicing, you will have missed all that valuable practice time in the interim.

Good luck! You can make it work!
Posted By: enw10

Re: New job: concerned no more time for piano - 08/16/19 01:48 PM

I'm not saying this is your situation, but the thing that freed up a lot of time for me was getting rid of social media (I still use this forum and youtube, but only when I'm at my computer working). Instead of reaching for my phone to check my facebook feed when I have a couple of minutes, I sit at my piano and play through a piece or two. I've noticed my daughter does the same thing. As soon as I'm like, "You've been on your phone long enough today. Let's put it away for the rest of the night," she seems to wander around aimlessly for a couple of minutes and almost always ends up at the piano (or in her bed with a book).

So, I guess my point is that it's important to really evaluate where your time is going, and make sure that it's going to things that are either necessary or bring you joy. I think for a lot of people (again, maybe not you) there's a lot of "filler" time that could be better spent.
Posted By: bSharp(C)yclist

Re: New job: concerned no more time for piano - 08/16/19 02:09 PM

Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by bSharp(C)yclist
Make time for it, WeakLeftHand! I'm in a similar situation, sort of. I move in with my girlfriend next month.

Things have been progressing well, I see thumb


Hopefully it continues to progress, but know I'll be practicing less due to other responsibilities. I will make time each day though to practice. My girlfriend has a Kawai acoustic, so maybe I can play with that. But not sure if we need 2 pianos. She wants to keep it because she thinks she'll take lessons one day. I doubt it. She hasn't touched it in decades. But if she decides to start, which would be from scratch, she would need to practice everyday. Not sure if she would commit to that.

@ShiroKuro +1 to replacing TV with Piano.
Posted By: Animisha

Re: New job: concerned no more time for piano - 08/16/19 02:42 PM

More warnings from me! smile As several people advice you to put your alarm earlier so you can get some practice done before going to work, I want to say that this is a great idea as long as you are able to get into bed earlier the night before. Sleep is maybe the most important way for the body-mind to recover, and especially when you're in a lot of stressful situation during the day, it is important to make your need for sleep a priority.
Posted By: EPW

Re: New job: concerned no more time for piano - 08/16/19 04:52 PM

Don't give up and just adjust your schedule. Also can you prepare some meals ahead of time. That is what our family did with our crazy schedule. Even 15 minutes in the morning while coffee is brewing etc should be easy to squeeze in. I still try to play the piano for 15-20 minutes instead of watching TV at night. I got into the habit of sitting down at the piano after my shower. It has been a great way to unwind and relax. Plus I seem to get more done in this shorter time period because I only tackle little sections at a time. Since you want to follow the RCM path, just stretch it out. Don't give it up. Think like the Tortoise and where you will be in 5+ years with the piano if you keep practicing.

Good luck with the new position WeakLeftHand smile
Posted By: TomInCinci

Re: New job: concerned no more time for piano - 08/16/19 04:56 PM

I'm not anyone's poster boy for normalcy but my teacher always said I did better when I was on the burn out phase of a project and was struggling to even get in 20 minutes of practice in the morning.
Posted By: cmb13

Re: New job: concerned no more time for piano - 08/16/19 05:13 PM

I generally work about 10 hr days. Sleep 8 if I can. That leaves 6 left over ::)).

I try to practice for 60-90 minutes but break it down into a few sessions, as someone suggested above. Typically, I'll get home around 6, spend 15 min doing some scales / arpeggios / technical exercises, have dinner with my family, spend 15-30 min on some (masochistic) Bach practice, and possibly some sight reading lately, then chat with my wife or watch a show, then play my reach piece (currently Clair de Lune) for about 30 minutes, working on a specific section.

But wouldn't it be nice if there were 26 hours in the day! And while we're on it, whose idea was it that the typical work week should be 5 days of 7? Wouldn't 3.5 / 7 make more sense?
Posted By: Tyrone Slothrop

Re: New job: concerned no more time for piano - 08/16/19 05:23 PM

Originally Posted by cmb13
But wouldn't it be nice if there were 26 hours in the day! And while we're on it, whose idea was it that the typical work week should be 5 days of 7? Wouldn't 3.5 / 7 make more sense?

Germany, then?
Posted By: cmb13

Re: New job: concerned no more time for piano - 08/16/19 05:43 PM

Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by cmb13
But wouldn't it be nice if there were 26 hours in the day! And while we're on it, whose idea was it that the typical work week should be 5 days of 7? Wouldn't 3.5 / 7 make more sense?

Germany, then?

First the autobahn, now this??
thumb thumb
Posted By: ShiroKuro

Re: New job: concerned no more time for piano - 08/16/19 05:46 PM

Quote
Wouldn't 3.5 / 7 make more sense?


Yes!!! We can only dream (or move to Germany, but i don't speak German so, dream it is!)
Posted By: EPW

Re: New job: concerned no more time for piano - 08/16/19 06:37 PM

I practiced from 10pm till 11:30 most nights when I got back into piano at 29-30 years of age. Did that for several years smile I didn't have to be at work till 9:30am with a 35min commute. So it worked out for me. There were times I couldn't practice at all because the next morning I was going down to warehouse to pick an order for our business. I usually was down at the warehouse at 5am. That would happen several times in each month. Those days I usually tried to play and doodle at the keyboard for 15-30minutes. Don't give up WeakLeftHand and enjoy the journey.....
Posted By: cmb13

Re: New job: concerned no more time for piano - 08/16/19 06:39 PM

Originally Posted by ShiroKuro

Yes!!! We can only dream (or move to Germany, but i don't speak German so, dream it is!)

Idea for a new thread.......
Basic German for the piano dreamers!
Posted By: malkin

Re: New job: concerned no more time for piano - 08/16/19 11:56 PM

Originally Posted by cmb13
Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by cmb13
But wouldn't it be nice if there were 26 hours in the day! And while we're on it, whose idea was it that the typical work week should be 5 days of 7? Wouldn't 3.5 / 7 make more sense?

Germany, then?

First the autobahn, now this??
thumb thumb


Not to mention the beer!
Posted By: WeakLeftHand

Re: New job: concerned no more time for piano - 08/17/19 12:34 AM

So happy to hear that other people in the same boat have been able to work around it. Gives me much encouragement. I hope I can make it work too because I so much enjoy learning piano and it does act as a stress reliever for me. Even when I’m frustrated with my piano learning and want to pound on my piano and pull my hair out, it’s not the same kind of stress as work stress and is weirdly therapeutic. When I play my piano, all my worldly worries disappear so I must continue!

I just need to be ok with 15 minutes, or 30 minutes...and if I cannot do an hour every day, I need to learn to be ok with that.

Thanks for the encouragement guys!
Posted By: thepianoplayer416

Re: New job: concerned no more time for piano - 08/17/19 01:02 AM

Our weekly activities is the matter of planning. Once I had to consider traveling across town to get to my music lessons vs paying the teacher a bit more to get to my home. The 2 hours wasted on the road was a big deal. I used watch a lot of TV and put off piano practice. As busy as our work schedule is, not many people put in 12h workdays. Even finding half-an-hour in between for music practice takes a lot of stress out of our daily living. Nowadays I tend to watch a lot less TV and spend more time playing music.
Posted By: SarahGeoffrey

Re: New job: concerned no more time for piano - 08/17/19 01:20 PM

I usually practice a little when I wake up (even though I realised it's not that effective because I think my brain is still sleeping and my fingers do not obey as quickly ;), and before I go to bed. Sometimes I finish as late as 2.am, but its quite effective!
Posted By: Tyrone Slothrop

Re: New job: concerned no more time for piano - 08/17/19 01:21 PM

Originally Posted by SarahGeoffrey
I usually practice a little when I wake up (even though I realised it's not that effective because I think my brain is still sleeping and my fingers do not obey as quickly ;), and before I go to bed. Sometimes I finish as late as 2.am, but its quite effective!

Same, my best practice occurs between 2am and 4am.
Posted By: NobleHouse

Re: New job: concerned no more time for piano - 08/17/19 01:24 PM

Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by SarahGeoffrey
I usually practice a little when I wake up (even though I realised it's not that effective because I think my brain is still sleeping and my fingers do not obey as quickly ;), and before I go to bed. Sometimes I finish as late as 2.am, but its quite effective!

Same, my best practice occurs between 2am and 4am.


I do my best sleeping between 2am and 4am grin
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