How do you cope with practicing with family members bustling around the house?
I am a pianist and a violinist (obviously, or I wouldn't be on a violinist site), and even though if I am practicing the violin with my family home I'll do it in my bedroom, it's still distracting, but at least there's a wall to separate us.
My piano is a different case. It's out in the open, where the most traffic is. It can't fit in my bedroom, and I've wished a million times that it would, although that would be no good, either, because I have a ball python in my room, and the piano's vibrations would stress her out.
Anyway, I don't think I've practiced the piano in at least two weeks. I walk by it every day, and I'm pierced with guilt and sadness and annoyance.
It kind of started in October when my mom had a concussion. Obviously I couldn't practice until she was out of the house, which was fine, because she couldn't help it. Same for the violin.
Once she was better, I tried to practice a bit with people home, but couldn't. They are too distracting for me. It never bothered me much before (occasionally, but not often), but now it does.
I wait until everyone is out of the house, but that doesn't happen much, especially now that the truck is at the mechanic's and my brother has to take the car back and forth to school.
I love both instruments dearly, but I can't focus with everyone going about their daily lives.
Does anyone else have this issue, and how are you able to practice?
Thanks in advance.
You could maybe find a local church that would let you use a room somewhere (most are not fully utilized during days).
I would look for a weighted action 88 key keyboard and practice it in your room with earphones on.Most of them have an earphone jack on the back.
This'll only work with violin and when the weather's decent, but maybe you can find a quiet place outdoors? Maybe you can find a nearby distraction-free building to practice in? I practice in noisy environments and just ignore the noise. However, everyone's brain is different, so maybe ignoring won't work for you.
Before October, you could usually practice with people around. Now you find it difficult to impossible. This is you, not them. What changed in you?
If it is appropriate, a pianist may go up a level from the portable keyboard that has already been mentioned to a real "silent" piano that can be used as a normal piano with all the playing characteristics of the real thing (which it in fact is), or in the silent mode where the pianist can only hear it through headphones.
Play really, really, poorly for 10 minutes (maybe start with bad violin playing that's even better!) And after they all run for cover the house is yours!
Focus and concentration, are related to willpower, and they are not really talents. They are skills that need regular practice to maintain them and improve them. You are hurting those skills of yours by not doing it because "it is difficult" or distracting.
Yesterday morning I decided to go to work a bit late to get some practice time after the rest of the family were off to work/school. After about 20 minutes the phone rang. It was my 18 year old daughter asking me to stop. She had the morning off from school and was calling from her bed......
Unlike say, reading an email and talking to someone on your cell phone at the same time, music needs to be heard and in order to improve you need some degree of concentration, so I can sympathize with the the OP.
A few solutions might be getting a violin mute, plug the f holes to muffle the sound, practice outside if it's a nice day or if you're practicing technique use an un rosined bow. Sometimes I even practice late at night when my family is asleep. And for piano if you could you might be able to buy an electronic piano and just use your headphones.
Consider buying one of those portable Booth rooms.
Never mind humans, my cat Lola would do anything to stop me practicing. She was either a true music lover and critic, or she hated it.
I just don't do anything. Your family is distracting because they're around. My family is distracting because they don't waste a second in telling me that I should just stop. But I just tone them out. :)
You have to learn, like most professional players do, to work in a noisy distracting environment and blank everything out except what you are playing. Practising in an orchestral environment in a tea break say, when lot's of other players are bashing away, means you have to concentrate on just what you are doing. It's easy to find excuses, but hard to bite the bullet. (End of sermon).
An electric piano is an obvious solution, but do you really want to solve the problem or give up piano?
Enjoy them while you have them.
I also find useful the question 'how to not distract other members of the house from doing their work when I put on my cat-screaming show'.
A violin practice mute fixes half of the problem. But they haven't yet invented a practice mute for singers so I can't practice my vocal stuff when anybody else is in the house. When my daughter plays scottish bag-pipes all other activity in the house stops. It's so loud it's like having your brain nailed to the wall.
Oh bagpipes are the worst! No offence but I’ve no idea why such instrument still exists, and becomes national sort of icon.
Timothy, not to go off on a tangent, but there was at least one televised study that shows women in general are much better than men in multitasking or dealing with multiple pieces of information at the same time, Men on the other hand are better at focusing on one thing. So there is something to the “single minded male”
Even if you're just playing the violin and doing nothing else at the time, there's still some multitasking going on. Your left and right hands are doing two entirely different things, and whether you're reading sheet music or improvising your next notes, that's a third task either way.
I once attended a seminar about the differences between men and women.
We're getting into quicksand territory here.....