Music and Significant Others

Discussion in 'Lifestyle, Health, Fitness & Food' started by EcoliUVA, Aug 10, 2017.

  1. EcoliUVA

    EcoliUVA Not Gifted

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    Jul 9, 2010
    Greensboro, NC
    So I know there used to be a giant relationships thread on here, back when I was more active, but this is a bit more targeted. Along those lines, sorry for disappearing, I've just been happy with my playing and haven't needed advice. Now I come back when I need something, typical selfish bastard me.

    About a decade ago, I got really serious about guitar/music. I was at the time and still am with the same SO, about a year after we got together. I would practice for 3 or 4 hours a day after work. It wasn't a problem then.

    Now, I'm lucky if I can find 1.5-2 hours, and that's basically due to intentionally cutting sleep and/or leaving work early (I'm salaried, so I'm not taking a pay cut to do so, I just have to manage workload). So it's a bit precarious, but doable. I made these changes after finding out that my SO was no longer happy with me spending as much time on music. I think much of this comes from her resentment of me putting the band "first" rather than her. In reality, I can't rank them in a list. They are both huge parts of who I am, and I love them both and want both things to grow. I'm not trying to pin this on her or make her seem unreasonable, just trying to explain the situation.

    How do you guys in relationships, who are passionate about your craft, make ends meet? I'm speaking specifically to guys who have another job besides music to pay the bills. It's not to the point of "It's me or the band," but I fear it might not be far off if I can't do something about it.
  2. Demiurge

    Demiurge Intrepid Jackass

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    Dec 25, 2005
    Worcester, MA
    This is huge cliche, but relationships require a lot of compromise. However, it seems that real compromise rarely happens: usually it shakes-out that one person feels like they need to unilaterally surrender something (which in turn foments resentment, etc.) if there isn't good communication.

    Any two people entering a relationship should recognize that the other person, much like themselves, has interests, friends, a career- basically a life of their own. BUT there's that delicate balance where one recognizes that being with someone means that you're both sacrificing time away from your existing lives to be together while there might be elements of that person's life that was part of the attraction.

    In other words, your girl knew that you were in a band and that you have strong practice habits at the outset; it's even possible that your creativity and discipline was something she was attracted-to. To expect you to give that all up would be unfair and plausibly not intended on her part.

    At the same time, though, the idiom "spending time" is apt- it's a resource oftentimes in short supply that needs to be budgeted. To be in a relationship and to spend time with someone means that the time needs to be re-allocated from somewhere. Mirroring a statement from above, to expect to be able to maintain a schedule of 4-hour daily practice sessions with her not feeling like an afterthought isn't fair, either.
    coffeeflush and tedtan like this.
  3. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    Dec 7, 2005
    St. Johnsbury, VT USA
    It's the progression of life, I think. You practice a lot, get very good, then restructure your priorities to focus on your other career or family.

    When I moved in with my now wife, I had a music habit - it was a vice. I played in half a dozen gigging bands, I owned over 30 guitars, etc. It wasn't really healthy at that point. My main original band was gigging only once a month or so, but I was playing "Brown Eyed Girl" at clubs sometimes four times in one week with four different bands. I thought I was ready to move on. It was a massive adjustment for me to leave all of that and not be in any bands, instead working 17+ hours a day at construction sites and selling half of my guitars in order to put a down payment on a house. I don't think that was any healthier for me at all, but in the end, it was all about striking a balance. Now I can hop around between jamming with different people and subbing in for bands while working on my own musical projects and working one 40 (technically 45-50) hr/wk job and also struggling to pretend to know what I am doing with home upkeep. A huge part of that was getting a job that paid a livable wage.
    coffeeflush, tedtan and Demiurge like this.
  4. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    Jun 8, 2007
    Gatineau, Quebec
    Honestly, that reads to me as a sign of an unhealthy relationship to begin with. It drives me batty when people demand that anyone else makes them a priority. That's not how a partnership works. A compatible partner is supposed to work and live WITH you, not FOR you. Demanding that you drop something you're passionate about just for the sake of paying extra attention to her is unreasonable, IMO. If you've struck an unhealthy balance between your hobbies and other parts of your life, then that's a reasonable thing to have a discussion about- but nobody should have the right to tell you what your priorities should be.

    If I was ever presented with "it's me or the band", the band wins. Sorry, not sorry. That's probably a part of why I often just stay single. :lol: :2c:

    Edit: You could replace "band" with almost anything else and it would be the same answer. "It's me or X" usually means X wins in my books.
    tedtan, bostjan and Demiurge like this.
  5. tedtan

    tedtan Regular

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    Dec 2, 2009
    Never Neverland
    I don't know the specifics, so I can say that 4 hours per day is an unreasonable amount of time to spend on music each day, but maybe it is in your situation.

    How much time do you spend with your SO daily?
  6. Necris

    Necris Bonitis.

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    Dec 22, 2009
    Somewhere in New York
    I'm going to approach this from a slightly different angle. You claim to practice on a daily basis for three to four hours, I'd like to invite you to share your practice regimen. My reason for doing so is pretty simple: many musicians have a very warped view of what actually constitutes practice. To actually be practicing for 3 to 4 hours every day 7 days a week you must have a set routine of exercises for skill building which you adhere to and a repertoire which you're seeking to maintain.

    If you have no schedule you're adhering to it's likely that your 4 hour practice sessions are actually largely jamming/noodling sessions with some exercises/repertoire maintenance interspersed throughout and that these sessions can probably be reduced to 45 minutes to an hour of focused skill building exercises and be just as effective.

    Edit: I just saw that you've reduced to 1.5-2 hours at most - I skimmed over that the first time somehow. I'd recommend building yourself a practice schedule - an hour to an hour and a half of actual practice should be plenty of time for skill maintenance. I wouldn't recommend foregoing sleep or frequently leaving work early for practice purposes, personally.
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2017

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