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  1. #1

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    I wasn't too sure of where to post this.

    I'm just curious, for those of you that have kids, how does it effect your musical lives?

    What are the challenges of having a guitar + a child in your life?

    What are the benefits?

    Weird, I know, but having a little girl of my own brings new challenges and new perspectives in my own musical trajectory. Just the other day, she picked up a rattle and was trying to shake it to the beat of Count Basie. Maybe she'll be a drummer?

    Who knows. But having a kid (or many) definitely makes studying the guitar a little different.

    Thoughts? Perspectives? Stories?

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  3. #2

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    My family life only involves having a wife. Still having a family involves thinking of others, financial responsibility, looking to the future.

    Guitar gets put into perspective, except for the very few that make a good living at music, it is a something one primarily does for ones self. That is the perspective.
    Last edited by fep; 04-24-2019 at 02:02 PM.
    B+
    Frank (aka fep)

  4. #3
    My baby (of 4) is 18 now. We've shared a lot of music TOGETHER, as I have with all my kids. They all play some and sing etc, to one degree or another. I play a Thinline in the family room which isn't too loud.

    Once they get a little older they're gone a good bit. You spend a period time thinking you'll never get them out of diapers. Then, in what seems like a week, they're grown. Blink of an eye, really. You have to make some choices. There are a lot of OTHER things I don't do so that I can play.

  5. #4

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    Be sure they know your priorities put them before music. When you are serious about music, they know it, so it's a balancing act sometimes.

    Daddy spends more time with his guitar than me....I must be shit...

    Don't let this happen.

  6. #5

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    The hardest thing from a musical perspective when your kids are young is that your performing/composing ego can take a back seat. My wife use to work longer days than me so it meant a lot of energy, attention and time spent around my children. However, it was all worth it - we made a lot of music together and they've become excellent musicians and human beings. My daughter, now 22 has recently graduated from the conservatorium majoring in voice and my son, 18 is a great piano player, composes and is studying music and sound design.

    As Matt says, there have to be sacrifices: mine is that I haven't watched any TV for 15 years which is not a great loss really. I'm back performing regularly (we all played a gig together recently) and planning to record soon with a quartet so it's been a fun ride!

  7. #6
    Everything is easy when you are alone, in fact sometimes one have too much time on ones hands.

    When you have a family, there is never enough time for anything!!
    Last edited by greveost; 04-21-2019 at 05:48 AM.
    Playing a solo over my friends song Cookie and Cream, Amiga Wave

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iJHqt_lpyKM

    Jammin over Long ago and far away

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Kc_G_MuaIg

  8. #7

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    When the kids were very young, I hardly touched the guitar for a few years. No time whatsoever!

    But when they were a bit older, I got a bit of time back, though still not much. I sort of lost interest a bit.

    When my son was 9, he started classical guitar lessons at school, and this fired me up to get back to the classical guitar, and I played it a lot for about a year. This in turn got my jazz enthusiasm going again, and after that I played jazz guitar a lot more.

    So it has ups and downs really. But I can’t imagine not having a family, and as cosmic said, they must come first.

  9. #8

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    Your question reminds me of Mr Beaumont's videos in which a kid always seems to pop up expectantly. Doesn't seem to get in the way of his playing (though I wonder if his tune titles are a result of sleep deprivation )

  10. #9

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    Boy, there's so much to say about this...ill type a real response later. Right now I need to search for three missing hardboiled eggs the Easter Bunny forgot where he hid last night.
    Jeff Matz, Jazz Guitar:
    http://www.youtube.com/user/jeffreymatz

    "Jazz is like life...it goes on longer than you think, and as soon as you're like 'oh, I get it,' it ends."

    --The Ghost of Duke Ellington

  11. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont View Post
    Boy, there's so much to say about this...ill type a real response later. Right now I need to search for three missing hardboiled eggs the Easter Bunny forgot where he hid last night.
    I think you just said it all!

  12. #11

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    Fun -- and serious! -- question, Irez!

    I have a freshman in college and a freshman in high school. Music is my passion, not my "job" (I'm a psychologist), so my response comes from the perspective that I play for fun, and not to support my family financially.

    "Balance" has always been the mantra in our household. Of course when the kids were babies, there was little time for anything other than the "survival" aspects of feeding, changing diapers, and then collapsing, but as they got older, and became involved in sports, etc., music was "scheduled" for me just like everything else was scheduled. I've always gigged throughout these years (although never as much as I'd like!), taken lessons, and practiced; I came to terms years ago that I will never be Vic Juris (my senior) or Mike Moreno (my junior), yet I strive to improve my playing and be the best I can become in this lifetime, and that's OK.

  13. #12

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    My kids have always grown up around instruments and have a couple themselves that are largely ignored until they want to pretend. I don’t mind - they might figure out later how great it is and I don’t want to put any pressure on them to learn and possibly resent the instrument.

    Regarding my own playing, I’m constantly playing on the couch or recording, but the kids know that I’ll stop to check out whatever they’re working on (my daughter is huge into art and my son likes making Mario levels for me to try to beat) unless I’ve got headphones on (recording) or they see that I’m doing a video. 90% of the time I’m just practicing and they have no complaints.

  14. #13

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    We raised our son with a lot of music. We took him to jams before he could walk. I took him to shows when he was 5 or 6. We played recordings of all kinds of music at home and he heard me playing daily. We got him percussion instruments when he was a few years old and taught him some beats.

    At 16 he recorded an album of all original music. Now he does backing tracks for a rap group. He can hear harmony and odd meters better than I ever could. For recreation, he'll pick a country at random and find some of the local music to listen to.

    I believe it's like learning to speak a language without an accent. You have to start young.

    He's away at college now and we still text about music. It's part of how we relate to each other -- and it's a part that doesn't have emotional baggage. Even when other aspects of the relationship may be tense, we can always share music.

    As far as gigging -- I didn't do that for a living. Family always came first.

  15. #14

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    Whew...

    Well, finally sitting down today...there was a little Cab left in a bottle from dinner, so I've poured it for myself, and I'll try to give you a real response...

    I've had a few situations in my life where music was my sole source of income, and man...I hope to never go back there. It's tough, and I have utmost respect for anyone who can do it.

    Music, jazz...its my passion, I guess. It's what makes me "me." And for that it's important. It's not easy to find time for it always...it was Spring break this week...I picked up the guitar a handful of times at most...but a little is better than nothing. It's important to have a self identity...I've seen several friends basically give up who they were when they got married or had kids...and they're unhappy people.

    I'm lucky, I married a woman who had no desire to change me. Nor do I want to change her.

    Music is a part of every day life in my house, but I'd be making up stories if I told you my kids dig Eric Dolphy and beg me to play standards for them on the guitar. That's just not reality.

    There's always guitars out about the house, and my kids like when I play...sometimes, if they're wrapped up in something, I'll get to practice...but usually its "daddy, play the batman song"...or the Mario theme, or hedwig's theme from harry potter...or more importantly, its "daddy let's build legos" or play catch or pretend to be a zombie. And all of that is a hell of a lot more important than my guitar playing. Or should I say more urgent. Guitar can wait.

    I make time for myself though. I wake up early, or stay up late. It's worth it, because I'm daddy, yeah, but I'm still Jeff too...I paint, I cook, I play the guitar...and I'm better at being daddy when I'm balanced instead of spread thin.

    It takes a lot of work to be able to relax and enjoy life. Shit...that sounds horribly self-defeatist... but its not.

    My kids will be little once. I got one shot at this...a few years from now, they'll be able to go off with their friends without me, the most embarrassing person alive, in tow. If all goes right we'll come out on the other side of that as close again...I'm close with my pops...so I just try to follow his example.

    Life is good when you're a dad. You got the most important job on earth, I guess.

    I'm rambling.. full of grilled lamb and pastitsio (photo below) Easter...family, grub...I played a little guitar after dinner tonight, my grandma (going strong at 89) wanted to hear "The Way You Look Tonight."

    You make time for the important things in life...and make no mistake, your own creativity, your passion, your mental health, it's very important. Sometimes it has to wait, but it shouldn't be ignored.

    Be a great dad first. Well, fuck that, we're all just trying our best and we all screw up. Be a DAD first, as best you can, and if you get that in check, you can still be you, too. I think you can...God knows I'm trying.Family Life + Guitar Life = ?-20190421_154309-jpg
    Jeff Matz, Jazz Guitar:
    http://www.youtube.com/user/jeffreymatz

    "Jazz is like life...it goes on longer than you think, and as soon as you're like 'oh, I get it,' it ends."

    --The Ghost of Duke Ellington

  16. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont View Post
    Whew...

    Well, finally sitting down today...there was a little Cab left in a bottle from dinner, so I've poured it for myself, and I'll try to give you a real response...

    I've had a few situations in my life where music was my sole source of income, and man...I hope to never go back there. It's tough, and I have utmost respect for anyone who can do it.

    Music, jazz...its my passion, I guess. It's what makes me "me." And for that it's important. It's not easy to find time for it always...it was Spring break this week...I picked up the guitar a handful of times at most...but a little is better than nothing. It's important to have a self identity...I've seen several friends basically give up who they were when they got married or had kids...and they're unhappy people.

    I'm lucky, I married a woman who had no desire to change me. Nor do I want to change her.

    Music is a part of every day life in my house, but I'd be making up stories if I told you my kids dig Eric Dolphy and beg me to play standards for them on the guitar. That's just not reality.

    There's always guitars out about the house, and my kids like when I play...sometimes, if they're wrapped up in something, I'll get to practice...but usually its "daddy, play the batman song"...or the Mario theme, or hedwig's theme from harry potter...or more importantly, its "daddy let's build legos" or play catch or pretend to be a zombie. And all of that is a hell of a lot more important than my guitar playing. Or should I say more urgent. Guitar can wait.

    I make time for myself though. I wake up early, or stay up late. It's worth it, because I'm daddy, yeah, but I'm still Jeff too...I paint, I cook, I play the guitar...and I'm better at being daddy when I'm balanced instead of spread thin.

    It takes a lot of work to be able to relax and enjoy life. Shit...that sounds horribly self-defeatist... but its not.

    My kids will be little once. I got one shot at this...a few years from now, they'll be able to go off with their friends without me, the most embarrassing person alive, in tow. If all goes right we'll come out on the other side of that as close again...I'm close with my pops...so I just try to follow his example.

    Life is good when you're a dad. You got the most important job on earth, I guess.

    I'm rambling.. full of grilled lamb and pastitsio (photo below) Easter...family, grub...I played a little guitar after dinner tonight, my grandma (going strong at 89) wanted to hear "The Way You Look Tonight."

    You make time for the important things in life...and make no mistake, your own creativity, your passion, your mental health, it's very important. Sometimes it has to wait, but it shouldn't be ignored.

    Be a great dad first. Well, fuck that, we're all just trying our best and we all screw up. Be a DAD first, as best you can, and if you get that in check, you can still be you, too. I think you can...God knows I'm trying.Family Life + Guitar Life = ?-20190421_154309-jpg
    Great post.

  17. #16

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    All I know is that it is tough and depends on each individual’s set of priorities. I personally have always been very dedicated to life-consuming disciplines. When I was young, I was set on becoming a monk and/or a priest. I spent a good chunk of a year at a Byzantine monastery in the Mojave desert and I enrolled at one time in seminary. My trajectory ultimately has changed but my anchorite focus and discipline has not. It has become part of my DNA. I work in a researchy discipline and I have never stopped receiving graduate and post-graduate education since I initially got my diplomas. I am actually going to be starting a second masters degree next year while continuing to work full-time and simultaneously trying to expand my musical network. Everyone has a unique calling. I don’t think I’m ever going to be a good musician (in fact I feel keep getting worse the more I practice), but musical praxis is a cornerstone of my identity. In my particular case, all the other cornerstones are reserved with academic and professional content as well. I don’t have Dadness in my blood and I think I’ve known it for a long time. But along with this same acknowledgment I also feel tremendous respect to balanced and woke dads like Jeff here.
    Last edited by omphalopsychos; 04-22-2019 at 12:48 PM.

  18. #17

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    I kept writing a bunch of stuff, but I think I narrowed it down. If I could let go of the idea of Getting Better at Guitar, this wouldn't be a problem for me.
    White belt
    My Youtube

  19. #18

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    Great posts here, was particularly touched by Jeff's. It sounds corny, but I found them supportive. I'm a new, first-time dad at an age when many of my contemporaries have kids in college. So the comments here about balancing family time with music really ring true.

    Before I had a kid I tended to get into hobbies that I pursued pretty seriously. It made life outside work interesting, passionate, even. A few years ago, about when my current wife came along, I realized as my life transitioned I needed to let go of those pursuits, I'd "been there, done that". Now with a 19 month old, I still try to play guitar or trumpet (my other instrument) every day, even if for only 1/2 hr., and get out for a rehearsal or jam one night a week, with an occasional gig. My daughter loves when I play acoustic guitar, and has a real sense of rhythm- but I have to play "John Henry", not Green Dolphin Street! My wife would prefer I hangout with her more instead of "being in the basement", but like Mr. Beaumont said, playing is what makes me be "me".

  20. #19
    Great posts everyone, it definitely gives me perspective and support as well.

    I was just sick and tired of hearing "oh, you have a kid, I guess no more guitar, right?"

    Music is what helps me breath everyday--it's gotten me through the best and the worst of times.

    To give up music entirely would be like chopping off a limb.

    Being a new dad is challenging (to say the least)r, but when I get a smile or a giggle--I melt inside.

    My daughter is 4 months old, and a squirmy wormy--but she just starting shaking her rattle to music!

    It's so weird having a little human being look up to you--I'm her parent? Me?

    Today was her first plane ride, she flew up to Seattle to meet the grand ma ma's. I'll have to get her some baby flannel and mix some coffee into her milk.

    And playing Baby Shark ain't that bad, look at this:


  21. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by Irez87 View Post
    I wasn't too sure of where to post this.

    I'm just curious, for those of you that have kids, how does it effect your musical lives?

    What are the challenges of having a guitar + a child in your life?

    What are the benefits?

    Weird, I know, but having a little girl of my own brings new challenges and new perspectives in my own musical trajectory. Just the other day, she picked up a rattle and was trying to shake it to the beat of Count Basie. Maybe she'll be a drummer?

    Who knows. But having a kid (or many) definitely makes studying the guitar a little different.

    Thoughts? Perspectives? Stories?
    I keep getting my kid and my guitar confused. Hint: watch where you plug in the cable, and keep your nails short. If you think guitar feedback sounds bad ...

    But seriously -- the challenge for me is time. With a full-time day job, and a full slate of family stuff (challenges and pleasures), practicing and/or sessions/gigs happen in the gaps. On the other hand, the constraints have probably made me use the time more efficiently. My practicing is more targeted than it used to be. My son will be in high school next year, though, and is getting much more independent, plus I'll inevitably be less involved in his activities, so I'll probably look at this question differently a year from now.

    John

  22. #21
    Birth of my child is the direct reason I'm a decent jazz player now.
    Once he was born, I could no longer continue my primary hobby/avocation, which had been multi-day biking or backpacking adventures. Rather than getting depressed about having to put away the bike and backpack, I channeled my energy into jazz music, a reasonably safe and near-home endeavor.
    Sure, I had to set boundaries for practice time but it also forced me to be efficient and focused in the woodshed, which is a great thing. (Note: I've long since cut out all TV watching, except occasional sporting events.)
    And now, my boy just turned 10. He plays trumpet in a kids' jazz ensemble and he and I often "jam" at home. He hums hard bop heads while getting dressed for school.
    We recently put up some soundproofing and now I'm teaching my wife to play bass (short scale).
    So rather than Family vs. Guitar, it's more that I'm growing my own trio.
    Last edited by TommyBrooklyn; 05-02-2019 at 11:16 AM.

  23. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by Irez87 View Post
    I'm just curious, for those of you that have kids, how does it effect your musical lives?
    What are the challenges of having a guitar + a child in your life?
    What are the benefits?

    ...

    Thoughts? Perspectives? Stories?
    Major change: All the abundance of free time I did not realize I had before is gone. As in totally obliterated. This has to do with the fact that compared to modern standards, our head count is pretty big (5+ for the entire family) and managing this posse is sometimes a bit of an exercise in time and space management.

    But the biggest thing for me in the end was that even though I can find the brief moments to noodle around or rehearse some technical thing I feel needs work - I don't really have the time to write songs nor record any demos anymore. It just takes too much time.

    I also have switched pretty much totally from electric guitar to nylon string acoustic, because it's quicker to grab and start playing.

    But I'm pretty happy I did not stop playing completely at any point, even though there have been times that thought has entered my mind. I just love it too much to quit totally. And at some point I'll have the time to do some songwriting again..

  24. #23

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    Family first. Always.
    Best regards, k

  25. #24

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    When I had kids at home, we all played. So very little TV, music instead, worked out well. The only one who struggled with it was non-musical wife #1.

    Wife #2, also non-musical, married understanding she was marrying a musician, and understands that I will not be held hostage against my music time. I gig almost every week, for 800-1000 people, and Jesus. I must be ready for the gig, so that's how it is.

    God first, family second.

  26. #25

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    I haven't visited for a long time but note that Reg523 hasn't posted for 2 years. I hope everything is ok but I really use to look forward to his vids.

  27. #26

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    Reg last posted here about a month ago.

  28. #27

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    Thanks graham bop. What I really meant, and should have made it clearer, was that Reg hadn't posted any vids on YouTube in the last 2 years. I'm specifically looking for one on Jobim's Wave which he said he could put up in time. I'm afraid I don't understand his numbering system of the videos so don't have the time to trawl through them. Any help much appreciated. And apologies if this is now in the wrong thread.

  29. #28

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    Great posts here.

    As a relatively new dad (4 yr old + a 6 month old), it was all about finding proper balance and sacrificing in some areas to keep guitar going. I work a full time job during the day, come home and spend time with family until the kids go to bed, and then spend time with my wife (play a board game, watch a show etc.). I hardly ever miss that "date" portion of the evening with my wife for guitar, if only for a rehearsal or if I have a gig that needs extra preparation. After that, I can get in a solid 2 hours of practice before needing to sleep.

    I treat that practice portion like a job (in a fun sense though), where I do that 5 nights a week, and then allow myself to do other activities in that evening portion on the weekend. I'm really fortunate that my wife is also a musician, and understands/supports my drive.

    As silly as it might sound, I used to be heavily into competitive gaming after I completed school for my current job, and that took up all my free time in the evenings for a period of about 2 years, in which I had essentially given up on guitar. It was only after I recognized the toll it was taking on my mental health that I started scaling back, and getting a few more gigs here and there that reignited my passion. After canning competitive games completely as a hobby, I'm now having more fun than ever and the reward is greater. There's no pressure or expectation of how good I "need" to be, I just practice as I can with discipline and enjoy the process wherever it takes me.

  30. #29

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    Rule #1; Make sure they know their place on the tour bus.
    Rule #2 Make them wear ear protection at all times, especially the kids when on the tour bus.
    Rule #3 Teach them (wife?) how to be your guitar tech. It will keep them busy, and out of trouble.

    That's how I planned to do it. BUT. I never got married, or had kids. So now I'm thinking about doing this with my 85 year old Mom.
    Maybe not Rules #1 or 2, but, Rule #3 is definitely a possibility

    I think it's important for children to see adults working on things that their passionate about. It shows them what dedication and perseverance can accomplish. In this day and age of instant gratification, it can show them they can do almost anything if their dedicated.

  31. #30

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    Hey, this is a great little thread! I really like to see the humanity shared here in a place where we usually fuss over all aspects of jazz guitar. This is nice to read!

    I've got younger children, too, and the post I've seen have been very thoughtful/reflective and something that I can learn from as well. I truly believe family first, but I like the balance of being true to yourself and how that can impress upon your children as much as making time for their interest.

    I think what's nice is that I've posted on the forum and asked about songs that I can share with my family like novelty jazz tunes, optimistic classics i.e. Pick Yourself Up, and songs like that...and posters are really cool in responding with their song choices on the topic.

    Jazz standards about a good life/positivity

    Anyway, I say keep positive and reflect on the health of your family as well as find ways to give you an excuse to get better at guitar like learning a (jazzed-up) tune to play for the little ones. Yeah, there's a point that you have to physically/mentally devote yourself to the wife & kids, so the axe needs to be put back in the case, but if playing music has a place in your heart & soul, don't deny that part of you either. Pare the priorities so there's more room for the most importing things in your life and identity.

  32. #31

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    I am in Italy now at my in-laws and without a guitar for 3 weeks. I do not speak Italian so it can get rather boring. Since I come offen I am thinking I should get a cheap guitar and keep it here. One often does not know how much they love something until they cannot do it.

  33. #32

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    Hobbies can wait, family first. There's little energy left for guitar after taking care of business, and family. <sigh>

  34. #33

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    I have no kids, so I can't speak to that side of things, but in the past few years I've become overly familiar with the other end of the spectrum: taking care of an elderly parent.

    Mom (89) has dementia and is much closer to the end stage than the beginning. (The consensus is stage 6 on the 7-stage scale, though these things are not cut-and-dried.) She has 3 other children who live in other states, so all her care fell into my lap. Also, since I wasn't married and had no kids, it was widely assumed I had nothing better to do with my life than to take care of her around the clock. Ugh.

    The guitar has been my solace. But the emotional toll of seeing mom decline has been heavy. Having time is a good thing, but when you're exhausted and empty inside, it's hard to make much of it.

    Mom recently entered an assisted-living facility. So I don't take care of her every day. (Though she will still call me and tell me bring her an aspirin or an Alka-Seltzer and I'll say, "Mom, there is a nurse a few feet away from you and it's her job to take care of you!" To which she says, "You're my son." It's the longest road I've ever traveled.
    "Learn the repertoire. It’s all in the songs. If you learn 200 songs, you will have no problem improvising."
    Frank Vignola

  35. #34

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    Quote Originally Posted by jameslovestal View Post
    ... One often does not know how much they love something until they cannot do it.
    Yes!

    You wanna hear how insane it can get?

    I don't fly anymore. I drive everywhere I need to go, and if I can't drive, I don't go.

    Why? Simple. I have to have my guitar and amp, and I don't trust the airlines with either.

    Oh it get's worse. "Afraid to fly." Pretty sure that's not it.

    I was a pilot in the Air Force, for 22 years!

    "Oh the insanity!"

  36. #35

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    Sorry about your Mom, Mark. Stay strong. Been there.
    Best regards, k

  37. #36

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    For me, career was much more of an obstacle to guitar playing than having children. In fact, it was having children that rekindled my interest in guitar. I wanted my kids to be exposed to music in the home, so I dusted off the guitar and played simple tunes for them. It got me in the habit of playing every day again, and I started looking for ways to make my playing a little more interesting. That eventually led to signing up for group lessons for playing from the great American songbook, and I became hooked.

    As my kids became old enough for piano lessons, I was motivated to relearn some of the piano pieces I played as a child (thankfully my mother had kept those books), and when my kids started on wind instruments I tried to relearn a bit of clarinet. I haven’t developed much proficiency with either, but I feel dabbling in a couple of other instruments as well as singing a bit has helped me on guitar.

  38. #37

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    I don't have kids so can't really comment, but I will say I think it is very cool and also heartwarming that so many people describe music as a way of connecting with their kids. as most people are parents, clearly there is a way to make parenting and playing music on a high level work well, and I have to suspect that letting the goals of being a good parent and a good musician serve each other seems like a strategy many have taken.