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Thread: Guitar and Social Life

  1. #1
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    Guitar and Social Life

    Well, this is a question for the more serious guitarists (or musicians) in this forum.
    I've lately noticed that the guitar makes me sacrifice much of my time with friends, and many times when my friends invite me to something, I tend to refuse because I feel I haven't practiced enough this day. I'm starting to feel bad about this, and I wonder if all serious musicians who got to a very high level had to go through this.
    How much social time lost would be ok? Do you guys (who have insane practice schedules) also feel bad about this? It's a big dilemma for me, because I want to enjoy both worlds... I want to be a fine musician AND have social connections. How the hell did John Petrucci manage to practice like crazy, invest so much time in his music and band AND have wife and kids?

  2. #2
    Mad Scientist forgottenking2's Avatar
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    It IS crazy. What I used to do was I'd go through phases... like for a few months I'd go on a technical rampage and practice as much as I could and become a hermit. Then after a while (or when I couldn't take it anymore) I'd start going out and kinda neglect the guitar. Now I'm just content with the fact that some days I'll just practice less than others, my wife requires atention too so there it goes my time. I still need to improve my playing and learn new songs for the kids (students) but I haven't found time to get into a serious band and start gigging again.
    "If God had wanted us to play the piano he would've given us 88 fingers"

  3. #3
    Headbang Master Slaindude's Avatar
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    If you want to know the truth i think i play maybe 5 day a week max and sometimes i play for 20 minutes, sometimes for 3 hours, it all depends. It isnt that much and i have plenty plenty of times for my social life and i can still play guitar nicely, well thats what i think. Just to give you an idea of my playing (not because i want to sound like im the best and bla bla bla, cause i aint the best), i can play almost every metallica's song, some children of bodom, judas priest, AC/DC, in flames, slayer stuff, all stuff including solos. Sometimes i'm working with some ygnwie malmsteen stuff like arpeggios from hell, i can't play it all and accuratly but working on it. Of course, i must mention ive been playing for 5 or 6 years.

    But hey, if you feel you need more social life, give it some! Don't think because your away from your guitar that your not improving. I'm improving right now just by writing this post. How ? Well i'm listening to some music, its a bit of ear training for me, to get used to sound and everything, i try to think of new patterns just by trying to figure out what the guy is playing in the song. Also, even if you don't think of music, things you have learned and trained will gradually take their place in your head and fingers. Its like you can play some lick for 2 hours and not have it done accuratly even once, but by giving some time to your brain and fingers to relax will make them more organize and that will help. The next time you'll play, you'll brain will work less and your fingers too and i'm sure you'll be able to play the lick more acurratly. Social life gives you the time and space to work this all out. Its essential. It gives you energy and also inspiration. Everything i do in my social life reflects upon my playing. Its all the psychological aspects of playing guitar and listening to music. If you believe in it, then you will succeed. Don't be too much of a perfectionnist, i know i am one myself, but even if i would play everyday for 6 hours, i know that they are things that would take a lot of time to nail down. Some things just take time, Give it some and lets drink beer!

    Finally i'm also improving while writing this post cause i can share my thoughts with other people on this great website and i can shape my way of thinking and as we all know (or we should !?), your way of thinking directly connect with your way of playing. Cause it improves the way you see things in your head, the way you hear them and it gets easier and easier to improve, to sort things out.

    Well, sorry for this long post, but hell, give it some time.
    Last edited by Slaindude; 07-23-2004 at 03:46 PM.

  4. #4
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    I have a similar problem, except it tends to be my practice that gets sacraficed in exchange for not being scolded by my old lady. My solution is just to take my guitar every were we go ( She lives with me ) and play every chance I get regardless if its for 6 hours or for 2 minutes, I alwayse keep my binder and metronome handy on me as well. then when shes at work I lock myself in my room with my guitars and bongs and enjoy america! Sigh, I called her my old lady, and im only 19.... its strange going from free at 18 to basicly married at 19, and it has a huge effect on your time, schedual, especialy sence I share my car as well as my home with her. Anyway there is another pointless post of mine!

  5. #5
    right coast, wrong coast starslight's Avatar
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    I'm ugly, so i don't really have to worry about a girlfriend getting in the way.

  6. #6
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    thats what I used to think, it seems though, that there are magical beings, these magestic creatures known to horny teenagers everywere as the ASIAN GIRLS! unforunately for them, they are destined to forever pity us lanky white guys and therefor be our girlfriends! And unforunately for us, there parents have oppresed them to a point of insanity, but that can be forunate as well if ya get my meaning / generlization over.. have a nice day folks.

  7. #7
    Skeletor's gots da funk. Skeletor's Avatar
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    I don't have this problem. Whenever I hang out with my friends I usually bring my guitar with me. And a movie or eating out now and again isn't that much time lost from practice. I always progress faster after short breaks anyway.
    Moi.

  8. #8
    Firebard RandyEllefson's Avatar
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    Well, in my teens and early 20s I often didn't go out cuz I was playing guitar, and friends would tell me to get a life. I'd say I had a life and that's why I wasn't going to a bar.

    It's a question of moderation I guess. I went out 4-5 nights a month, so I managed to still have a social life, but I have to say now that I'm a little older, and trying to run a record label, I have absolutely no personal life at all anymore. It's just impossible.

    Do yourself if a favor and have a band instead of doing it solo when you try to release an album. You can at least divide the work between 4 people.

  9. #9
    Registered User Eurydice's Avatar
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    I think you also have to include another aspect: As a musician your songs are often influenced by experiences you've made in your life like falling in love with someone, losing a person or something like that. Your life, what you see, feel, hear or experience (in other words the outer world) inspire you and make your playing vivid, gives it your personal note. Be open for it!

  10. #10
    Listener of the wind
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    I really like your post Eurydice. Unfortanetly I guess my songs about my life only consist cold beer, tragic romances and crazy humor.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Guitardeth
    I really like your post Eurydice. Unfortanetly I guess my songs about my life only consist cold beer, tragic romances and crazy humor.
    ...add sex to your list and you have the content of 99% of all rock songs!

  12. #12
    Metronome of Doom Axe-aholic's Avatar
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    I find that all the "exeriences" I write songs about are those that haven't happened. A lot come from books I've read, things I've dreamed up, etc.

    Anyway, I have very little social life. I go to church once a week...and 'hang out' with people a few times a month. I've moved recently, so I don't know too many people out here, and I'm not tying to hard to get to know anyone. I live in the country now, and it's nice to be able to step out your door without being bombarded by the materialistic culture of the US. Anyway, I like the lack of social life. I found it's opened my mind to many different things out there. People have told me to get in the 'real world' (whatever that is), but I like my world so much better :P

    I really wouldn't mind being a hermit if it came to that, as long as I had a pile of books an a guitar
    click....click....click...click...


    The Metronome Calleth

  13. #13
    Skeletor's gots da funk. Skeletor's Avatar
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    In my opinion the Country is the real world. Everything else is manufactured.

    I live way out in the sticks myself, but within the little community I know enough people to keep me occupied, I go to church whenever it's open, and I play my guitar whenever I'm not doing that stuff. It really isn't hard to work around schedules. Never take anything too seriously, you "play" an instrument, don't make it a burden.
    Moi.

  14. #14
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    I suffer from chronic insomnia but I can get by on 5-6 hours a night. So, as I tend to wake up at around 5 every morning I get to squeeze in a fair bit of practice before Mrs Beaver awakes from her slumbers. As my kid lives with a former spouse, school runs etc arent an issue. But, keen as I am on playing music I'm no obsessive and so practice never gets in the way of a good beer or 10. It's definitely a hobby, although I do gig occasionally, so I dont think it worth my time trying to get to the level of seasoned pros. Unless you're a natural musical prodigy with a great chance of turning pro I'd say get some balance into your life otherwise you'll be missing out on other great experiences.

  15. #15
    Registered User LarryJ's Avatar
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    A few thoughts.

    Of course the pro's suffered from this. Vai said in his 30 hour workout he only left his room once all summer long for a social activity, the rest of the time he was practicing his sight reading skills.

    Which brings me to my next point: alot of these guys went to school for music. This is a place which will bring all the likeminded people around you, and you'll become friends with them, sharing music and the other stuff you'd normally do (like go to the movies or whatever). When you get serious a band oftentimes becomes like a family, or a gang, you just have to make sure you've found the right people to play with and not some scumbags who will get you killed or arrested.

    There is time for both. Split your practice schedule in two, or rework your schedule.

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