Top 4 Painstakingly SIMPLE Time Management Tips for Musicians

Depending on your musical poison of choice, your family can be competing with the time you need to practice, play gigs, song write, sing in a choir, direct a music ensemble, teach music, or even schmooze with other musicians.

Music Pro Tip 1: Be realistic
Sure, you might want to play drums in the punk band, direct the church choir, AND give private music lessons, but you also have a spouse and three kids that need you. If you have a spouse that is helpful or you can afford quality sitters to watch your children and clean your home, then by all means, take on two dozen gigs, write the next Pulitzer-prize winning symphony, and go on a whirlwind solo tour of Europe.

For the rest of us who have limited means (and time), limiting the number of commitments you have will ensure that the time you spend with your family and music is quality time not hampered by the hectic.

Music Pro Tip 2: Balance
You cannot take care of your family and be a good musician if you cannot take care of yourself. You might have to turn down music opportunities which interfere with family time, "you" time, or just your sleep schedule. You might have been able to take care of you fine with a lousy diet and no sleep, but with family depending on you, you need to be in top condition to handle everything that comes your way. That means sleep, a good diet, less stress, and exercise.

Music Pro Tip 3: Be Honest
If you are fortunate enough to have a supportive spouse, be honest about what you need. Do you need four uninterrupted hours of practice time each day, Tuesday and Thursday nights for rehearsals, and Mondays for private music lessons? Then be sure to work with your spouse to set aside the time you need. This may involve hiring a sitter or dividing up family responsibilities. If you are on your own or might as well be, it will be more difficult to work in the time that you need to accomplish your musical goals. Be creative and work with other musicians that may be in similar situations.

Music Pro Tip 4: Prioritize
You have to juggle a half a dozen tasks: conduct the community orchestra on Saturdays, take your oldest to a softball game every other Sunday, go to your teaching gig five days a week, play in a local band two nights a week, occasionally sing at a wedding or two, and run the local book club.

Learn to prioritize. Ask yourself if you have to conduct the community orchestra every week, if your oldest can carpool occasionally, if the book club can rotate houses, or if you really need to take up your free Saturdays with wedding gigs. If money is tight, you might have to drop anything that does not include a paycheck. Does your oldest count on your to be at her every game? Then you may have to keep your weekends free to enjoy your child's sports achievements.

Let me finish up with some wise advice I received the other day as my daughter got her first round of immunizations:

"Enjoy the time with your family now, your music will always be there later. And time flies by so fast."


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