My first practice session had numerous interruptions.
You see, my wife is retired. I don’t get home from work until 6:45p. Valerie loves our dog and three cats, but, they’re not big on conversation. So, when I get home there’s a lot to talk about. I get it, I really do. But, nothing kills the drive to practice guitar quicker than, “Sal, can you check why the tub is draining so slowly?” I hadn’t even turned on the amp.
Time for a sit. I explained that I needed a 1-hour “no-Sal” zone. Let me play for an hour, uninterrupted, and I will be there for her in any way she wants.
Then, Renee wanted lap time. I’m playing guitar and our shedding white cat decides she wants to be on my lap. Three times I gently place her back on the floor before realizing that she intends to be on my lap and has the energy to keep jumping. Okay, I lock myself in the study, which, is Renee’s favorite room in the house. Now, I’m feeling guilty.
But, as the time passes I practice with heart and my enthusiasm rises. By the time I’m done I see that the cat has survived my rejection. What really was great was my wife’s complete understanding of my need to be a little selfish about practice time. She was really supportive. And, for some unexplained reason, proud of me. Perhaps it was the switch from my bellyaching about not playing the guitar to becoming assertive about wanting to play.
At our age, learning to play an instrument is going to be hard work as we struggle to find the time, overcome our diminished dexterity, and not get discouraged as we see kids a quarter of our age play with virtuosity. Overcoming all of this takes the teamwork of a spouse and the rest of the family.
In Valerie, I have an “A” team member!