When you no longer have time to play...


I have a wife, an often more than full-time job, a 6 year old, and a 2 year old. I feel your pain. I try to play at least a few minutes every day, even if that means piddling around with my Tele unplugged at night. I'll often learn new songs that way by listening and playing along on my phone. I keep up with friends who play as well and that creates more opportunities. I play at church which allows me to play with other people a couple times a month at least.

I leave a guitar out on a stand in my office. If it's in it's case in a closet I won't get one out to dink around for a few minutes, but if its ready to roll on the stand I will almost always grab it.


Silver Supporting Member
i have my guitars on stands, and just try to find time to eek out a little playing, on weekdays, i play before i go to work for a bit, usually after dinner a bit, and then right before i go to bed....on the weekends, i am able to find time to play a little more.....the days of having nothing to do and all the time in the world are gone....miss those days....

i do remember before i got married, when i was just working, i'd play for 2-3 hrs straight every night!!!! those were the days!!!!


It’s really hard honestly. I’m an architect, so work never really leaves me. Additionally, I have a 2.5 yr old and another one due in 6 weeks. My wife also has a full time job so we share all the chores etc. The priority is family, work and house, to stay sane. So, there is very little time at the end to play unfortunately… a few minutes every day (keep a guitar out, but out of your kids’ destructive hands!). I have a bit more time at the weekend, but our time « off » is almost always planned in advance!


i work a full time job and have a wife and 4 kids. i play guitar when they go to sleep and am still in a band. if you want something bad enough you make time. going to the kids baseball games tonight and then will probably play for an hour or two before going to bed. you really dont need that much sleep.

Sushi Box FX

Full-time job, part-time job (hobby/business), wife and 3 kids here. Best thing I've found was to keep a guitar in the living room instead of all of them in my music room. It's easier to grab it and noodle for a few minutes here and there as opposed to trying to block out time to actually sit down and play.

Also my youngest (2y.o.) has decided she loves everything to do with music, so I can get away with playing more as long as she is listening.


PV = nRT
Platinum Supporting Member
There's a part of the "time to play" problem that has to do with access to a guitar. E.g., sometimes when I have time and inclination I don't have a guitar handy, like on an airplane flight or public transportation or at work when it wouldn't be socially appropriate. At those times, I find that I can get some benefit and a surprising amount of zone by practicing "mentally" -- imagining fingerings, visualizing what my hands are doing, listening in my mind's ear.

Not the real thing, of course! But it kind of works for me. Kind of.

your name here

Gold Supporting Member

a. Get up after everyone is asleep and play/record using headphones. I like the Strymon Iridium for this. Plus, it works well as an amp backup & direct to FOH option at gigs.

b. Talk to your family. Work out a schedule that has space for you to play during daytime hours. Maybe on the weekend or when they’re out of the house. Maybe they can accommodate you by finding their own activity to go do together regularly, leaving you with a few hours on your own.

c. Find the open mic/jam that’s local to you, and go. Most start after kids go to bed.

There is always time. You just have to make playing a part of your schedule.


full time job and two kids here

handle my duties during the day. rock out at night. i know valve amps are a staple around here, but for guys like me, modelers are a lifeline. i try and play at least a half hour every day. meager, but it is what it is.


Ultimately...it's hard! Not impossible but definitely harder than it used to be. Back in my single days, I'd practice 2-3 hours daily at a minimum and continually learned new songs or riffs. I was in two bands and working a full time job but things were easy because it was just me.

Now...a wife, two kids, and a full time job that honestly has me working 50-60 hours a week occupies the bulk of my time. So like previously stated above, I typically wait for the family to fall asleep and get at least half an hour of practice. Does it happen everyday? Nope! I would say it happens 2 times per week.

The weekend is a little different though. I typically spend the bulk of the day running around with the family or doing everything in the house that didn't get accomplished during the week and by late evening time, I grab my favorite beverage, my guitar, and headphones and start to practice.

The key that I continue to tell myself is to make an effort to carve out practice time. If I really want to do it, I will. I pick a song or artist to work on a week at a time. I keep practicing at it until I feel like I want to progress to something else. Then I repeat. I even told my wife I want to start a band again...she was all for it and would even try to be there is I actually start gigging.

Just communicate and schedule some time. Everything seems to revolve around schedules now that we are older with families. Just add it to your schedule or calendar and make it a meeting you can't miss! LOL


Silver Supporting Member
When I was newly married, newly working in my career, I was still playing a little bit, but not much. Then when our first baby showed up, I basically stopped for 30 years. I always had an acoustic and electric around and on occasion I'd pick one up, but I was beyond rusty and lost all of my callouses, so I sucked and it hurt like hell. When my kids were little, I'd sometimes play kid's songs for them and get them to sing along, but even that was painful for my fingertips (mostly acoustic).

Bottom line, I couldn't do it enough to do it even close to right, so I just basically stopped. I could have picked it back up sooner than I did, but I honestly thought I was done with it. And then, in my late 50s, with both kids out on their own, I had some time on my hands and started playing again. And now I'm back into it with a vengeance. But there was no way to give it enough time when my kids were little, so I didn't... I sort of missed it for a while, but I never made a living at it, so other things were far more important...



I'm single but I work two jobs so my playing and writing/recording has been scaled back quite a bit since I took the second job. Long term I hope to find something that pays enough to cover the bills so I only have one gig and can resume my musical endeavors. Playing really helps me manage my depression (mine is "treatment resistant" so I have to manage it in creative ways) and since I don't have any time or energy to do so my depression has come on with a vengeance so I need to find a way to get more playing time in.


Gold Supporting Member
I am lucky in that I have a wife that FULLY supports my guitar hobby. She encourages me to get something when I want it, as long as the finances are in line for it. When we were house hunting five years ago, one of HER requirements was that the house have, and I quote, "a kick-ass guitar room!"

My kids are all teens and over. Three still live at home, and they're all immersed in their own distractions. However when there is an event, like a baseball tournament, I'm all in.

My job is mostly work from home, with occasional business travel. When I'm in town, I don't have a long commute! My hours are such that I can knock off at 5PM and get some playing time in my guitar room, and yes it truly kicks ass, before dinner. Some days I spend some of my lunch time down there too.

It's all about balance. I don't love my job - I like it enough to do it well enough to support what I do love, my family. A successful career has allowed me to have a hobby I enjoy too.


Platinum Supporting Member
Before kids I was semi-pro, gigged weekends, 2 band jams a week and a ton of individual playing. Once the kids arrived it was impossible to keep it up. I got so pissed off not being able to do what I wanted to at a progressive level, I quit playing for 10 years.

Kids are older and I picked it back up a couple of years ago and have been going hard ever since. My advice is to come to terms with it sooner than later. My kids are well loved and well provided for, but my marriage is more one of convenience than anything else. I gave up everything for it, and now I'm regretting the lost musical time.

Tommy Biggs

Gold Supporting Member
I always worked pretty demanding jobs, which could really eat up the hours. I would squeeze 15 minute blocks as much as I could (a few days a week at least) in just to keep some skills, knowing that one day I’d get more time. For a while I was a road warrior for work and that was hard on my skills too. And going to grad school at night was another time that was tough to play.

I did use guitar time as my ‘me time’, and while I kept up on family obligations (helping out at 3 separate older family households) I didn’t really see friends much, or have any of the other popular hobbies. (Golf, sports events, poker, drinking, hunting, fishing, biking boating etc…)

I guess I was lucky to start playing young, and played a lot, and got enough of the band experience out of my system before I really got to working so intensely.

Anyway, my advice is to keep your hand in, this too shall pass.


Silver Supporting Member
The kids, work period can pull hard. For myself I had a few years there where it was kid in HS, working, and school full time.

I got up 20 minutes early and got in 15 mins. A small but focused bit can at least help push back losing ground.

John(aka: Moby Dick)

Silver Supporting Member
I am gone from the home 12.5 hours, six days a week.
I try to play through a couple songs everyday.
Even if it’s not considered practice, at least I’m keeping my muscle memory.

It’s not easy.


Gold Supporting Member
If I can sneak 45 minutes of playing in, I am a happy man. It is a bummer when I go a whole day without a guitar in my hand. Full time job, house full of kids.