Balancing work and family can be challenging for people in all professions. Musicians can face many unique challenges when trying to balance their family and social lives with their professional lives. Being a musician is very different from working a nine to five job. In addition to all the time spent performing at gigs or rehearsals, you have to practice on your own time at home or work on songwriting. At the beginning of their careers, professional musicians can be especially busy trying to get gigs and practice enough to perfect their techniques.
Essentially, musicians have a very large and somewhat unstable time commitment, which can make scheduling time with family and friends difficult. However, people in all professions can learn adequate time management, and there are many things musicians and other artists can do to keep both parts of their lives in balance:
1. Have a set schedule for practicing and songwriting Practicing at inconsistent times will only make it more difficult for your friends and family to spend time with you long-term. Professional musicians often practice for two hours a day at least, which is no small time sink. If possible, try to schedule your practicing time when your family and friends would be otherwise occupied, such as during the normal workday or school day. You are more likely to be free at the right times.
2. Try to include your family and friends in your music: You can invite your family and friends to gigs. One of the benefits of being an artist is sharing your art with other people, and people tend to enjoy the art of their loved ones at one level or another. Some of them may want to hear you practice, or see you perform. Appreciation for music is fairly universal, and even people who like different styles of music may enjoy branching out into other styles because of their friends and family.
3. Have friends who are musicians or interested in music: The more friends you have with similar interests and schedules, the better. Obviously, this does not need to apply to every one of your relationships, but friends in similar professions are more likely to understand both your objectives and how much time you need to devote to building a career.
4. Try to work ‘family and friends’ time into all your other activities: Even the busiest people need time to relax, eat, worship, etc. For instance, if your schedule is such that you can plan lunch with friends, do it as often as possible.
5. Try to take advantage of opportunities with new media: The Internet has made it easier than ever before to stay in touch with people and socialize from a distance. Musicians tend to have downtime between sets. Even if they can’t rush home during their built-in free time, they can still use it. Using social networking sites to stay in contact with friends, or calling people on a cell phone, will certainly allow you to work in some more time with them. You are including your friends and family in your life, one way or another.