Forced to let people listen to me practise

September 5, 2018, 7:26 PM · Well, the schedule has changed in my house, and now I have no choice but to put on a private four-hour concert for the entire household every day.
I'm practising, but nowhere near as efficiently or comfortably as before. Every little sound—clattering dishes, a quiet conversation, a chair being tucked in—makes my arm go completely stiff. And god forbid someone says something like "what was that supposed to be?" when I've been sightreading a new piece. This drives me up the bloody wall.
I'm not even asking for help, really. I'm just complaining at this point. I dunno what to do about it.

Replies (13)

September 5, 2018, 7:46 PM · 4 hours...you're lucky. Persevere and try to have a sense of humour about it. Soon you'll all get used to the situation. Looking at it.positively, you're also training yourself to have more confidence.
September 5, 2018, 9:53 PM · Interesting phrasing of the problem.
Normally, the situation would be described as "People are forced to listen to me practice", not the other way around...
September 5, 2018, 10:06 PM · This is an excellent opportunity to practice maintaining a relaxed posture and getting rid of tension despite distractions.
Edited: September 5, 2018, 10:51 PM · Once you move out on your own you'll be too busy to practice at all. Ah, the irony...
September 6, 2018, 1:26 AM · When my wife is studying her French lessons I am strictly forbidden to even go near my violin. And she is right: Learning a language (or writing a letter or doing homework for school etc.) is harder to do while someone is practicing than practicing while other people are learning French.
September 6, 2018, 5:52 AM · Are you sure it's not your violin playing that makes the dishes clatter or shatter? Just curious.

Look at everything in life as an opportunity rather than a challenge. One you learn to play well in spite of loud noises and apathetic listeners, you'll be well-trained to go busking in the subway station.

September 6, 2018, 7:19 AM · Wow. For me I feel sorry for my family and neighbours every time I practice without a mute ... They must feel horrible.

My sister met one guy on Tinder app and she told me she would normally ignore that kind of guy. But she happened to like him just because he said 'My brother plays the violin too and my ears bleed everytime he practices'.

Edited: September 6, 2018, 10:43 AM · This is how things go in my house sometimes too. I think I feel some of your pain, though it's never prevented me from practice.

I'm putting on more room to the house. Until then I'm at the end of the hall and the kitchen is at the other end. If I close the door I get almost claustrophobic. If I open the door I hear cabinet doors closing, potato chip bags crinkling, the TV.Even the wash coming up the basement steps drives me crazy. That's when I offer to help so it won't be so loud. I try to be polite, like " Is everything ok in there?" " yes it's fine, why?"
Do you have to make so much noise in there? The reply- " For god's sake I can't even eat in my own kitchen". It's a tug of war most of the time.I'll tell the household I'm recording and could they please be quiet temporarily. Right about that time my Amish neighbor starts up her back pack leaf blower and runs it for an hour. They don't live real close but you can hear it a mile away.One of my other neighbors thinks she has a fixation with that thing, like an unhealthy one. I like to concentrate. I still practice. What other choice do I have? :)
If you live in a family I guess you learn to cope somehow.

September 6, 2018, 10:58 AM · "Albrecht Zumbrunn
September 6, 2018, 1:26 AM · When my wife is studying her French lessons I am strictly forbidden to even go near my violin. And she is right: Learning a language (or writing a letter or doing homework for school etc.) is harder to do while someone is practicing than practicing while other people are learning French."

Play for her light French Romantic music and suggest that it has the same effect on learning the language as Mozart has on IQ tests!

I agree with Mary Ellen, this is the excellent opportunity to practice relaxing and playing well with distractions. One of my best friends grew up in Japan and attended the Paris Conservatory. I've been to the house he grew up in.It is small for a family of three and Grandma, even by Japanese standards. He practiced in a farm shed on adjacent property since there was no where in the house to practice. If it really, really bothers you, look around, perhaps the second bathroom is your practice suite.

September 10, 2018, 3:32 PM · Cotton,

It might actually be a good thing for you. My teacher's teacher told me about his audition for Julliard (a very long time ago). Of course, he was musically prepared, but as soon as he started playing people in the room began to move about, rustle papers, open windows, et cetera. Playing your instrument is all about focus and you need to be like the legendary musicians on the Titanic who kept playing while the ship started to sink.

The situation you describe sounds like the perfect place to learn to focus and block out everything that isn't music. No matter the venue, there will be distractions and you have to be able to ignore them.

September 12, 2018, 3:20 PM · I live in a fishbowl. I'm in a townhouse with neighbors all around, and I practice with a middle school right across the street. Since I know someone is going to hear what I'm doing, I've learned to just accept the whole situation. If the weather is good, I throw open the windows and dive in. Why not? The middle school has a band practicing and occasionally marching right down the street. My neighbors seem pleased with what I'm doing (either that or they're very polite) and I figure one more person playing some music around here is just par for the course.
September 12, 2018, 8:27 PM · Being able to practice for 4 hours a day is a luxury.

I practice out on my patio (and when I lived in upstairs apartments, on my balcony) whenever weather allows. It's good for learning to tune out distractions, and it also means when you perform you're already used to having people hear you play.

Edited: September 12, 2018, 10:04 PM · This is where studying the piano totally rules. The piano is generally located in the living room of a house -- where people are coming and going, where the kitchen is nearby, and so on. And you just learn to tune it out, because you don't have the option of hiding away in an upstairs bedroom. And even if you *are* hiding away in a back bedroom with your violin, your brother is in the living room pounding out Chopin and Debussy for *his* piano lessons!

My sincere suggestion to you is to convert one of your practice hours to an hour of meditation. And for people who make snide comments, I've found obscenities and third-finger salutes work wonders.


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