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I've been working on the same pieces for quite a while and the family is sick of it.
What can I do?
well, get a digital piano like a px110 and some good headphones...should'nt run you more than 450. Practise on that. You wont bother a soul... And then wake the grand with a nice piece.
the good thing about the px110 is its quite portable too
Work on some other piece? Send the family packing? Have them try to learn it too - then they'd understand?

Seriously - what PianoBeast said - get a digital with headphones if you can - it works for me (and many others) - my wife really appreciates my thoughtfulness wink (but now the dog doesn't have anything to howl along with & she's been pouting lately).


I Got my Privia PX-200 for under $400 a few months ago with headphones and like it, though I prefer grand pianos to practice on.

But try to avoid the situation that our friend Seaside Lee went through recently. Your family will think you are ignoring them...

- Mark
I am fortunate not to have that problem, but I also try to forestall that problem from occurring. I usually only play a certain piece 2 or 3 times a day, and if possible, I try to do the intensive early work on a piece (when I'm concentrating on getting the notes right and it sounds awful) when the rest of the family is out of earshot. I also don't play scales. laugh

My hubby is great for many reasons, but I'd hang onto him for the sole reason that the *only* thing he ever says about my playing is "that was pretty, honey." 2hearts
Our household is nuts so it doesn't make a difference. My piano is digital, but the violin is not. One of my sons makes animated movies and games and creates the voices when he gets to that stage. I pity the neighbours because our walls leave a lot to be desired. The most memorable day was when I was trying to get portions of the Swan right in one room, while a long line of dialogue that began "You like shiny things? Come look at the shiny thing...." was being recorded over and over until it came out right at the other end of the house. I think we were each at it for over half an hour. Apparently the neighbours listen - One came up to me and said I had improved a lot in the last few months. eek

My other son is a music major with the ears of a bat, but his attitude is superb. Most of the time he just lets me play, but once in a while he will make a small remark which hits some key point that I end up working on for the next six months, and usually leads to a fair bit of growth. On occasion when he is home we try for a duet, and if I have to spend 10 minutes working through a passage he discretely plinks away at something else so that I don't feel impatience or hurried. I could be incredibly shy under the circumstances - instead the lack of judgementalism and the support build my confidence.
I try to do all the initial work on a new piece that nobody in their right mind could possibly want to listen to when my hubby's not home. But I recently acquired a digital I use for the endlessly repetitive stuff when he's around. I hate headphones, but I turn the volume right down and it doesn't bother him at all.
Another thing I like about a digital is having a volume knob. It's much nicer to hear my screwups at a low volume level.
I, too, try to do the repetitive stuff while everyone is out of the house. With teens, that doesn't seem to be much of a problem; they show up just at mealtimes! My husband is the son of a piano teacher; he can tune out ANY piano 'abuse' and it doesn't bother him a bit. The dogs don't care, they seem to like anything I play.
JeanieA - "Collector of sheet music I can't play"? You too! laugh

Regards, JF
i try to practice when i don't bother them.

if they do complain tho i won't feed them.
Mostly they don't complain. I am lucky in that my husband can tune out my pianoabuse and it doesn't bother him.Really a graet habit since he works from home. His stock answer to me is That was nice. I practice when my daughter is at school so she doesn't hear me much unless we try a duet. I figure if the dog doesn't leave the room I am doing ok.
Apple, that's hysterical.

This has been a problem for me in the three months I've been at this. And I am sensitive (perhaps overly so) to comments like, "Oh, no, if he's going to be on the piano, I am going to the store. Anybody need anything?"

We don't have a digital (yet), but this is one of two leading reasons for why I would like to get one. (The other being that it seems like it would be easier to post recordings off a digital... I'd like to have snapshots of my playing so I can appreciate the progress.)
My husband says that my playing is "too strident". I love music with great bass but he doesn't. I quit playing the Exodus theme because he really hates it.

I have a digital but prefer to play without the headphones when I can. But my husband says that he can hear the "plunking" of the keys even when I play with the headphones.
I think hearing someone play a nicely polished piece is significantly different from hearing someone practice. Think about the ratio of practicing to 'total' playing time, maybe 90+ percent?

No matter how much your mate or family members love you, I would guess, if given the choice, they'd prefer not hearing the same difficult passage you are trying to perfect by playing it hundreds of times. Kind of like the Chinese water torture, don't you think? Of course, a loving partner would never say this to your face because, well, they love you and that is part of 'their' sacrifice. Try this. Record your practice session for an hour, then play it back to yourself at the same volume, as you engage in non piano playing activities, such as reading, watching tv, doing the dishes, or just trying to enjoy a relaxing moment after a hard day at the office. I think you'll have a much better appreciation of what it sounds like from 'their' point of view.

Like everyone else has suggested, headphones and a digital piano are the only viable answer and compromise (assuming others are in the house when you practice). Play as loud as you want, for as long as you want at any hour of the day and 'everybody' will be a little happier, I think. smile
When I was the listener, and my son was a rank beginner, I enjoyed hearing him practice. There is something about the rhythm and sounds of basic things, and hearing things develop and come together which is enjoyable. It's like watching a building going up. Every day you're curious to see what's going to happen next. Will they put in the plumbing? Gas lines? It's like watching something change and develop in the course of becoming. It's almost more interesting than the finished product.

I have a digital piano and headphones, so I use them. Why not? As a matter of fact, the sound is much more real with headphones than without them since this piano is designed to fill a large hall with sound and it sounds hollow in an ordinary sized room.

But I think that someone learning to play an instrument should not be too apologetic about the process. Does that not rob you of confidence and make it more difficult to play?
I'm for everyone being happy in the home that houses a pianist, but sometimes is it OK to say - "How's that wall climbing going for you", and "Are you going to try the ceiling too?"

I think pianists would be intimidated for any one, much less a loved one, to complain about the "noise" or "how long" they have been practicing or playing today.

That's where headphones and a keyboard keep the peace.

However, in my home during all those years of teaching with a husband, 5 children, and later a resident mother in law who was also a pianist, no one was ever listening to my playing or my students. They completely turned it off, because they could, selected listening ability I guess. They missed hearing a lot of great music, it all wasn't plunking. Survival, I guess.

It's kind of sad when you discover no one was listening after all, and you wanted to share a great piece with someone.

I'm all for happy, can I say that again?

As someone mentioned above, a digital with headphones is not silent...it just does not make musical tones (unless you have a pro-quality digital, in which case the headphone jack typically does not disengage the speaker jacks).

When played "silently", what a digital does do is go "bang bang bang" (according to my wife).

That is the mechanical noise that the keys make when depressed. Try a digital with the volume all the way down, or with the machine turned off. Play a few measures of a piece, preferably one that has a lot of notes and chords....instead of music, all you will hear an array of clunks.

Sometimes you just can't win.
Not only does my better half have to listen to the practicing, I also tune my own piano at least weekly since I have several loose pins and they have to deal with that also. How's that for love?
I think my dear ones just tune it out. According to my husband, he literally "doesn't hear it." If I want his opinion on something I have to ask him in advance. The other day while I was practicing I overheard my daughter tell someone on the phone "uh that's just mom" and go right on talking.
I think if I was in your position I would crumble and buy a digital for those monotonous practice sessions.
as for me, nope my family doesnt mind at all that i practice whatever piece for however long. i think its cool when i get it and my husband comes over and smiles and says wow, you got it thats smooth, no matter how long it takes me to get it. pretty cool. my kids well, they dont care one way or the other:)
"Oh, no, if he's going to be on the piano, I am going to the store. Anybody need anything?"


Do you need milk and don't like the idea of getting dressed and jump in the car?
Go at the piano! smile

(on a different note: no practice pedal?)
Apple...hmmm, I think you're onto something there. Complain about my attempt at learning my music and trying to be a better player and person AND it's "Dinner? What dinner?" Love it!

As for the neighbors, she's told me that she loves it during the summer when the windows are open and she can hear us practice. Nice folks!
My practicing can drive my spouce crazy but we've managed to compromise........I always wear my headphones... laugh

Actually even the 'silent' thumping can annoy others.....so I've discovered!!!

I do have to be careful not to ignore him so I try to limit my evening practice to 1 hour (major sporting events or CNN telecasts excluded laugh )

Occasionally he'll comment that he never hears me play yet if I play without headphones, he's most likely to ask me to put them on...go figure :rolleyes:
Originally posted by Innominato:

(on a different note: no practice pedal?)
Did they make those in 1910? I've tried all three pedals on our old upright, but none of them seem to mute or soften the sounds in any way.

Do practice pedals actually work? One of the uprights I am considering boasts a "mute" system, "allowing for piano practise, even at night." If this is true, it would eliminate one reason for getting a digital.
I grew up with my dad, four older brothers, and two sisters always playing.

I have a Roland 88 key and it has some great sounds weighted and touch sensitive keys but I enjoy the acoustic piano so much more.

Maybe I try some better headphones!
I do feel bad about practicing the same thing over and over. I am sure that my family gets sick of listening to the pieces that I am struggling with. My husband is quite gracious though and when I ask him about the "obnoxious factor" he just says that it's wonderful to have the house filled with music.

I have noticed that he retreats to his study quite often when I'm playing though . There might be a connection !
Years ago I was always playing baroc-music, mostly Bach, Händel and Buxtehude. After a gap of 17 years not playing music, I rediscovered playing music. I purchased a digital piano and fell in love with Jazz-standards, Gershwin, Kenneth Baker, Andre Gagnon. smile smile

My wife 'hates' jazz, but she knows what music means to my. Only sometimes she say after hours of jazz mad 'Please, play some Bach for me' or 'Would you be so kind using headphones'.........Than I know how much my heart wife loves me....... laugh

Lucky for her and me.....I play also Schumann....

Johan B
My digi barely makes noise, and if he/she is in a seperate room, door closed, no one will hear a sound. I am a true fan of using a digital piano to practise. I feel like digital have a little heavier action. I play on a 60/40 basis. Just make sure to get weighted key action. You can benifit from a digital as there are many added features. Plus, buy the right one and you can carry it with you on trips, etc. Its affordable and practical, however will never replace the feel of a grand.
"Do practice pedals actually work?"

They do, but it is not the perfect solution and not a bed of roses, either.

The piano I practiced on as a child was a german Lehmann, I think from the Thirties, might have been of a later year.

It already had a practice pedal, and the practice pedal could be "fixed" in its position. The effect was pretty strong from what I remember.

In my present piano (see below) the same pedal is also present (I did not want to buy one without); the effect seems to me rather less pronounced, but it could be that I am just remembering wrongly how the old one worked.

Both pianos have a change in tone with the practice pedal. This is the only negative aspect for me.

As for the noise abatement: when I was a child we were five people in an apartment with three bedrooms and a large kitchen besides the living room where the piano was placed; I frankly never experienced my brother and sister's piano playing with the practice pedal as a nuisance, provided I was in another room. As the family life was largely in the "living kitchen", there were ways to avoid sharing your life with a practicing child. The neighbours of the flat below never complained when we practiced with the practice pedal (but they did when we didn't, tiled floor you know......).

So I would say that whilst it is not the perfect solution, it allows one to own and enjoy an acoustic piano in the majority of situations provided there is a minimum of tolerance for noises (I am Italian, in our culture tolerance for noises is, admittedly, pretty high, in Germany the matter might already be different).

But if you have a wife in seaside-lee style, ie who does not want to hear a note from you, then you will need a digital (or a new wife, as the case may be.. wink ); the same applies if the space in your apartment does not allow the other family members to comfortably switch their activities to another room whilst you're practicing, within the room the piano is certainly very audible even with practice pedal.

I would never buy an acoustic piano without a practice pedal (with possibility to "fix" the pedal in position), unless my place had so much space at disposal to make it irrelevant.
On a different notes, I have from Fine's book that noise abatement systems can be retrofitted on many pianos.
I did not know that when I bought mine and do not remember how the things works in detail (eg if I have to open the piano and take a chunky thing in and out of the piano or if a lever will be fitted to switch it on and off at pleasure), but it might be another option eg for older pianos.
The practice pedal on my U1 lowers some felt over the strings where the hammers are going to strike the strings. It's probably quite easy to rig up something DIY as a trial - hang some felt in the appropriate place. Just a thought...!
My wife and I are alone most of the time and she seems not to mind at all. In fact she thinks it's cool that at 61 I have embarked on an absolutely new quest. I think that in the past 2-1/2 weeks she's heard "When the Saints go Marching In" at least 150 times (very conservative guess), at least 90% of the time with some keying error and 100% of the time with an uneven, unpredictable tempo. No complaints. She engages in long telephone conversations 10 feet away. The most I've heard from her is when I finally get something right, she'll say "good job, Rod." I haven't had a meal withheld yet.

When the kids are home, they just laugh or bring their friends in to see their "crazy" dad on his quest.

I have a digital piano and have the option of headphones but use them only about 10% of the time, e.g., if I get up to practice during the night.

So, I count my blessings.
But try to avoid the situation that our friend Seaside Lee went through recently. Your family will think you are ignoring them...
yes probably not the greatest role model ha

Actually even the 'silent' thumping can annoy others.....so I've discovered!!!
Yes it can! I can vouch for that frown

Have to agree though that headphones on a digital for the hours and hours of perfecting something over and over before playing the more perfected version on an acoustic is probably the best solution if you are totally driving them nutz!!

good luck

Lee smile
No, my family doesn't complain much. The kids know mom wins whenever she wants to practice, and my husband is pleased I am learning. They tolerate me at all hours. I have them trained that if I am working with the metronome (little sections over and over and over), they must leave me alone, because that is when I am concentrating the hardest. Our biggest conflict is that we have the TV in the same room as the piano. Usually I can practice while they watch TV--they put on the subtitles and mute the sound. They have learned it is either that, or no TV at all.

I do try to be considerate when we have houseguests, but I sure don't accomplish as much, and as much as I love them, it is a relief when I can practice normally again.
"The kids know mom wins"

"I have them trained"

"They put on the subtitles and mute the sound"

"They have learned it is either that, or no TV at all".

"I do try to be considerate when we have houseguests"

smile smile Impressive.. wink

(Hears the late Mr. Weissmuller's "Tarzan Yell" in the distance...)

Aah, yes, I have 10 children...and plenty of practice being the boss. (Only 5 still at home)
I can't help but wonder why five have moved out. Hmmm.... smile
My practicing causes great disturbance and antipathy. Mainly between me, myself and I. My wife doesn't care.

When first taking lessons, as a 10 year old, I came to view piano as a competitive exercise. Playing carries negative connotations till this day.

Which is why I won't let anybody hear me play until such time as I can reproduce a piece in reasonable fashion.
"I can't help but wonder why five have moved out. Hmmm.... "

Yeah, I know. As soon as they are old enough they rush off to college. Just think, they could stay here and work at McDonalds and listen to me practice.

Actually, 3 of the 5 were gone before I even started playing piano, and both of the younger two have started playing piano on their own, after seeing me start. And the one just older than them, has taught himself to play about half the hymns in the hymnbook--and he sightreads way better than I do, still, even though he has never had a piano lesson.

All the kids play band instruments, so we are used to lots of practice noise going on throughout the house.
I live alone so there's no such problem as "driving family crazy" at home.

Neighbours are cool and never complain, so I gues I can say I'm really fortunate!
I don't think it bothers my husband much, any more. At first he commented (frequently) about the noise the digital's keys made when I was wearing my headphones. He's watching tv and just tunes it out, I think. Sometimes he fusses because he says he wants to hear me play.

I, however, hate, hate, hate really *practicing* when other people can hear me. I always tell him that wanting to hear me play is one thing, wanting to hear me practice is another.

When I was a kid, my mom, despite encouraging me to take lessons and being generally supportive about driving me back and forth, *hated* to hear me practice. She had no musical knowledge or training at all, so she (not realizing) made a lot of comments that were not remotely helpful to a kid learning the piano, that still affect me today.

Once I got a good teacher and started working on some more difficult music...stuff that took weeks or months to learn, she would often remark about my repeating a passage over and over and making mistakes...she assumed this meant I wasn't very good frown One of her favorite phrases was, "Why don't you play something you can PLAY???"

So, when I was a kid and my family was around, I'd play pieces that I knew but I only really practiced and worked on things when no one else was around (which, of course, limited my practice time alot...as did the fact that the piano was in the same room as the tv and there was no practice pedal...so when dad was watching tv I couldn't play).

When I was in college, I never really got over being extremely self-conscious in the practice rooms.
jeanneA, do your dogs actually like your playing? Mine leave the room or heave long-suffering sighs. The parrot, on the other hand, loves Bach.
I don't have too much of a problem now, but when I was young it was heck. I would get the continuous barrage of complaints about my repeated efforts when working on the same passages over and over particularly when I practiced really slowly.

My mom was and is a good sport about it. She learned to "tune out" to the practicing because she worked at New England Conservatory with all of the teaching studios and practice rooms around. My dad on the other hand was always critical of me. First I was told I practiced too much and didn't play enough. He would then tell me I would never amount to anything so why bother to do the work at it along with other belittling digs about my piano playing/practicing. This does a number on the self-esteem when growing up.

That was the parents. My younger siblings used to tease me when I was practicing at home. My brother would throw things at me or poke me in the ribs. My sisters would throw things at me, or deliberately come up and bang on the piano when I was practicing. This was really great for the concentration. I have to admit though I have learned to ignore telephones, vacuum cleaners, and conversation going on in the background because if it. Only thing that still bugs me is if someone walks behind me when practicing. When the old spinet was in the dining room, I would delberately pull the chairs out and place them behind the bench to keep the traffic down.

Now today, as I said it's quite a bit different. I have a room that I close the doors to, and I go about practicing or reading through music for as long as I can stand it. This is usually no later than 11:00pm at night because by then brain damage has set in, and I can't concentrate on anything. This still doesn't stop the interruptions, which I find very annoying. There's something about people not wanting to take a message, or feel they have to interrupt me. I find that once I've been interrupted, I may as well quite for the evening because the concentration has been broken.

I also have a nice digital piano, but I hardly use it anymore since I got my grand. I used to practice with the headphones on, but they give me an earache no matter what volume I set them at. If I want to play anything late at night, I play the clavichord instead which no one else except for me and a few spiders in the room can hear.


Yep, the dogs like it. They curl up under the keyboard or bench and hang out with me, even through the scales & Czerny! Although sometimes the border collie noses my hands off the keyboard. I always thought he was just looking to be petted...hmm. Maybe you just haven't found your dogs' favorite period yet. ;-)

We did have a parakeet a few years back that would squawk its head off everytime we played. Unless it was Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. That was all he liked. I was not heartbroken when he died.
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