Dear Ms. Demeanor,
I have the loveliest new neighbors with the loveliest 8-year-old who takes piano lessons. He actually practices too which is great for them, not so great for us - the piano is on an adjoining wall.
I hate to open the Pandora's box of noise complaints because I am guessing our TV is pretty loud, but if I have to hear 'fur elise' one more time I will weep. What to do?
Your very truly,
Piano not Forte
Judge not lest ye be judged, especially if ye plays the television loudly or are planning a renovation in the next 10 years.
I find it hard to imagine a child practicing for more than an hour per evening unless he has tiger parents or is a prodigy. If he plays at reasonable times for a reasonable amount of time, don't open that Pandora's box just yet. Of all the shared noises in the vertical village, 'Fur Elise' is one of the least objectionable. Have you ever heard the sound of tiles being cut or the incessant hammering necessary to replace wood floors? (For more, please see last week's column).
Perhaps you can use his practice time to do something worthwhile out of the living room or the apartment altogether? Make dinner, go to the gym, take a hot bath... Thank the apartment gods for lovely neighbors and for the fact that the kid isn't a drummer... yet.
Ms. Demeanor is channeled by a longtime Manhattan vertical dweller and real-estate voyeur who writes under the pen name Jamie Lauren Sutton. She is here to commiserate, calm and correct. Please email your quandaries to firstname.lastname@example.org and put "Dear Ms. Demeanor" in the subject line.