I had it really good in Montréal, all the years I lived there I had neighbors that never complained about the piano. If anything, they complained when I didn't play.
Enter San Francisco.....
When I got here in August my piano had already been delivered. Our apartment now is smaller than what we had in Montréal so I don't have my own studio anymore. We had to put the piano in the living room so my studio shares the space with the TV (kind of weird) and neighbors on the other side of the wall as well as underneath me. But this has been ok, except for lately. I have a lot of new repertoire on my plate at the moment - on top of the more general (read stuff I don't practice) work I have I'm also learning the Dumky Trio, Beethoven's first piano trio, the Fauré C minor piano quartet and Schumann's piano quartet. That might seem like a lot of work but actually, compared to what I used to juggle in Montréal it's kind of slim. But the trios and quartets are all new to me so there are lots of notes to get under my fingers (especially the Fauré wtf was that guy thinking). Hence more hours of practicing, on top of some other rehearsals in my apartment.
And so, I get the news a few days ago that my playing "while pleasant, can still be irritating sometimes and my frequency has seemed to increase as of late." Commence terror.
It is notoriously hard to find an apartment in San Francisco, let alone an apartment that allows pianists AND their awesome pugs. I don't want to go anywhere near a reason for our landlords to evict us and I'm not sure that piano practicing would be a viable reason but I certainly don't want to test it. But that's not the only reason for the terror. Imagine you have concerts coming up quickly that you suddenly can't practice towards. And it's new repertoire. UGH!!!
So yes, I had it good in Montréal.
I did some research and came across this extremely helpful blog post of another pianist living in San Francisco that DIY soundproofed her piano studio. Lots of good advice. So I've bought the materials and booked the piano movers and we'll see. After we move the piano down the hall I'll be sharing one less wall with a neighbor and hopefully the soundproofing under the piano will help with the sound transmission to the apartment below me. But man, this is so stressful - I had a terrible day yesterday envisioning my playing deteriorating and not being able to feel ready for everything I have coming up. But today I've taken it in stride. It could be a lot worse, my neighbours could be completely unreasonable people (which they aren't in the least) and also, Dave and I won't be here forever so we'll deal with it for now and then see.
However, the piano move is displacing Dave's office/painting studio and that makes me really sad. I'm hoping we can figure out a solution to that as well that doesn't add too many more dollars on top of the already ridiculous rent we're paying. Ah San Francisco, gotta love you.
But to all you musicians out there that have a place where you can practice and rehearse unfettered - heed these words: you have a goldmine and don't ever take it for granted. Not being able to work when or how I want feels like being in some sort of invisible prison.
And now for a photo (as you can tell I am not a photographer and I have an old iPhone!) I took a couple of days ago - a lovely Victorian with a witch's hat perched on a bush out front for some reason. Why not?