Piano limits should show respect for residents

Whether or not one is a music-lover is irrelevant: inability to escape sound is at best irritating

Re: Piano play meant as joyful noise, Pianos a welcome sound, (Letters, July 30).

The public pianos may be intended to provide “joyful noise” – however, music is not a joy to listen to when one has no choice over what one hears, or when.

Furthermore, the pianos are clearly not being maintained, and the inevitable effects of outdoor exposure have taken their toll on tuning: this makes even the best music/performer sound less than enjoyable.

As a piano teacher myself, I am pleased that so many are interested in and capable of playing piano: however, there is no reason why the enjoyment of those who play should outweigh the quality-of-life concerns of residents. Any given player may have five, 10 or 30 minutes of enjoyment: residents are obliged to hear it all, in amounts which add up significantly over weeks and months.

Whether or not one is a music-lover is irrelevant: inability to escape sound is at best irritating or distracting, at worst highly stressful. Residents are well within their rights to expect a reasonable amount of peace and quiet at home, whether they are there for rest or work. Unlike traffic and construction sounds which can blend into background noise, piano sounds cut through everything and are not easily ignored.

For the record, I have no complaints about other Oak Bay events, the salient difference being that they are restricted to specific days/times.

The present proposal to “limit” piano usage to 11.5 hours a day, seven days a week is laughably inadequate: the only way to truly address and show respect for resident concerns is to create a schedule with far fewer hours, and/or fewer days a week.

Relocation and/or sound-dampening methods (easily implemented on uprights) should also be explored. Thus, the community enjoyment can continue, but in a way that does not disrupt nearby residents all day, every day.

Kiiri Michelsen

Oak Bay

 

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