My oldest is 4 yo and can start piano lessons soon and I think I’m hesitating because the most obvious place for it to go is right above the rental apt.
This is one of those moments when I realize renting out this space costs me more than I think it does. I would buy a digital piano (at first, anyway) which means she could use headphones but really, that’s going to get unplugged and the kids will be banging away on the piano at full volume… above the guests…
1st world problems!
But seriously, I personally would find this annoying. But I’m not a fan of listening to anyone learning to play any musical instruments, piano does get pretty loud, repetitive and until they’ve been at it for 5 plus years, the output is not great. I can’t imagine it’s any worse though than kids running around, bouncing balls on walls or jumping on a trampoline (all annoying when they are not your kid/you are trying to sleep). I think as long as it’s not after 7pm, disclosed as a possible ‘sound of a developing musical talent’ and guests are expecting you have young children (aka noise) then it will be fine. I say that as unless really convenient in other ways, I wouldn’t pick a listing where they were factors, but if I did, I would expect a bit of noise and jumping!
My guest room used to have a professional saxophonist living atop and you could hear him, slightly muffled Guests liked it (or pretended to).
Being part of a family where we all learnt the piano as kids and having a son that learnt music as a child, I can tell you that even as a parent/sister listening to little one learning to play isn’t great.
As a guest having this going on overhead would certainly put me off staying somewhere.
I live in a second-floor apartment with hardwood floors and a friend gave me her piano last year. I’ve had zero complaints from neighbors. I think there are three reasons for this:
- I proactively dialog with the other residents of my building and invite them to let me know if the noise disturbs them. I’m a musician, so practice is a daily part of my routine. 100% of the time my neighbors tell me that they sometimes hear me, but that it’s really not a bother…when you live in an apartment you hear other people living their lives; that’s just part of the trade-off. What they care about it not being disturbed during our building’s quiet hours, which I assure them I will continue to honor.
In translating this to an airbnb situation, I would suggest that you remind your guests up-front that they are staying in a building with other families and that they may hear the activities of daily family life (like piano playing) during non-quiet hours (and state the quiet hours specifically).
My piano has a practice pedal. I have no idea how much extra this costs, but it’s worth every penny in terms of limiting sound coming off the instrument. My downstairs neighbor comments regularly when I play without the practice pedal engaged (she comments sends me “Bless you!” texts when I sneeze loudly too), but I don’t think she’s even aware when I play with the practice pedal.
I invested in piano caster cups and thick wool pads (about 3/4 of an inch thick and intended for use in cleaning/buffing) to go under the cups. My research led me to believe that sympathy reverberation through contact with the floor is the culprit for most neighbor complaints about noise from pianos. I couldn’t afford the fancy $100/caster noise solution, but based on my research I’m confident my $10/caster solution is pretty close.
For me hearing a new student play is cute for about 5 minutes and then starts skirting Geneva Convention rules about torture.
If you’re the parent of small children living over your rental listing, you probably already disclose that it’s a family space. Kids running overhead could be right up there with learning piano noise, so perhaps the kind of guest who was fine with a “young child” house would also be fine with piano.
I own a piano and only play when the guest space is unbooked or they’re out of the house, but that likely doesn’t encourage regular practice your kid would need.
Great to hear an alternative view.
However I think there is a huge difference between you as a professional musician playing (beautifully I am sure) and a very young child crashing keys on a piano or playing the same notes over and over again as they practice.
Also you are talking about you playing in one apartment and your neighbours living in another. The host is talking about her child playing directly above the room the guest will be staying in.
How do your Airbnb guests feel about you playing the piano?
Listening to a professional musician practice their instrument for hours every day is pretty bad. Listening to a beginner is torture. I was a professional musician for 38 years, married to a professional musician. Anyone living near us had to tolerate hours and hours of us working on learning new notes, figuring out phrasing, fingerings and bowing. The same passage over and over and over. That is the point of practicing after all. To perfect the stuff that isn’t yet perfect!
I have three conservatories within a half mile, own music stands, and appropriate practice chairs. I do not market to all those people who are coming to give master classes, perform concerts, etc because there is nothing I want in my house less than someone practicing their instrument.
As to your AirBNB space– you would have to declare in your listing that your child will practice for 30 minutes between the hours of nn1-nn2. Really, if you get them to do that much per day, you are doing very well. Place a rug with a heavy pad under the piano to reduce the vibrations. If you get an electronic keyboard, make sure to splurge for the weighted keys so they are actually learning how to play a piano.
My girlfriend (now wife) used to live in an apartment that had a toddler upstairs. Just the kid running around drove her insane. I might hold off on the piano.
Yeah – so this is exactly the question. At what point do I compromise on what I offer to my own kids for the sake of the comfort of guests? Since we don’t “need” the money to pay our bills, I could stop renting although I will miss that nice chunk of additional income.
This only further reduces the always shrinking amount of our nightly profit after accounting for utilities, maintenance, supplies, cleaning, income tax, insurance, and now my kids’ well-being. (Although they might be thankful to AirBNB to not be forced to take piano lessons, LOL). But seriously, if I’m only able to net $50/night for a whole apt rental, is it really worth these compromises to how we live our lives.
I don’t think it is a question actually. You should do what is best for your kids. There is nothing better for kids than music lessons. All the studies show that children who have the advantage of music lessons do better in Math and school in general. They learn logic, deduction skills, patience, and fractions. Send them to the lessons. Get the piano. Adjust your listing narrative. And then set up your schedule so that practicing is done in the afternoon when your guests are most likely to be out and about.
And then teach your children that a piano is not a toy. It is not for banging and random noise making. It is an instrument that deserves respect and a gentle touch. As the parent, you can enforce that rule.
I am hoping that my grand-baby will be given a violin. I have the smaller sizes, and it should be in her blood. We shall see what her parents can tolerate.
If you are fortunate enough not to need the $ then I would get the piano, test the noise levels yourself downstairs and if it’s quite loud, advertise it very clearly that it will be a disruptive factor and then you’ll only get guests that are willing to accept this. Probably less bookings but if that’s not a worry then who cares, you and the kids are free to play chopsticks all day.
Is there another room in the apartment you could put the piano that might have less impact? For example if you could position it above the guest bathroom rather than the living room that would probably be preferable. And make sure your child only practises at a certain time of day, and it doesn’t become a ‘toy’ they can use whenever they want.
I think this needs to be a choice between one or the other unless you are appealing exclusively to the deaf.
I play the piano and bought an upright about a year ago to go in my flat. So far (touch wood!) no neighbours have complained about the noise. But I do feel bad when I practice the same thing over and over again, for fear of driving someone crazy!
That said I just wanted to contribute that I studied classical piano for about 18 years growing up and never enjoyed it (I also started at 4 yo!). BUT I’m glad my parents persevered with making me do lessons. It taught me a lot: discipline (to some degree!), love of music, ability to read and write what is effectively a whole other language. It allowed me to pick up music again as an adult purely for enjoyment and a creative outlet. I think if you can give that gift to your child, you should try to.
As someone else pointed out, kids don’t tend to practice for 8 hours a day. If they’re only playing for 1/2 an hour, in reasonable hours when your guests are most likely out, it probably won’t drive anyone crazy. If it’s an electronic piano you can also control the volume better.
Here’s hoping you can make it work!
As it’s a digital piano, I say go ahead and buy it and, most important, let the little one play it any time at all. The volume can be turned down as low as needed, so as not to disturb the guests.
That’s a simple rule a four-year-old can easily understand and follow.
Please don’t restrict kids to playing only at “practice time”, as some suggest here. And if the piano is used as a toy, rather than a workhorse, requiring practice, all the better.
I have a digital piano, and I and the grandkids play it often, just turned down low when guests are in the suite.
When there are no guests, we turn up the volume, use the sustaining peddle freely and no hands or toes are barred from the joy.
How about – raise the price of your Airbnb (which would hopefully mean fewer bookings but roughly the same earning due to higher prices), go ahead and get the piano, and give any guest who complains a small discount (not mentioned or committed to beforehand.)
I have a digital piano too placed against the wall to the rental room, in an alcove where a doorway used to be. I put thick red carpet all around and underneath it, as the sound from the speakers bounced off the hard wall. I play a lot when the guest is out, and use headphones when the guest is in. I have an IP camera that sends me a motion detection alert to my phone when my guest comes or goes, so I always know if they are in or out.
You are such a considerate host!
I so admire those who can play an instrument…or speak another language fluently…(sigh).
Maybe in my next lifetime…
If those are things you’d like to do, go for it this lifetime!
Come on - get started by telling us which instrument and which language would you like to learn?
Online courses, some free, will then get you started, just by you saying yes to your dreams.
I just want someone to wave their magic wand!
(old dogs, new tricks malady)