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Need some advice (Read 853 times)

Offline piulento

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Need some advice
« on: October 13, 2016, 06:16:43 PM »
Hi there, I really need some advice and don't know anyone else who might understand my situation. Sorry if this is a bit long, but it's a very complex situation that really messed up my life recently. There's a TL;DR at the end if you don't want to go into details.

So in case some of you don't know, I'm a soldier. I'm 21 and live with my family, and my older sister is a university student that comes back home from uni almost every weekend (during the week she lives in an apartment next to where she studies).
I usually don't really get to play during the week, so when I'm home on the weekends I try to practice as much as I can. Even though I can't play regularly, piano is still a huge part of my life, and it's sort of the only thing I like to do when I'm home, and I really look forward to it.
The thing is, my playing kind of annoys my family. They're mostly not music enthusiasts, and they don't like the noise. If it were up to me, I'd play all day long when I'm home, but I know it can make the upset if I play too much, so I try to be considerate. In order not to interrupt them too much, I usually play sometime from 10 AM to 1:30 PM, and from 5 PM to 7:30 PM. I don't play the complete time (again, in order to be considerate), usually I play 2-2.5 hours a day. Like I said, because I mostly get to play during the weekend, this means I only get to play a very limited time each week. It makes it very hard to progress, but because piano is the only hobby I have in my life outside the army, I treasure these few hours each week.
So this was the situation until a few months ago, but recently my older sister started complaining about my playing because she says it interferes with her studies. At first I just played less in order to keep her happy. I changed my playing schedule, played fewer hours, etc, just to keep her happy. But over time I realized this isn't enough for her - she wants me to stop completely whenever she wants to study the whole day. I won't go into details, but this opened a really huge fight in my family, because (naturally) I'm not going to let her or anybody else take away the only piece of personality I still have left outside the army. I have so little time to play each week, and I don't want anybody to take that away. Also, she can study all week long and she has a place of her own. But because I'm generally a more considerate and flexible person than she (she's not afraid to throw tantrums when she doesn't get what she wants), my family is really pressuring me to gradually give up more and more of my time, even though I try to explain how much piano means to me.
Did anyone else here come across a similar situation? I really don't know what to do. I already struggle with the fact that I don't get to play that much, there's no way that I can give up more of my plkaying time, not to mention giving up piano all together. I can sometimes go to a local conservatoire to practice, but this is hardly a real permanent solution.

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TL;DR:
I'm a soldier that can only play a few hours each weekend (and that's about it) and my family is pressuring me to gradually play less and less because it interferes with their lives. I can't make them understand what piano means to me and because I'm sort of a pushover I constantly find myself giving up on piano more and more. What can I do?

If you had the patience to read this, thanks a lot in advance! :)
Gilad


Offline ahinton

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Re: Need some advice
«Reply #1 on: October 13, 2016, 08:50:58 PM »
Ditch the army.

Do what matters most to you.

The piano will win more "battles" for you than anything else if you're sufficiently committed to it - but life working at the Rachmaninov Preludes beats any kind of real "battles" hands down every time.

Good luck!

Best,

Alistair
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The Sorabji Archive

Offline iansinclair

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Re: Need some advice
«Reply #2 on: October 13, 2016, 09:18:02 PM »
Well -- I'll disagree with Alistair on one thing -- don't ditch the Army.  That's not the problem.  Nor is it particularly likely that the piano practicing is the only thing bugging your family and your sister -- it's much more likely that the piano practicing is a handy target for them (her).

Have you investigated what resources you might have available at your base?  Unless you are on assignment somewhere -- which if you can come home weekends doesn't seem likely -- there may be, somewhere on the base, a piano which you can use.  There usually is.  It may not be a Steinway.  It may not be in tune... ask your CO, or the Chaplain.
Ian

Offline piulento

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Re: Need some advice
«Reply #3 on: October 14, 2016, 06:53:44 AM »
I'm actually going to finish my service term in a bit less than half a year (though even after that I still believe my family will try to cut down my playing substantially, because that's just how they are), but until then I don't want to give up playing. The more I'm in the army the more I feel like I need to keep playing. I don't have a piano available during the week, I definitely checked.
I agree that the piano might just be a comfortable target, but how do I make them stop targeting it? (or at least just targeting it less, I'm pretty flexible but right now it seems they'll always ask for me to play less...)
Did anyone else here have trouble with family members complaining about noise to the point of making you cut down most of your playing?

Offline ahinton

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Re: Need some advice
«Reply #4 on: October 14, 2016, 10:32:06 AM »
Well -- I'll disagree with Alistair on one thing -- don't ditch the Army.
OK, fair comment insofar as it goes; I'll accordingly rephrase that to "Ditch the army if it is one factor that's getting in the way of what you want to achieve".

Best,

Alistair
Alistair Hinton
Curator / Director
The Sorabji Archive

Offline pjjslp

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Re: Need some advice
«Reply #5 on: October 16, 2016, 03:05:56 PM »
Is it at all financially possible for you to find a decent used digital piano and use headphones? I think your family is being exceedingly thoughtless and unfair, but I also have found that it's pretty difficult to reason with unreasonable people.

I'm sorry you are in this situation. I'm not sure why your family has a piano if they don't want it to played?

Offline piano petals

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Re: Need some advice
«Reply #6 on: October 17, 2016, 02:45:50 AM »

I am so sorry that you are having these issues.
I agree with Ian, but might add the possibility of trying to find an available piano nearby, but off of the military base during the weekly evening times.  Such as at a church, rec center, nursing home or even trying to find use of someone's home piano for a short while. The suggestion of a keyboard with earphones is great.
However, the ideal situation would be discussing the situation with your parents and setting certain times/hours that are yours to play. Obviously, your sister should study at her home or library. I assume she is being favored... I do not feel that asking for a few hours on the weekend is excessive. I believe your parents are being unfair and unreasonable. Why do they even have a piano if not for playing?? Do they not realize that your musical endeavors are just as important as her educational aspirations?
BTW, thank you for your military service!
Good luck and best wishes!

Offline piulento

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Re: Need some advice
«Reply #7 on: October 17, 2016, 01:07:32 PM »
I guess I'm gonna find a middle ground - I'm gonna decide with them on permenant hours each weekend in which I can play (hope they'll settle and still let me have my 2 hours each day) and at the same time look for a digital piano I can afford.
Anyway, hope things will be easier once I finish my service. At least I'll still have a digital piano after moving out :)