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#2156322 - 09/23/13 05:43 PM Teachers - how many of you live in apartments?
Opus_Maximus Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/27/04
Posts: 1480
If any..how do you cope if you have students coming? Do you have noise complaints and/or zoning issues? How do you structure your studio/1bd/2brm etc so as to make your studio efficient?

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#2156658 - 09/24/13 05:28 AM Re: Teachers - how many of you live in apartments? [Re: Opus_Maximus]
Michael_99 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/28/12
Posts: 935
Loc: Canada Alberta
Opus_Maximus, I have read your post, here:

If any..how do you cope if you have students coming? Do you have noise complaints and/or zoning issues? How do you structure your studio/1bd/2brm etc so as to make your studio efficient?

__________________________________________________

I had a teacher who lived in an apartment on the first store of a highrise. She had a 3 legged piano. What I don't know is how late she had students come and how often, People have a right to earn a living but within reason. Being an apartment, most people were probably married/single and working so wouldn't be at home in their apartment during the day, but, of course, some people work shiftwork, but again just because you workshift work doesn't mean the entire building has to be quiet all day while you sleep. The teacher taught classical music so she wouldn't have guys trying to learn rock or loud music.

She must have chosen her students and times based on their student so that if they were a beginner they could be anytime because they don't play much, slow, and quite quiet as opposed to being advanced playing fast and ff so their lesson would be probably noon to 5, or Friday and Saturday evenings. As I recall it was Sunday afternoon for a lesson for me and I had a few lessons.

And, of course, that was before digitals - 1973.

With digitals, teachers today could put some students on digitals, or maybe the students have digitals because digital pianos have changed piano learning and playing forever - for some. Even though I live in a shack and it is 2:13 a.m., I play my digital because I don't want people on the street walking by hearing me play my acoustic at pp - it might still be heard on the street because it is still quit quiet even though it is a very busy street during the day, at 2:00 a.m. it is still quiet, so I play my digital with the volume down low because I don't like to wear headphones. But teachers don't have to worry about students wanting their music lessons at 2:00 a.m. because everybody mostly wants to sleep!



Edited by Michael_99 (09/24/13 05:35 AM)

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#2156690 - 09/24/13 08:04 AM Re: Teachers - how many of you live in apartments? [Re: Opus_Maximus]
Morodiene Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11475
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: Opus_Maximus
If any..how do you cope if you have students coming? Do you have noise complaints and/or zoning issues? How do you structure your studio/1bd/2brm etc so as to make your studio efficient?


I don't teach from an apartment, but I have some suggestions:

Be sure to check the zoning laws in your city. Be aware of them, but decide whether or not it's worth the risk if you aren't allowed to teach from your apartment. Same goes for your association if you have one. We recently moved into a gated community and our HOA forbids running a business in the home. However, my husband does web development for a living and never has clients over, so we chose to ignore that. Our thinking was it was mainly to avoid a lot of traffic in and out of the subdivision. We figured I could get away with teaching here because I only have one student at a time, and not a big studio. If your actions aren't bothersome enough to raise complaints from your neighbors then generally you'll be OK.

Be friends with your neighbors! Talk to them ahead of time, before you have students coming, and find out if they would be bothered by students coming between the hours of say 3-8:00 pm Monday through Friday. Be specific and upfront. If there is a problem, try to find a good compromise. The last thing you want is for the neighbor to be complaining to the landlord or management all the time. If someone is adamantly against you teaching there or has trouble with the hours you need to teach, then chances are you'll either have to move, or teach elsewhere.

The best set up is to have an area dedicated to piano. If in a studio, use room dividers and clever furniture arrangement to separate the teaching area from the living area. Ideally, this space would also be close to your entrance so that students and parents don't have to wander through your place to get there. Also, what about the bathroom? These are not things you can change, but if you are looking for a place, having the bathroom accessible without having to wander through your living space is ideal.

Have a seating area for students or parents during the lesson. Where will students wait for their ride home? How close is your apartment to the front door of the building? If you have direct access to the outside that is best, that way the student can wait by the door. Otherwise, you may want to insist they wait in your apartment and have the parent come up to get them. You live in LA, so you don't have to worry about weather concerns, but for other readers interested in this topic, you will want to consider how you will handle snowy boots and coats.

As far as the actual room arrangement, I make sure I have a large bookcase (or a few) with all of my music in the room. I have found that the best way to store books is to lie them flat on bookshelves. I have them somewhat organized so I can find what I need quickly enough.

You may want a few baskets where you can put things like flash cards, crayons, stickers, games, etc. If there is only one piano (two is preferred), then you'll need a stool or chair for yourself to sit. How do you do your assignments? Laptop or hand written in a notebook - you'll need a small table to write on.

Be sure there is plenty of ample lighting and that every space the student or parent will see is clean and tidy. Also, if you have a pet, let parents know this in advance in case you have a student who is allergic. In the past students have taken a benedryl before coming over, and I can keep the cat away if I know that's an issue. Kids do love seeing pets most of the time, so you 'll have to gauge if you need to keep them away or not. Of course, it looks more professional if the pet is not out and about, but you'll have to see what people are most comfortable with. All of this helps toward a more professional appearance.
_________________________
private piano/voice teacher - full time
MTNA member
www.valeoconservatory.com
Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

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#2156788 - 09/24/13 11:25 AM Re: Teachers - how many of you live in apartments? [Re: Opus_Maximus]
Peter K. Mose Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/06/12
Posts: 1318
Loc: Toronto, Ontario
Whether you live in an apartment or a house, there are neighbor issues and there are zoning issues, and the former can lead to the latter. Usually a municipality doesn't care much about a studio piano teacher unless there is a neighbor's complaint.

But it is helpful to know the local bylaws regarding either noise or home office, so you might drop by your local city hall and ask, or do it anonymously by phone, letter, or email.

As Morodiene has observed, there are also gated community or condo association rules that can be even more pesky than zoning laws. Apartment leases can be similar. Even if the law is on your side, a landlord would be delighted to get rid of you if you are teaching piano, so keep a low profile.

In short, do your thing, but be wary.

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#2156966 - 09/24/13 05:14 PM Re: Teachers - how many of you live in apartments? [Re: Opus_Maximus]
Gary D. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4750
Loc: South Florida
Originally Posted By: Opus_Maximus
If any..how do you cope if you have students coming? Do you have noise complaints and/or zoning issues? How do you structure your studio/1bd/2brm etc so as to make your studio efficient?

I live in an apartment, and that is why I do not teach at home.

That said, a huge number of my students are in the same situation.

That is life in South Florida...
_________________________
Piano Teacher

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#2156967 - 09/24/13 05:15 PM Re: Teachers - how many of you live in apartments? [Re: Opus_Maximus]
Polyphonist Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 7522
Loc: New York City
I have to stop playing every night at EIGHT-THIRTY. It's absurd.
_________________________
Regards,

Polyphonist

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#2156982 - 09/24/13 05:39 PM Re: Teachers - how many of you live in apartments? [Re: Polyphonist]
Gary D. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4750
Loc: South Florida
Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
I have to stop playing every night at EIGHT-THIRTY. It's absurd.

This is how so much of us end up doing at least part of our practice on keyboards. There are things you can work out on them, and you can do it 24/7 with earphones.

Optimum? Of course not.

I can't stand going NEAR a piano before I teach. To concentrate on practicing when teaching involves teaching other people how to practice is just impossible for me to do before I have to do that work.

Then after getting finished, no earlier than 8 PM, there is no way I am going to unwind by playing then.

It's different for people who only teach a little, not full time, and who still have the energy to play for as long as they like, any day, any time.
_________________________
Piano Teacher

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#2157040 - 09/24/13 07:00 PM Re: Teachers - how many of you live in apartments? [Re: Opus_Maximus]
Stanny Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/08/06
Posts: 1461
I lived in an apartment last year for 4 months. The front bedroom was my teaching studio, and I made sure to stop lessons and practicing at 8:00 PM because a little girl's bedroom was on the wall next door. I played my digital with headphones a LOT during that time!

My neighbors were very understanding, thank goodness!
_________________________
~Stanny~

Independent Music Teacher
Certified Piano Teacher, American College of Musicians
Member: MTNA, NGPT, ASMTA, NAMTA

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#2157045 - 09/24/13 07:08 PM Re: Teachers - how many of you live in apartments? [Re: Polyphonist]
currawong Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 5903
Loc: Down Under
Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
I have to stop playing every night at EIGHT-THIRTY. It's absurd.
Inconvenient for you, certainly. Unfortunate, and even upsetting and frustrating. But I wouldn't say it's absurd. What would be absurd would be for everyone in the building to be given free rein to play loud music at any time of night. Just think for a minute, PP, what that could mean...
_________________________
Du holde Kunst...

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#2157052 - 09/24/13 07:27 PM Re: Teachers - how many of you live in apartments? [Re: Opus_Maximus]
Candywoman Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/14/03
Posts: 834
OP: you didn't state why you need to know. Are you having any issues?

I taught for four years in an apartment and it was terrible. The most sticky issues weren't me bothering others, but them bothering me. Expect people to take 25 minute showers (ridiculous in its own right), which is loud and annoying. Expect them to smoke, do pot, require carpet cleaning when you are teaching, park in your spot, and vacuum while you are teaching. It is really untenable.

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#2157065 - 09/24/13 08:15 PM Re: Teachers - how many of you live in apartments? [Re: currawong]
Polyphonist Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 7522
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: currawong
Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
I have to stop playing every night at EIGHT-THIRTY. It's absurd.
Inconvenient for you, certainly. Unfortunate, and even upsetting and frustrating. But I wouldn't say it's absurd. What would be absurd would be for everyone in the building to be given free rein to play loud music at any time of night. Just think for a minute, PP, what that could mean...

Ten is the normal time here, but I have a cranky old lady as a next-door neighbor who supposedly goes to bed at 8:30 (I don't trust anything she says though). By the way, her cats are always roaming around the garbage cans outside my apartment door in the middle of the night.
_________________________
Regards,

Polyphonist

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#2159345 - 09/28/13 08:31 PM Re: Teachers - how many of you live in apartments? [Re: Opus_Maximus]
Opus_Maximus Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/27/04
Posts: 1480
Thanks for all your replies! Morodeine, I especially enjoyed your detailed suggestions.

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#2161264 - 10/03/13 04:03 PM Re: Teachers - how many of you live in apartments? [Re: Opus_Maximus]
Rob Mullins Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/10/04
Posts: 309
Loc: LA CA
Great advice earlier in this thread! I've found that living over the carport seems to work well if you do have to live in an apartment. Those kinds of places are hard to find but you can really gain a lot of advantages if you just choose a place with no shared walls, no tenants above or below you. You can use high density foam to block windows where the sound can be leaking out. I have always told the landlords about what I do and I keep the number of students low at home and teach most of them at the office. It is also smart to put the hours you can play the piano in your lease because if other tenants complain a lot your formerly cool landlord may stop being cool and start giving you a hard time!


Edited by Rob Mullins (10/03/13 06:11 PM)
_________________________
Rob Mullins
www.planetmullins.com
Two openings in my private lessons program starting in Nov.

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