Diatribe: Spanish Pianist Faces Seven Years In Jail For “Excessive Practicing”.
The music building on the campus where I went to college was an older building. Built in the late 1960s and remodeled in the mid-1970s it was, at the time, a state-of-the-arts facility that featured large rehearsal rooms, several studios for faculty and a long hallway of individual practice rooms. Each rehearsal room was about eight feet by eight feet and contained an upright piano, a piano bench, a music stand and a chair. Many of us would arrive early in the morning to stake our claim to one of the rehearsal rooms and we would, essentially, camp out all day long, taking advantage of very minute between classes to get in as much practice time as possible.
Some days I would practice as much as eight hours before packing up and calling it a day but I never faced jail time because of it.
A professional pianist in Spain and her parents are facing a seven-and-one-half year jail sentence resulting from claims from a former neighbor of “acoustic contamination” and causing psychological damage to those living near her. Prosecutors are also seeking to have her banned from any profession involving a piano for four years in addition to a fine plus damages … because she practiced too much.
The neighbor, a woman, sued for the stress she endured living next door to the musician from 2003 to 2007. The trial is expected to conclude this week. Medical records show that she suffered hearing damage, panic attacks and pregnancy problems due to the “environmental auditory stress” suffered during the time that she lived next door to the excessively practicing pianist.
Not surprisingly, defense attorneys have asked that the case be dismissed.
The pianist and her parents, who are charged as accessories to the fact and face the same sentence, have disputed the charges and insist that the even tried to sound proof their practice room.
I suppose I can understand the frustration that these people endured. I have a neighbor who tinkers with an old car and “revs” the engine incessantly on weekends but I would certainly never sue him for “acoustic contamination”! Who thinks of these things? After a few hours of him working on that car, I’d welcome some piano music!
Would you ever sue a noisy neighbor?
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