Legal Practicing Hours

Question: What is the law about practicing hours?

Albert’s reply: Noise laws vary by city. In London, there’s a 1996 Noise Act that specifies 11 PM to 7 AM as quiet hours. Violations are penalized with a £ 100 fine.

In Vienna, I need to stop practicing by 10 PM to comply with noise laws, and 9 PM to comply with the house rules. (In college I was used to practicing until well after midnight!)

Some cities, such as Rome, mandate an afternoon noise break.

(Note that these answers are to the best of my knowledge.)

Fortunately there is a solution. Compared to most musicians, pianists are nowadays in a position of considerable advantage thanks to technology. In recent years digital pianos have become good enough to be of use to classical pianists during off-hours. Without going into detail, in general I recommend finding a digital piano that has a realistic piano action.

The most inexpensive keyboard I’ve found that has quite a realistic action is the Casio PX–150, now succeeded by the PX–160. It’s available as a keyboard for around $500:

For around an extra $100 you can get the Casio model with a stand to turn it into an upright piano.

If you can spend double, I recommend the Roland F–140R:

The Roland models simulate the double escapement action of a modern grand piano and hence feel significantly more realistic than other digital pianos.

Getting a digital piano to supplement your practice on an acoustic piano is a great way to solve your practice problems during quiet time and continue to be productive as a musician.

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