Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Piano-Playing Next-Door Neighbor Complains of Noise

DEAR HARRIETTE: My next-door neighbor recently took up the piano. He practices every evening. Sometimes it is pleasant. Other times it’s annoying, as he is not good at it yet. But I admire his tenacity. It’s pretty cool seeing an adult take up an instrument.

I don’t play anything, but I do like to watch TV, and my wife and I watch a lot of movies and stuff on Netflix. Sometimes we binge-watch shows well into the night. We try to keep the TV at a respectable volume, but you know how some movies are -- there are loud scenes with music, gun fights or other loud sounds.

My neighbor has begun to complain about the noise from my TV. He even went so far as to speak to the super about it. I was appalled. I have endured his music well into the night -- or even during the day, when I don’t want to hear it. I have never once complained. And now he’s trying to get me in trouble with the building. How should I handle this? -- Too Loud

DEAR TOO LOUD: Before letting your anger get the best of you, knock on your neighbor’s door and ask if you can sit down and talk. The goal of this conversation should be to come to a compromise that both sides feel comfortable supporting. Tell your neighbor that you received the formal complaint from management, and you thought it best to talk face-to-face before going down a more formal road.

Tell your neighbor that you know that you sometimes play the TV loud and late, and you will try to be more conscientious of the time and volume moving forward. In turn, tell him that you are sometimes bothered by the constant piano playing. While you never mentioned it before, it does irritate you at times. Ask if he can curb playing at certain times in exchange for you lowering the volume.