I think all the violinists who have made it for themselves, at any scale, need to appreciate their neighbours who put up with their practice sessions in their early days. My neighbour's daughter practises her violin religiously, everyday evening after 8 PM and on weekends in the morning at 10 AM. It is godawful. But I silently support her, hope she keeps on and gets better. And when she becomes a good violinist, I hope she sends me concert tickets or at least some cookies.
I guess I'm more supportive because I quit learning to play the violin very soon after I started, mostly because I felt demotivated and didn't feel like I had the knack for Carnatic music. I joined mostly out of the typical pressure that prevails in a South Indian household to take some music lessons, and I chose the violin because it was my favourite instrument. My violin teacher didn't pay much attention to me, this other kid Sai Ganesh - stupid Sai Ganesh- was her favourite, and it put me off and I stopped going. Being left-handed, I think I had an added disadvantage at it- but may be that was just me making excuses. I still own a violin. My ever-indulgent grandfather had one specially made for me, with the guidance of a famous violin teacher in my native place. I feel like I let them down, but I have gotten over all of that. I just don't want to part with the violin- and a tiny part of me hopes that may be I will pick it up again, or , pass it on to my kid...or something. Every now and then I open the box, tighten the strings and run the bow across it. Then I loosen up all the strings and put it away, back in its box with the mothballs for company. And its out of sight out of mind, until the neighbour kid's ear-grating practice sessions remind me of its presence.
Next door kid has finished her violin practice, and now I can hear some blaring music from another window- loud gospel music. Gosh. Then I hear faint strains of opera. From another direction I can hear some nice tappy upbeat mexican music playing. From closer home, I can hear someone's pressure cooker whistle going off. And someone else's vacuum cleaner.
Every now and then this cacophony is interrupted by a wailing siren of a police car or an ambulance. Or an odd motorcycle whizz past. I don't feel like playing any music of my own in the house because all these noises have put me off. I struggle to hear myself think. I have an unfinished movie from last night left in the dvd player, may be I'll turn it on and drown out all these noises with some bollywood dialogue-baazi.
Just yesterday I was at a friend's place- they have a lovely apartment just by the river- so close you can hear the sound of the waves while sitting in their apartment. Its peaceful and tranquil. And a beautiful view of the city's skyline and saiboats sailing in the river. It was like being in a different world.
I have other apartment buildings in my face from every window in my house. I hate that. But I have stopped caring. I keep my curtains open because I want the little light and sunshine that makes its way in. I hate being able to hear every move of my upstairs neighbours.
All that said and cribbed, I like noise. I like the noise of life. With a few adjustments that would make it less intrusive and afford me some more privacy, I'd pick the bustle of city life over the tranquil of suburbia any day.