VIDEO: Teenage musician could be banned from practising piano

PUBLISHED: 12:42 18 March 2011 | UPDATED: 12:56 18 March 2011

Kien Ingate with his piano.

Kien Ingate with his piano.


A gifted young pianist from Sprowston faces a ban on playing at home after a neighbour claimed he was making too much noise tickling the ivories.

Kien Ingate, 14, has a dream of pursuing a career as a private music teacher and had hoped to perform in front of thousands at a special festival in China later this year.

But he and his mum May Chong, 38, now fear his musical ambitions could be in jeopardy after a neighbour made overtures to Broadland District Council about his piano playing.

The resident, near Kien’s home in Windsor Park Gardens, Sprowston, has claimed the level of noise is stressing him and his partner out and waking up their young child.

Now, Ms Chong has been threatened with the possibility of being served a noise abatement notice by the authority.

“I am devastated by what is happening,” Ms Chong said. “My son is not doing any anti-social behaviour. He is a good teenage boy. He has a real talent for the piano and it would be so sad to stop him playing.

“I feel hopeless. We are not deliberately trying to annoy the neighbours but Kien needs to practice.”

Kien, who has achieved distinctions in piano at grades one to three and is now working towards grade four, said: “I started playing the piano two years ago.

“I have been playing musical instruments for a long time. My teachers say that I have a talent and I do not want to waste that.

“I have been given the chance to go to China in October to perform in front of an audience of about a few thousand but I need to practice really hard for that.”

Kien and his mum said that he normally practices the piano for 30 minutes five times a week. They said he normally practices before 7.30pm and never plays the instrument after 9pm.

“I need to practice and to do a lot of work. I do not want my piano to become an ornament,” Kien said.

The neighbour pursuing the complaint, and who asked not to be named, said: “We have put up with the noise for a number of years and we have tried to be reasonable and talk face to face with them to no avail.

“It has now gone to the council and the council has said that the noise level is too much.

“The level of noise is waking up our daughter. It is also stressing both myself and my partner out hearing that level of noise twice a day.”

In contrast another one of Ms Chong’s neighbours has said he does not find the piano playing to be a problem.

Steven Gascoyne, 36, said: “If it is quiet in our house we can hear the piano but if the TV is on we do not really notice it. If we can hear the piano it is only ever a little tune so it is not really a problem.”

Following the noise complaint, Ms Chong has had meetings with environmental health officers and been sent letters from Broadland District Council about the situation.

One of the letters dated March 4 states: “We have had the opportunity of monitoring sound levels in the neighbouring property and analysing the recordings.

“It is clear that the piano playing is causing a noise nuisance to your neighbours.”

It goes on to say as a result of this an abatement notice may be served. However a more recent letter from Broadland has offered Ms Chong the opportunity to take part in mediation with the neighbour who has complained.

Angi Doy, communications manager at Broadland District Council, said: “We are suggesting at this stage some mediation to see if both parties can find a way forward.”

• To hear Kien playing the piano visit www.eveningnews24.co.uk

• Do you have a story for the Evening News? Call reporter Emma Knights on 01603 772428 or email emma.knights@archant.co.uk

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