Really, I do. And I used to vacuum nearly every day. Honest. Not every day, mind you. But I did it enough that when Brandon (who is no 23) came home from school with one of his friends, Mike, Mike would always smile and ask me if I was vacuuming. I am not that “steady with a vacuum” these days, but it is still my friend.

But Jeremy Denk writes this:

As I played the coda, I felt guilty. Not for skipping to it; but because I needed to accomplish “something useful” before I gave myself this searing pleasure. In a flash, I recalled my former teacher, Gyorgy Sebok, impeccably dressed–having parked, as always, illegally in the loading zone–walking into a lesson I had with him, saying that he had just vacuumed the house, and that it made him “feel useful.” He smiled his European, utterly cultured smile, which commented ironically all at once on the vacuum, on himself vacuuming, and on the very idea of usefulness. The incomparable guru finding himself useless, sucking up dust.

So, I tore myself away from the piano and I hauled the Hoover out of the closet and cursed its non-retractable cord and cursed the astonishingly outdated electrical systems of my building, and cursed the red carpet I put in the piano room, which seems to put an exclamation point on every morsel of dirt it collects…. and thus cursing, I did a serviceable job.

You can read the entire blog entry here. It’s a good read!
It doesn’t sound like he or his teacher use the vacuum to avoid practicing.

Confession time: I do.

I clean the bathroom to avoid practicing too. And rearrange my oboe desk. I can find so much to do when I know I need to practice. I’ve always felt guilty about this. Very guilty. I do not like to begin practicing! Notice that I say begin practicing. Once I set myself down and get into it, I enjoy myself. It’s not just music, though. I am the same way about other things. Exercising at the club. Making dinner. Yard work. What makes vacuuming and cleaning the bathroom different is beyond me.



  1. I HATE to start practicing! Once I’m in, though, I’m fine. It’s the initial jump into the pool that’s hard for me. It helps to leave my kazoo sitting out where I can pick it up quickly!

  2. Patricia Mitchell

    Oh I’m so glad to see this, TD! Hoorah!

    Of course this could just mean that you are as crazy as I. But let’s assume it means that we are both normal. Better … yes?