Practice Strategies for Musicians in Shared Apartments

Many hindrances come with living in a shared space, mainly that you can’t make noise any time you want. So if you’re going to practice music at home, how can you do so without getting complaints from your roommates and perhaps even your next-door neighbors?

1. Use headphones

Using headphones is the best way to practice music without bothering the people around you. Whether you are taking online piano lessons or jamming on your electric guitar, plugging a pair of headphones into your instrument, computer monitor, or amp will let you practice to your heart’s content without any noise complaints.

2. Practice when no one’s home

Even if it’s a rare occurrence that you’ll get the whole apartment to yourself, use every opportunity to practice your music while your roommates aren’t home. If you still lack confidence in your playing, practicing in solitude is also a great way to build your confidence while you are still not ready to play with an audience in the adjacent rooms.

3. Coordinate with roommates

When you want to practice at home, be courteous and notify your roommates that you will be playing your instrument. Doing this will help avoid conflicts in case they are studying, sleeping, or doing something that requires their utmost focus. Moreover, notifying your roommates can also be beneficial on your end in such a way that they won’t make too much noise and stay out of your way while you’re practicing.

4. Soundproof your room

If you have a separate room in the apartment, you can deaden the sounds traveling in and out of it by:

  • Hanging thick tapestries on the wall
  • Installing soundproofing panels that double as wall decor
  • Placing bookcases, closets, and other heavy furniture against the wall
  • Installing a door sweep to block the gap between the door
  • Laying down thick rugs on the floor
  • Using weather stripping on doors and windows
  • Hanging thick drapes or curtains on windows to block outside noise

playing the guitar

5. Practice during reasonable times

Reserve your practice sessions for socially acceptable times to make noise, like 9 AM to 5 PM. In this way, you will be less likely to get complaints from other people in the apartment or neighboring units.

6. Turn down the volume

If you want to practice at home, then you have to make some sacrifices. Turn down the volume of your instrument to the lowest it can go where you will still be able to hear it. If you want to practice outside of business hours, however, you might have to forgo the amp entirely if you have an electric instrument.

7. Buy silencer devices

Sometimes, you might not be able to practice within reasonable hours, especially if you have odd schedules at work. In addition to that, you might have a ton of responsibilities during the day that leaves no room for practicing music. So if you’re left with only non-acceptable times to practice, say, when your roommates are asleep or studying, consider buying a silencer device or practice mute to deaden the volume of your instrument.

Moreover, you might want to invest in electric versions of acoustic instruments, which are easier to control in volume and can be plugged into headphones.

8. Consider the neighbors

Don’t wait until you get complaints from the neighbors. Instead, be proactive and go to the surrounding units to speak with them. Ask your neighbors if it’s alright to practice at certain times (if you have a set schedule for practicing), and what time do they usually go to sleep. The fact alone that you asked first might be enough to have them agree. Moreover, it’s also a good idea to leave them your contact number, in case they need silence while you are practicing.

9. Choose the music you play

If you play Drowning Pool songs on your electric guitar for all of your roommates and neighbors to hear, they might not be too pleased. Remember that the type of songs you play will also have an impact on people’s tolerance for the noise. So if you want to practice songs that require a lot of decibels, you might want to reserve them for studio practice.

If all else fails, try to find an inexpensive rehearsal space, like a music room in a nearby university or a bar that allows musicians to practice during the day. But as long as you consider the people in your apartment and communicate with them, practicing at home can be entirely doable.

Do you have other practice tips for musicians in shared spaces? Please leave them in the comments below.

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