"Behind every successful musician are extremely tolerant family members and neighbors." Maybe you've seen this quote on the internet. I have and it's true.
Musicians must practice, but oftentimes they live with and/or next to others who'll hear every single note played. Those neighbors and/or family members within earshot who choose to tolerate and support musical rehearsal are the unsung heroes in any musician's story. They could very well file a noise complaint, but they don't. Not everyone is willing to listen to someone playing the violin or banging on drums, so I feel us musicians should really appreciate those around us that tolerate our practice, allowing us to do what we love.
How can us musicians show our appreciation for our tolerant family members and neighbors? Other than directly thanking them, we can reciprocate their consideration for our feelings. Here are some ways to be considerate.
Don't practice too early or late in the day
- I personally don't drum before 10AM or after 9PM.
Introduce yourself to your neighbors
- If you have neighbors who live close to you, it's a great idea to introduce yourself. Let them know you play music, but only plan on playing during certain hours of the day. It's a good idea to ask them to speak with you if your rehearsal is ever bothering them. I introduced myself to my current neighbors when I first moved in, stating that I'm a musician and would like them to tell me if they ever have any problem with my playing. I haven't received any complaints in the 14 months I've been here.
Reduce noise level in your practice space
- With nearby neighbors and/or housemates in mind, it's a good idea to reduce the noise level of your rehearsal space. There are plenty of DIY ways to dampen the sound in any room, using things like foam. For drums in particular, there are even options available that reduce the noise level of the instrument itself.
Remember, those around us have the power to file a noise complaint with the city and potentially shut down our practice at any time, so let's appreciate those tolerant friends, family, and neighbors who allow us musicians to hone our craft in peace. Let's be as considerate as possible to those who show us the ultimate consideration.