As COVID-19 continues to have a negative impact on our health and culture, external protocols have had a major impact on the music industry as safety concerns all but eliminate the possibility of holding live performances. This isn’t a minor problem, either. Currently, the UK has over 52 thousand employed musicians who now have to look for a way to hone their craft under these new conditions.
For many, this means staying at home in their flats to practice and write new material. While you have a home base to streamline your craft, you also need to be courteous to the other people living around you, so you don’t want to be too loud and cause a disturbance. Luckily, there are some ways to practice music in a flat or your private little area without causing a ruckus.
Importance of Music During COVID-19
It is worth noting that while career musicians are forced to stay in their flat, there are other people who are also stuck at home who may use music as a means of keeping their spirits up and passing the time. Even for someone who is just starting out in music, this is a great time to practice a new instrument or learn a new song on an instrument that you are already familiar with. It is a great hobby that will never go out of style, and over time, you could be one of the thousands of paid musicians who does what they love for a living.
Beyond that, both playing and listening to music can help you deal with the stress of the coronavirus pandemic. Whatever type of music you like, you can get a benefit. Fast music can make you feel up and ready to take on the day, while slower music can help you to feel relaxed as you let that stress roll off of you. But how do you utilize those benefits without bothering the neighbors?
How to Practice Quietly
As a musician working in your flat, you may need to modify your routine to be courteous to those around you. If you are just starting out, for example, you may want to begin with more apartment-friendly instruments that are generally quiet and won’t cause much disruption. Some of these include an acoustic guitar, ukulele, and even a digital keyboard where you can turn down the volume and still play to your heart’s content. You can also try wind instruments like flutes or a clarinet that both produce beautiful music.
An electric guitar may seem out of the question, but it depends on the type of equipment you have. You can plug a guitar into a digital guitar interface, which allows you to connect it directly to your computer, where you can listen to the sound through headphones without bothering anyone else. Headphones can also be used with keyboards and bass guitars for the same soundless effect.
If you are a drummer at heart, you may think that loud is the only way to go, but there are ways to play the drums and keep the noise to a minimum. One option is to consider an electric drum kit, which often comes with mesh heads that you can drum on without much extra noise. You can also put mesh drum heads on your existing acoustic drum kit, and they will absorb the sound, so you can play with your natural movement without worry.
Soundproofing Your Flat
If you are a purist and want to play your instruments unmodified and at volume 10, you can also look into soundproofing your flat to help prevent the noise from leaving the area. If you are on a budget, you can apply some soundproofing to your walls with inexpensive materials or stuff you might actually have around the house. However, the first step is to declutter the space, so you have more room to play while creating better acoustics.
Once the room is clear, the absolute easiest way to soundproof is to find thick rugs and blankets and hang them on the walls where you make the most noise. This won’t completely eliminate the sound, but it will mute it enough to cause a lesser disturbance. You can also soundproof your room with interior design — for example, by having thick curtains and carpeted floors, the room will absorb some of the vibrations.
If you are a professional musician with a band and you need the real deal, then you can put in some extra money to create a secure recording studio of sorts. Consult a contractor who can get the materials you need, including fiberglass insulation, extra thick drywall, and acoustical sealant, and then update your existing room so it will be quiet now and long after the coronavirus has gone.
This is undoubtedly a hard time for musicians, especially those who tour for a living, but by trying these quiet practice tips, you will be ready to go when the time is right.