Practising in an apartment
At what times do you believe it's appropriate to practice when you live in an apartment?
I don't have any agenda in writing this post except to avoid annoying my neighbours.
It depends on the type and construction of apartment, location and isolation of practice room in comparison to the neighbour and sound transmission, and volume level of the instrument. With good isolation and a mute or electric, one can potentially practice at any time.
I've had people stand outside/upstairs and they can hear it, so it must be quite loud.
It also depends on what your neighbors are OK with. I'm pretty lucky with my current apartment: both of the neighbors adjacent to my living room (next door and upstairs) are night owls who don't mind me practicing past midnight even though they can definitely hear it. That wasn't true in my last apartment, where I had to stop practicing at exactly 10pm according to apartment rules and most of the neighbors who could hear me practice wanted it quiet at 10:00 sharp.
The best way is to simply ask your neighbours. Do not wait until someone complains. You need to know:
One of these days I'm going to work up a set of plans for an insulated practice booth that you can build yourself with tools you can rent from the local hardware.
@Paul looking forward to that post
I usually try to get my practicing in before 8pm—most often I practice in the 5:30–7:00pm range (after I get home from work) and earlier on the weekends. I've talked to some but not all neighbors in my building as well.
No matter where I am, house or apartment, I stop playing at 9pm as a courtesy.
I usually *start* practicing at 9 PM or even 10 PM. But I practice in a basement room that I finished myself that has all the walls and the ceiling insulated with fiberglass. It is barely audible in the room above me and that level of sound does not bother the inhabitant. The only downside is that my basement has 7-foot ceilings so I have to practice sitting down, otherwise I will destroy my bow tip (learned that the hard way, fortunately repair was inexpensive).
I live in an apartment and this was a large concern of mine when I returned to the violin almost 3 months ago. I mention the time since returning as my teacher laughed at first and said I wasn't playing loud enough yet for that to be a concern :-)
Probably best to start early, then there's no need to play late, but I haven't started yet today (it's 2PM local time).
I have personally tried several practice mutes. The sound muffled so much to the extent that I don't enjoy playing the instrument anymore with it on. Paradoxically, I don't think the volume was lowered a lot.
Timothy Smith said: " I just broadcast an empty RF carrier." I like the idea of broadcasting silence. If it's low enough power, maybe it's even legal, at least for those who have the technical skill.
I'm rarely able to start practicing before 9pm, so I've always asked the neighbors if they mind me practicing after the official quiet hours. If I'm practicing after the neighbors' limits, I play pizzicato only; I don't own a practice mute and don't intend to ever get one.
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