Building a Band Hall

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Sparky, Apr 4, 2005.

  1. Sparky

    Sparky Member

    We are currently going through the process of finding a new rehearsal room. This is due to the closure of Ellington Colliery, where we have had excellent rehearsal facilities for a number of years. We have tried a couple of places out as temporary facilities but our favoured long term option is to build our own premises.
    I would be interested in hearing from anyone out there who has been involved in doing this and what good and bad things happened, how they found land, finance etc.

  2. timbloke

    timbloke Member

    We will also be looking for new premises over the next 18 months when our current facilities at the Malin Bridge sports and social club are closed to be knocked down for housing. Therefore I too would be interested in other people's stories. And I hope you can keep us updated on how it goes for you Sparky.
  3. brasscrest

    brasscrest Active Member

    Some things to think about:

    1. Adequate lighting. Don't let your architect talk you into using only recessed or "can" lighting. You'll regret it. Insist on nice, bright lights - rehearsals don't require setting a mood.
    (But if you plan on recording in the space, make sure that you don't rely exclusively on flourescent tubes for light - they're bright and cheaper to operate than incandescent, but they tend to buzz).

    2. Adequate secure storage space for instruments, equipment, spare uniforms, music library, etc.

    3. Nice, thick insulation in the exterior walls (or party walls where your space touches another building). You'll appreciate not having ambient noise from outside your hall and your neighbors might appreciate not hearing your rehearsals.

    4. If you can afford it, your MD and band sec will appreciate having some office space with phone and internet service, etc.
  4. KMJ Recordings

    KMJ Recordings Supporting Member

    To take this one stage further, it isn't just fluorescent tubes that have this problem. Any lighting that uses transformers (so low voltage halogen lamps would be a good example) can create a huge amount of electrical noise which can manifest itself as buzzing on recordings (at 50 or 60Hz depending on where you live). Other sources of noise include dimmer switches and fridges (important if you have a second, banding social room ;)).

    I guess this is in extremis for what you want to do, but it helps to know upfront just in case.
  5. trumpetmike

    trumpetmike Well-Known Member

    If there is even the slightest chance that you ever want to use it as a recording facility, sound-proofing is a must. I did a recording in a church that required numerous retakes due to being able to hear helicopters going to the local RAF base.
    It would also be useful to have a room set aside for potential as a recording suite - a good quality recording/mixing desk can take up a considerable amount of space.

    If there is any chance of making the building big enough for a practice room or two, they can be incredibly useful, especially when it comes to wanting sectonal rehearsals - you can hold two or three at once, without disturbing each other.
  6. KMJ Recordings

    KMJ Recordings Supporting Member

    Oh, and while I think on, don't forget to budget for soundproofing. Depending on where you want to situate your build, I don't know how stringent the Planning and / or Building Regs departments would be. You may have to demonstrate a certain amount of noise reduction. Don't be unnecessarily fooled into thinking this needs any special materials - normally you can get away with things like larger air gaps between double skins (or lining them with high density rockwool) and multiple layers of normal plasterboard (lapped).

    Another thing to try and avoid when you're having your plans drawn is to avoid room sizes in which the dimensions are multiples of each other (e.g. 8ft high x 16ft wide x 24ft long) as they can cause all sorts of acoustic problems. For example, you may get a nodes where the conductor's standing which affects his perception of how loud the bass section's playing...take this to it's extreme and it could affect balance decisions that could win or lose contests.
  7. timbloke

    timbloke Member

    its an interesting point about the noise of buzzing lights. I noticed at my old band who rehearsed in a small modern room with flourescent lights that my concentration (and that of a lot of the rest of the band) was affected by the background hum, I also started to get headaches. It is so important to have as good as perfect silence, as soon as there is a bit of background noise, naturally people start listening to it even if only subconciously, it is enough to cause a band to rock at the least. This is probably more an issue in less experienced and younger players who may not have as good attention spans and concentration levels. Don't know what anyone else thinks?
  8. brasscrest

    brasscrest Active Member

    In addition to the buzzing, flourescent lights also tend to flicker, which can also cause headaches. I think that the size of the room (particularly the height of the ceiling) and the design of the fixtures are critical parts of the overall plan that are often not properly considered.
  9. youngman

    youngman Member

    My band has it own bandroom, but does come with its problems.
    Theband have a timber framed building, with glass windows. Built in the the 1960's , this type of construction was quite popular. The land it is built on was formerly three derelict cottages and was paid for by band engagements and a locally run tote.
    In the 1980's New housing was built next to the bandroom causing complaints about noise which resulted in a restricted use of the building !
    As time has gone on the building has run into disrepair. Funding seems to be very limited from local authorities. Our band engagements have been reduced due to council cuts and the local public would like to see the back of the building. The only option seems to be lottery funding, which is also thin on the ground.
    My advice would be to find an existing building that you can secure on a maintained lease with no neighbours !
  10. BbBill

    BbBill Supporting Member

    Make sure you've got good heating, last thing you want is to be practicing in artic conditions, you get enough of that carol playing!

    Also good security, you dont want the local neds/up & coming community service workers round having a profit making exercise with the all contents of the hall while your not there!

    Big enough hall for a small audience for some concerts, maybe??

    Car/bus parking outside will probably be a factor too in your location, dont want to be lugging percussion stuff too far to the bus (please think on us poor bass players, cos then we need to shift our basses too after shifting all that percussion for them!);) :tongue:

    Disabled access Im sure comes into play for any new builds serving public I would imagine.

    A nice clean wall to mount all the trophies, photos, certificates etc etc!!! :biggrin:
  11. Brasstrom

    Brasstrom New Member

    Nice wide doorways are important

    (apparently its inconvenient to have to take one of the wheels off one of the timps every time you take it out of the building)