Practicing/playing at home without upsetting the neighbours

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Stanley Accrington, Jul 11, 2017.

  1. Stanley Accrington

    Stanley Accrington New Member

    The old chestnut of making a noise that I may particularly like.....but the neighbours probably don't. I've tried the usual things like playing only when they are out of the house...putting a pillow case down my tuba or playing trombone with the 'practice mute that came with it when purchased (the said practice mute was a moot point of the sellers description) only it reduces volume by about a quarter of unmuted volume.....makes more blowing resistance.....and makes playing any of the higher notes near on impossible. I would like to have the occasional tootle in the evenings......and still remain on friendly terms with the neighbours.
     
  2. 2nd tenor

    2nd tenor Well-Known Member

    It is an 'old chestnut' but sometimes problems revisited produce fresh results or introduce a change of direction.

    I've lived in semi's and terraced houses and, yes, neighbours don't always welcome music - sometimes I didn't welcome theirs too - so consideration is desirable. Even if your neighbours are out, or you don't have any, other people in your own household might not want to listen to you, or not for too long. That's what I've found in the past, but less so as I improve and I'm almost welcomed if I play something that SWMBO likes. To a degree it depends on what the listener (neighbour, spouse, etc.) enjoys, playing as such isn't always the problem.

    Playing quietly is a skill and not one that I've really got. However I have heard someone play a EEb incredibly quietly (a similar volume to a turned down radio, and without a mute) so it is possible and maybe something to aim for. Tuba mutes are exceedingly expensive and I'm not sure how effective they are too, your pillow in the bell seems to be one way to go there. As an alternative, to explore and develop, I've found that draping a folded over (i.e. now double thickness) bathroom type towel over the bell, to seal it, reduces a Tuba's sound output somewhat - pitch accuracy is maybe compromised a little but I can cope with that. Pointing the bell away from 'party walls' seems sensible to me as does selecting where in your house to play dependant on where you think your neighbours will be in theirs. I've wondered about playing under the stairs too.

    Practice sessions don't necessarily have to include making music as such. I recently realised that I could just go through music practising rhythms and working my fingers (or slide positions) and that that really does produce benefits later. BERPs are now available ( https://www.alangregory.co.uk/music/BERP_No_6_for_Tuba_or_Bass.html?gclid=CLShpM2VgdUCFQ7jGwod_kwMMQ ) so that you can, if you want, buzz as you practice rather than rock the neighbourhood with melodious tones from your BBb.

    I hope that the above helps and that others add more useful comments.
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2017
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  3. MissBraz

    MissBraz Member

    If you are on friendly terms with your neighbours, speak to them about it, when I moved house recently, went and met my immediate neighbours to say hi and thought it best to say "oh by the way I do play in a brass band so do practice... I will try to do it when you are out or keep it to a minimum when you are in..."
    I was shocked by their response which was it was fantastic I played in the band and it would never bother them that I practiced! I do get not everyone's response would be like that but maybe it is worth the conversation!
     
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  4. Stanley Accrington

    Stanley Accrington New Member

    That is a great response from your neighbour. Unfortunately my neighbours have an estate agents 'for sale' sign erected in their garden. We have only been neighbours for 18 months! Hope that my tootling hasn't been the major factor for their move.
     
  5. 4th Cornet

    4th Cornet Member

    Or possible that they're moving because the neighbours don't speak to them even after 18 months? ;)
     
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  6. Jack E

    Jack E Active Member

    As luck would have it, though the flat I live in was converted from a cart shed on a farm, and is surrounded by other flats on both sides and above, the layout is such that my toilet / shower room only shares one wall with another flat - so I stick a cushion on the toilet seat, sit on that, park my music stand in front of the shower cubicle, and practise in there. I did have complaints from the people upstairs when I practised elsewhere in the flat, but responded very bluntly by pointing out to them - and to my landlord - that they repeatedly woke me up in the early hours by having their TV on blaring loud, or partying till 4am, and on one occasion, woke me up using power carpentry tools directly above my bed at 3am. They seemed astonished that it might have woken me up . . .

    And it's now 4:36am, and the idiot upstairs is proving, yet again, that he can neither play the guitar nor sing . . . so I think I shall revert to playing in my living room again tomorrow, giving an impromptu accompaniment to his small child, who spends half her time stamping round and yelling, and the other half bawling her eyes out . . .
     
  7. 2nd tenor

    2nd tenor Well-Known Member

    Jack's experience above does go to show the variability of neighbours, their attitudes and of what's considered acceptable. Talking to them can sometimes help - it usually does in my experience - but some folk do seem unable or unwilling to understand and implement the concepts of mutual care and consideration themselves yet expect others to do so.

    Taken to one extreme it's Jack's own fault for waking up at 3.00 am, the neighbors didn't ask him to hear their power drill. Taken to another extreme neighbors expect collective responsibility and complain about the merest noise from your home waking their child. They ignore the facts that you don't want to be disturbed by it crying either and that sound generated by cooking, conversation and the radio heard through headphones isn't intended to leave your own home.

    It's always worth trying to be considerate but, as they say, 'you just can't please' some people - if all else fails do within what you can justify as being reasonable and manage the consequences as best you can.
     
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2017
  8. 4th Cornet

    4th Cornet Member

    Have you tried using your common interest in playing instruments as a lever towards cooperation? Seems like a good opportunity.
     
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  9. 2nd tenor

    2nd tenor Well-Known Member

    Engagement, it's a skill, it's an art, it's broadly not understood and then there's persuasion which again is a skill and an art and not understood. Women, generally, seem to be better at both than men. I've become more aware of those attributes over the years but they are as alien to some of us as changing a car wheel and map reading is to others.

    On another thread, about a different topic (intonation?) I recall one contributor commenting about answers telling people what to do but not telling them how to do it, information that enables makes implementation possible.
     
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2017
  10. 4th Cornet

    4th Cornet Member

    True. One thing I've learnt is that getting what we want isn't achieved by creating hostility with those able to grant it.
     
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  11. 2nd tenor

    2nd tenor Well-Known Member

    I echo those thoughts. However there is another route, though not open to all, in which one person get's what they want from another by the threat or application of (crushing) mental or physical force. We've all come across some form of 'school or office bully' at some point ...... though they usually eventually meet their match it's no fun coping with them until then. That route seems to be more the male one, though I've come across some women who are equally as bad.
     
  12. 4th Cornet

    4th Cornet Member

    Good point. My concern with Jack's dilemma is that where does the line between being inconsiderate end and bullying start. It's one thing to be inconsiderate, knowingly or otherwise, but retaliation without attempting to resolve via friendly means seems strange to me.
     
  13. 2nd tenor

    2nd tenor Well-Known Member

    The whole area of behaviour recognition and dispute resolution is so difficult to safely navigate that only the skilled go there more than once. Jack's dilemma, whilst illustrative, is to an extent unique to his circumstances and I wouldn't wish to divert the thread by dwelling on it. To an extent it brings me back to a point that I made much earlier; playing as such isn't always the problem it's how your neighbour reacts to it. IMHO someone with the skills needed can often preempt an adverse reaction by prior engagement and ongoing conversation - wish I had those skills.
     
  14. Jack E

    Jack E Active Member

    Are you being sarcastic, or is this your idea of a joke?

    They are well aware that there is virtually NO soundproofing between their flat and mine; I pointed that out to them, very politely, when they first moved in.

    I spent quite a few years just before I retired working shifts, and my sleep patterns are often erratic, so I do sometimes find myself wide awake (as now) in the early hours - or conversely falling asleep during the afternoon. What I don't do is to assume that, if I'm awake, I can make as much noise as I want, regardless of my neighbours.
     
  15. Jack E

    Jack E Active Member

    No, I haven't. My polite requests for a bit of consideration have been repeatedly and blatantly ignored - as have similar requests from other neighbours to them, and it has reached a point where the landlord has warned them that if they don't quieten things down he will evict them.

    Frankly, I've got beyond the point where I would even consider trying to make friends with them.
     
  16. Jack E

    Jack E Active Member

    And I assure you that, in such situations, I always try the polite approach first - as I did with these people, repeatedly. I might as well have talked to a brick wall.
     
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  17. Jack E

    Jack E Active Member

    Hell, I wish I'd never bothered saying a damn word.
     
  18. 2nd tenor

    2nd tenor Well-Known Member

    I'm sorry if my comment could be read as being either of those. My objective was to (try to ) illustrate that some folk believe that they can do whatever they want and that any adverse consequences are down to the failings of others.

    Looking back over the years I've had several neighbours that were a joy to live next to, but I've also had a couple who felt more like a curse. You have my sympathy - good luck to you and your other neighbours in dealing with then - and remember Illegitimi non carborundum.
     
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  19. Jack E

    Jack E Active Member

    Thank you, 2nd Tenor - I'm sorry I misread your intention.
     
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