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practice environment! (Read 4158 times)

Offline onemanband

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practice environment!
« on: February 13, 2004, 12:59:20 AM »
Do u have a quiet, seperated practice environment? No, I don't. My neighbours in my Apt complain about the sounds. They start to stamp the floor( actually on my ceiling) at 6pm. Does that make sense? I used to practise in my school ,but all the music students plus vocal major and other instrumental majors would use the rooms there. So I don't think it is a good place for piano major.How about u guys?  How du u get the solution?

Offline bernhard

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Re: practice environment!
«Reply #1 on: February 13, 2004, 01:07:39 AM »
1. Get a digital piano and practise with headphones.
2. Get a Yamaha Silent series. It is a real piano. but if depress the middle pedal it goes digital and you can use headphones.
3. Get a Virgil clavier (a dummy keyboard)
4. Stretch a piece of felt between the hammers and the strings.
5. Build a sound proof room.
6. See if you can bribe the neighbours: Offer free piano lessons for the kids; offer to play in their silver anniversary party, etc.
7. Move.
8. Give up the piano.
9. Get a lawyer and sue the neighbours for harrassment (but be prepared for them suing you!)
10. Put a contract on them. (But be prepared for them already having put a contract on you).

Best of luck,
Bernhard.
The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side. (Hunter Thompson)

Offline Clare

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Re: practice environment!
«Reply #2 on: February 13, 2004, 02:58:46 AM »
Dude, I hear you. I have the same problem. I'm moving!

No. 5 is a good idea, though. Can you put egg cartons or proper soundproofing stuff on the ceiling?

minsmusic

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Re: practice environment!
«Reply #3 on: February 13, 2004, 05:30:32 AM »
Talk with your complaining neighbours, (even the ones who don't.)  Take your schedule with you.  Apologise for the noise.  Explain what you are doing (that is, at Uni etc) and what you want to achieve.  Tell them you have no other choice but to practise.  Tell them you understand how this can be annoying.  Ask them to compromise.  Show them your schedule, and ask their opinion when THEY will be happier with a time.  

Then inform your neighbours with a written schedule of when you will have to practise.  

Let them know your options are limited (can't afford a different piano, not in a position to move right now)

Let them know if the arrangement will be long term or short term (three years, three months etc)  

Tell them what you have done to limit their annoyance (padded the walls and ceilings with egg cartons - ask for carton donations ;) have put felt between the hammers and the strings.

Don't get nasty or threaten.   You win more bees with honey than vinegar.

If this fails,  make an advanced booking for a practise room where you study (surely they have a booking system, and if they don't approach your supervisor with this problem)

Hope everything works out okay for you.  I agree, you HAVE to practise, but it would be nice to keep the peace too. ;)

Offline bernhard

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Re: practice environment!
«Reply #4 on: February 14, 2004, 01:57:12 AM »
Quote
Dude, I hear you. I have the same problem. I'm moving!

No. 5 is a good idea, though. Can you put egg cartons or proper soundproofing stuff on the ceiling?


There: she can hear you. You definitely need sound proofing! ;D

Now seriously. For many years I also thought that egg cartons would do the trick. But apparently this is completely wrong.

Have a look here for some very helpful and sound ;D advice:

http://www.soundproofing.org/

(I have actually built a sound proof room in my place - not for piano though - but for the recorder which is much more neighbour unfriendly - I usually practise in one of the digital pianos).

Best wishes,
Bernhard
The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side. (Hunter Thompson)

minsmusic

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Re: practice environment!
«Reply #5 on: February 14, 2004, 02:45:43 PM »
I have a friend who is a sound engineer.  He also 'sound proofs' studios - (no he doesn't use egg cartons).  The materials are VERY expensive.  you're better off buying a digital piano and a pair of headphones - especially if you're renting.  

I asked him one day what else works well.  He said "Believe it or not, egg cartons."  

So my school music teacher all those years ago wasn't crazy after all.

I don't need soundproofing in my studios, so I don't have an egg carton in site. But don't forget the above site is a business, of course they're going to tell you their product is the only thing that works well - and it does!! If you have the bikkies to spend.  If not, try the egg cartons if you have them.   It's not going to stop the noise getting through that much, but at least you can even show your neighbours your attempt at compromise.  They might feel sorry for you and be lenient.  ;)

Oh, and sometimes putting an extra piece of carpet under the pianio helps absorb some of the noise.   (Carpet up the wall :-/?)

Offline Hmoll

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Re: practice environment!
«Reply #6 on: February 14, 2004, 08:16:03 PM »
Where do you live? Every city has different ordinances. In NY you can practice up until 10:00 pm - unless the building has separate regulations. There are documented court cases that musicians in NY use to exercise their right to practice.
Find out what your local laws are. Discuss it with your landlord. Discuss with your neighbor how much you need to practice, and when a bad time to practice is. Maybe they have dinner at 6:00. If that's the case, compromize, and don't practice at 6:00.
Try to work with your neighbor. The last thing you want is a close neighbor who is an enemy. No one wins in that situation.
"I am sitting in the smallest room of my house. I have your review before me. In a moment it will be behind me!" -- Max Reger

Offline bitus

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Re: practice environment!
«Reply #7 on: February 14, 2004, 08:43:57 PM »
Bernhard, what is Virgil Clavier? Do you have any idea where i might buy it?
I used to live in an apartment in Romania, and the neighbours were a real pain!
As far as isolation goes, try to put a thick sponge layer... it absorbs sound much more than egg cartons. You can actualy improvise some kind of cover for your piano, if it's an upright. You can also combine the sponge (thick one, just like a matress) with cartons. It's very cheap!
If the isolation doesn't work, try going to a church nearby. I will asure you most of the churches will allow you to practice on their piano, and might even give you a key. It would be nice of you to play a small piece from time to time in their services, as an appreciation. I really recomend this option ;]
Hope this helps.
Be still, my soul: thy God doth undertake
To guide the future, as He has the past.

Offline bernhard

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Re: practice environment!
«Reply #8 on: February 14, 2004, 10:11:04 PM »
The Virgil Practice Clavier, named after his inventor, Almon Kincaid Virgil, and advertised as a “silent piano” was very popular with teachers and pianists during its heyday (from 1888 to 1913). Claudio Arrau – amongst others – owned one and was a great believer in its merits.

It is basically a complete keyboard mechanism but nothing else. Each key makes a clicking noise when you press it with the correct touch. No click means your touch is sloppy. You can also adjust the weight of each key (from 2 to 20 ounces) so that you can use the clavier for developing finger strength (they believed in this sort of thing 120 years ago!). :o

The basic idea (besides not bothering the neighbours) was that you could shorten the period of study by doing away with tone, so that the finger technique is acquired mechanically an unmusically, while value of tone, reading, expression, whatever we understand by musical production exciting our receptivity through the ear, is delayed until the player's hand is formed and considerably developed. (yes, that is what people believed 120 years ago – but I for one am not sure that there isn’t some validity to this argument). ???

Have a look at a picture of an original Virgil Clavier here:

http://www.galwest.com/collectibles/assorted/practice_clavier.htm

For an interesting historic perspective on practice and the use of the Virgil clavier, look here:

http://www-personal.ksu.edu/~vhouser/etude.htm

Unfortunately (but I may be wrong here) I don’t think they are manufactured anymore, and you can only get one as an antique. It may or may not be in good working order. It may be very expensive just because it is considered an antique. :(

Here they have one selling for US$ 400:

http://www.musicianshotline.com/classifieds/0603/keyboard.htm

One of the reasons, I believe, they are note manufactured any more, is that for the price of a Virgil Clavier, you may as well buy a digital piano, and switch it off! Ad when you finish your silent practice, just switch it back on. If you disagree with the basic Virgil contention that playing without sound is beneficial, but still do not want to upset the neighbours, just use headphones with your digital piano. So it seems that digital pianos largely replaced these silent claviers.

Best wishes,
Bernhard.



The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side. (Hunter Thompson)

Offline bitus

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Re: practice environment!
«Reply #9 on: February 14, 2004, 10:25:02 PM »
Bernhard,
I don't like the digital pianos... i was about to buy the best one from Yamaha (forgot the whole name), but after i tested it, i realized it was worth walking to the practice rooms :) It's not in this topic's subject, so i will not expand my coments on digital pianos.
The Bitus
Be still, my soul: thy God doth undertake
To guide the future, as He has the past.



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