If you’re living in a small space, the sound or beat of even a well-played instrument can disturb roommates, neighbors, and family. That’s why it’s especially important for beginning pianists to have a space to practice. One way to do this is to soundproof a specific area or room in your home. Here are a few tips to help.
Soundproofing Tip #1: Mind the Gaps
Scan the doors and window in your room for gaps. A lot of sounds will escape through these cracks, so consider adding a door sweep on both the inside and outside of the door. This will help reduce sound travel.
You might also consider covering the windows, either with thick curtains or professional-grade acoustical sealant or budget-friendly foam weather stripping. Look into installing a soundproof liner for your heating/cooling ducts.
Soundproofing Tip #2: Reduce Reflection
If the room you’ve chosen has hard surface areas, like granite countertops or hardwood floors, the sound will reflect. This means it will reverberate around the room until it runs out of energy, hitting the surfaces over and over again.
Soundproof against reflection by bringing in thick rugs or laying down carpeting, and consider hanging some material from the walls. Also install soundproofing materials throughout the room, including soundproof curtains or acoustic insulation. Be careful to avoid cheap alternatives, like egg crates or mattresses. These are ugly and ineffective.
Soundproofing Tip #3: Adjust Your Space
Think critically about your practice space and avoid areas that share walls with neighbors. You might consider adding a false ceiling to give your upstairs neighbors additional relief. Additionally, think about replacing hollow doors with solid, heavy core ones. If it’s an option, consider moving your equipment to a shed or garage in the backyard.
Creating Your Own Simple Studio Space
If you’re into composing, playing and recording, maybe it’s time to turn your unused guest room into an at-home recording studio. In addition to our other soundproofing tips, focus on acoustic treatment options. These will help ensure that the music that stays in sounds the best.
Consider these tips and tricks to keeping your music sounding just right:
- Eliminate feedback from your equipment by placing items like amps far away from microphones.
- Don’t get rid of all sound reflection. Leave a few spots open and treat them with diffusers to preserve the natural frequency of your music.
- Install bass traps to dampen the sound for lower frequencies. Most of your reflection treatments will tackle high-frequency reflections only.
- Make sure you have plenty of outlets for your equipment and that they’re the correct wattage.
- Think seasonally: When hot weather hits, will the sound of your air conditioner become background noise?
- Arrange your studio to accommodate the number of musicians who could play at one time in the space. If you host other artists down the road, or if you just want to practice with friends, this will make it a lot easier to arrange your recording stations to maximize the best sound.
- Use equipment that fits your space. This will ensure that you have more room and fewer things for sound to bounce off of. Have you considered using compact equipment? Use digital instruments to keep clutter at a minimum.