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DRUMMING AND YOUR NEIGHBOURS

The problem with drums is that they are loud and very hard to ignore. Listening to the thumping and random bashing of a learning drummer can drive people crazy. You need to respect that. You have the right to learn the drums and your neighbours have the right to a quiet neighbourhood. These are the grounds for a suburban war and you are starting it. You need to take peaceful diplomatic action immediately. Here is some advice.

My policy has always been to immediately talk to new neighbours about my drumming. I tell them I am a drummer. I ask them what times they are least likely to be disturbed. I invite them over to see and even try my drums. I ask them to walk around my house and theirs while I play at top volume and then get their opinion on the level of sound. Let them see you are a human and not a noisy punk from next door. Let them see that you want to work out the issue before it arises.

New neighbours will get really panicky when they see you unpacking a drum kit on weekends. Reassure them and get them interested.

Also do some research and know the law in your area. Phone the police and ask them about local ordinances. They should be happy to help if you tell them that you want to know so that you don't break any laws.

Even if the law is heavily in your favour (like a late noise curfew) compromise heavily and you will find no complaints come your way.

Communication is key. Having an agreed upon set of noise hours is a great idea. Many families are cooking, listening to music and mowing the lawn etc at certain times. These are prime drumming times. In my experience the best window is usually between 15:00 and 19:00. Tell your neighbours that you would rather they came over any time and ask you to stop than just put up with the noise until they explode later on. Things can escalate out of proportion with neighbours so getting them on your side is key.

In summary:

1) Research the laws of where you live so that you know where you legally stand.

2) Approach you neighbours in a friendly conciliatory fashion (be prepared to compromise but also be firm about your own rights and minimum requirements as a learning drummer - some neighbours will try to put a halt on all drumming and this is also not right - be firm on this). Let them know that you will be drumming every day but that you care about them and are going to try to soundproof your room and deaden your kit and only practice at reasonable times.

FURTHER THOUGHTS…

Most of this has changed since I got a Roland digital kit.

Wooden floors can amplify drum sounds. Examine the flooring in your house. Try to find a solid spot. My Roland drum kit is set up with the bass drum on an old fireplace. solid stone! see if you can find something similar. If not, set the spurs of your bass drum right against a load-bearing wall. this will result in the least resonance of the whole floor (like hitting a drum right next to the rim = hardly any sound)

J

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