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Private Practice Space

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eggplantbren
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Hi all,

I am wondering if anyone has any innovative suggestions on where to practice. I live in a small apartment with lots of neighbors, and I'm overly conscious of that, so I often get quite timid with my practice and it's holding me back. I also don't do it as much as I would really like to (which would be like 2 hours a day or something) because of what the neighbors might think. Not entirely optimal, I know, but pretty common, I'm sure.

I know a lot of you practice in the car, which would be great except I don't have one. And my motorcycle helmet has bad acoustics and I should probably concentrate on the road :-)

Does anyone have any suggestions, or reassuring anecdotes about neighbors to calm me down? :)

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Hi eggplantbren, I do have an encouraging anecdote! I also live in a very small apartment with a lot of neighbors and one day I said to hell with my shyness and started singing and after 10 minutes I heard someone knocking on my door and I was like ooooooh my God how embarassing, and it was actually one of my neighbors who is a songwriter and came to me and said that he loves my voice and was just what he was looking for for one of his songs so I ended up recording a demo for him to try to sell to artists! That is something nice, let me tell you! Now he moved and I have other neighbors but I guess they either don't care what I do or they are deaf =) I do get embarrassed when I hear they are on the hall so I cut down my volume when I hear that but once they're gone either to the elevator or inside, I keep on singing... No one else has complained! Actually one of the neighbors from the floor below said she loves when I sing and she's in the bathtub because that relaxes her... I didn't know if it was a joke or what, but that's as bad as it can go right??? Good luck!!!

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I live in a dorm-room kind of house and know exactly how awkward it is to begin to sing scales when some douche is sitting five feet outside the paper-thin walls. I've even wrote a bunch of songs of my frustrations about it but I am beginning to come to terms with it. What I do is mentally think about the situation: it is most like much more awkward for him than me to have some random guy sing scales two or three hours every day. And who wouldn't love some extraordinary things to happen in their lives? People content with squatting on facebook or watching television all day should be put in a container and sent to Uranus imo. Then I do this few steps to get me started:

1. Start with the quiet stuff. Breathing and support, working on songs, reading, writing, preparing, stretching and massaging.

2. Bring on some vocalizes. Take the time to do the tiny and quiet sounds you will need when practicing mecca di voce etc

3. Mask the exercises behind an instrument or song. This one is really handy. I take my guitar and sing along the scales and it will feel much less awkward. As soon as I get my speakers to my digital piano I will use that. I usually start low and bring on some volume when the awkwardness is gone. Singing ALONG with a song is better than using your headphones so your roommates have to listen only your voice.

Here's some tips I've actually done before but I haven't had the time or resources to do them properly:

1. Build a voicebox. You can actually, and this is what I am planning myself, build a wardrobe out of cardboard, isolate it and make a door and insert a microphone. It wont be dead silent outside but it will reduce much noise. If you have wood or some ikea stuff at hand that's even better but I want it cheap/free.

2. Run out in the woods. There are going to be stray people with dogs, but who cares, you are working right? Prepare scales on your iPod. Jaime Vendera suggest you sing when you jog to build up stamina as well as vocal stamina. It will feel awkward at first but it help with stage fright as well. Haven't tried it however.

That's what I try to do. I think even if people are home and you make them aware that you want to sing it will be no different than picking up a guitar and practice. If you are humble and warn them and keep the practice sessions on par with everyone elses schedules I believe the'll be happy to let you sing as much as you want. Unless their douchebags and in that case make a point and sing even more so they have to move out :)

Cheers

Fred

/edit

Awsome anecdote blackstar! I came to think when I was younger we used to have an opera singer as a neighbour. He practiced two or three times a week and I remember I loved hearing his voice through the walls, muffled but clear and ringing. We had pretty thick walls. I think the human voice is much more pleasant than music. But learning to cope with my own awkwardness picking up a guitar and singing along with the notes is working great. When I am more sure of my voice I'll try without it!

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I'm in the same boat with you guys. Someone in my apt building asked me, "who's screaming in there all the time?" lol

So I try to practice with my band as much as I can...like 3 times a week. And I do my scales in the bathroom :)

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When I lived in Dallas, I lived in a condo (950 sq feet, two story). One neighbor to my east liked to play club dance music. So, I would turn my Fender 85 amp to the wall and rip into "Snakeskin Cowboy" by Ted Nugent.

The neighbors to the north wall were newlyweds and thoroughly enjoyed their new marriage license. And I sang "Gethsemane." And "Immigrant Song." And "My Michelle" (by Guns and Roses). I'm fairly certain I was hitting higher notes than the new bride. No one ever complained. Ever. Now, I live in a house in a little town surrounded by farms. I always exercised good judgement. No rock opera after 10:00 pm.

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I love this topic.

Singing scale or Practising at home has been always my best enemy.

I believe we all share the same believe "What if my neighbour hate/complain about me if I sing too loud?"

Well, I believe that singing, even with an amp is not that big deal. If singing is annoying, I think practise PIANO/GUITAR can be annoying too. All my neighbours's children play Classical Piano, and I use this as a excuse to practise scale WITH AMP and ENHO!

Last word, never practise before 7AM and after 11PM. :cool:

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i practise after i close my video store right here in the store. i remember i got an in-person lesson from kevin richards once. it was ackward though.

suggestions:

the car

under a tunnel or overpass (ala dion and the belmonts)

put an add in the paper to use someone's house. some people travel a lot and aren't home. maybe they'll let you practise when they aren't home.

just a thought....truth is, you simply cannot practise carefully!

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I practice in my sister's house. She moved to the UK and the house has been empty for almost a year, and I finally decided to take advantage of that. I'm always pretty comfortable there. Walls are somewhat thin as well, but there no one knows me at all, so I don't feel the same psychological pressure I do when I'm in my own home. I suppose you don't have the possibility of practising in a empty house nearby, but if you did, I guess it would solve the problem. I feel bad for you =O

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psychological pressure....is the best enemy of practising at home.

A year ago, my neighbour saw me in the lobby and asked if I am the lead singer of a band (in fact she wanted to imply I practise at home). What I said ....was ....I am a bassist in the band.:cool: And I fact I am both the vocal and bass in the band. ahhahha

But the fact is, once you can deal with psychological pressure, it will bring you to another level.

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What's the worst a neighbor is going to do? Tell you to quit singing? Or say something rude? Something more harsh than you've already told yourself.

Verily, I say unto thee, let the notes issue forth. And cursed be he who first cries, Hold! Enough! (sorry, Shakespeare just had to sneak in there.)

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