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Where should I practice?

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Marcus
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So, I've had my very first angry note about my singing practice. I just moved into a new apartment, in Finland this time (I'm from Sweden originally). The note was something in the style of "You can stop planning for that Idol-carreer since it's bound to fail. Your singing makes my EARS HURT LIKE HELL". I'm not very shaken from the angry tone, since I know I can sing. But practicing singing and performing is not the same thing, as all you other singers know.

Where do you people practice? Do you have a rehearsal room somewhere where you go to do singing practice, or you just don't mind the neighbours complaining? Since I just moved here I've had no chance to even look for some rehearsal space, but I've always practiced singing at home during daytime before and kept a rehearsal room for band practice. That way I need less planning for singing practice and can just have a go when I have some time on my hands.

I've made sure to practice during daytime, never after 19.00, to leave people some peace during evenings. But she also complained a bit about our loud love-life in the middle of the night, which isn't really true (it's not THAT loud and not THAT LATE), so maybe she's just an angry and bitter old lady and I shouldn't mind her complaints in the first place...

What do you think, how much can one disturb the neighbours in daytime without involvement of the company who rents us the apartment?

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Check the laws regarding disturbance via sound (or whatever it's called) in your town. Stay within it. Look for ways to dampen the sound in one room in your appartment. I think it can be done with carpets or even sheets or something. This is something I'm going to do. If you've got a car, practise in it when you can.

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seems there is always somebody to complain, no matter what country you live in. Use a closet, hang blankets on the walls to absorb the sound or just tell her its not your fault that she lived her life without talent and to stop being jealous of you. Or you could simply buy her a set of earplugs as a gift.

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Haha, I love the earplugs idea! I'll look into the room isolation, but we don't have a walking closet here wich would have been perfect. I guess I could do some practice in the car, but I don't find a car optimal for singing practice and if I don't practice when driving it's going to be cold (winter coming here...). I only have about 10 minutes drive to work.

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Someone (Steven Frasier, who?) here recommended getting a fairly large cardboard box, maybe 2 feet by 2 feet, padding the insides with towels or sound proofing foam, and then singing into that for a cheap solution!

I'd really love if someone tried this, because I used to live back in the day in a place where I could be as loud as I want (acoustic drums, singing, anything). Now I'm packed into a small apartment complex and it makes all of the difference. In order to get a tone I want at a respectable volume, I pretty much 'have' to use curbing/cry/whatever if I want any beef to my tone, otherwise it will thin out more than I wish.

I've wondered if the more 'urban' styles of music, might be partially influenced by that need to sing more quietly when neighbors are so close. It seems like a lot of more urban soul is done in this sound, really, that isn't as shouty or screamy as other sounds.

Aside from that, car, rehearsals, maybe just go out in a forest somewhere alone if there is a non city environment nearby, bring an acoustic guitar!

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Sorry about your plight, Marcus. Years ago, I lived in a condo in Dallas. Brothers lived on one unit next to and played dance music on their stereo, loudly.

Newlyweds lived in the other unit next to me on the other side and they could be heard doing what newlyweds do.

So, I did all Led Zep songs and "Gethsemane" that I cared to do, and turned up my guitar to play "Cat Scratch Fever" and "Snakeskin Cowboy" by Ted Nugent.

No one ever complained. We each had our thing.

Agreed, I think your neighbor is just being difficult because she can because your voice is not harmful. And you are handling it more diplomatically than I would.

Scott's idea of earplugs is great. My thought was to get her a discount coupon to "get a life." But you've got to live next to her. Plus, she's making comments about your private life, which is totally uncalled for. Sounds like, no matter what you do or don't do, she's going to complain or have a problem about it.

Or, maybe you can find out what music she likes and put one of those songs in your practice set. Lure her into your web of friends, in spite of herself.

For example, if she likes Frank Sinatra, sing "Strangers in the Night." And I would say, do the original lyrics, not my version of the lyrics.

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That's a hard one. Tamplin gives a tip about warming up in hotel rooms by singing into a pillow, but you really can't do that on a regular basis. I do practice in my car, but I have a 25min drive to work. That's not ideal either though, you could at least do some of it in the car. The rest of my practice is in different places in my house. Do you have a university nearby with a music program? Maybe you could sign up for lessons or work something out with them and use their practice rooms. My university was really strict about the use of practice rooms, and I had to sign up for lessons to use them.

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I tried the box thing ala Steven Fraser. It is pretty useful, and has definitely helped. But then again, your head is inside a box, which is a bit limiting. It's not ideal for practicing songs, but it is good for basic sirens, messa di voce. I am going to try and make a vocal booth out of one of my closets once it gets emptied into storage. There's videos on youtube for building closet booths, you can buy either materials intended for sound proofing (more expensive) or carpets/matresses (less expensive).

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Wow, thanks for all the great comments ant tips!

I'll maybe give that box thing a try, but I guess I'm best off building some kind of vocal booth. Could use that for home recordings as well, 'cause I guess my neighbour will be as sensitive to vocal recordings as she is to vocal practice routines. Can't have it in the living room though, so I'll have to move the studio a bit for vocal recordings. Just have to convice my girlfriend to give up a closet :)

Hah, I like the idea of singing songs she might like. Just have to chat her up a bit more, so far I've only seen her once or twice in the hallway (she lives in the apartment just above ours). My girlfriend went over to talk to her (I don't speak so good finnish yet, neighbour don't speak swedish) and it turned out she had had a really bad night, and was extra grumpy that day. So maybe I don't have to take it all too hard, but none the less I think I'm best off trying to solve the volume levels for all neighbours sake.

I will definately check with some university! Good tip! I'll try to find some practice rooms as well, maybe a good way to find a band while I'm at it. Don't know any musicians here in Finland yet and I miss singing in a band.

Can't find your essay through the link slstone, sorry. I'm just directed to the main page for essays and couldn't search for your name to find it.

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