School closures can be devastating, especially for musicians. Sometimes, a school practice room is the best place to practice. However, now’s the time to learn how to practice in an apartment.
For better or worse, you won’t always be able to get to your school. But you can always pull out your instrument and practice at home.
While you don’t want to break any complex rules or annoy your neighbors, practicing at home might be necessary at times.
Why Practice in an Apartment
Being able to practice where you live can make it much easier to get in your needed practice time. While school practice rooms are helpful, you don’t want to rely on them.
Whether your school closes for a holiday break or a global pandemic, you need somewhere to practice. If you can’t go home to your parents’ or to a house, you need to be able to practice in an apartment.
Since most college kids don’t live in a house, knowing how to practice in an apartment is essential. Even if you have a house, you probably share it.
In any case, you need to be considerate of your roommates and neighbors.
The first reason why you should practice in an apartment is that it’s convenient. You don’t have to worry about getting out, either in bad weather or otherwise.
Practicing in your apartment also means you will probably have everything you need. You won’t have to pack a bag with your sheet music and accessories.
Also, if you need to take a short break, you can do that. You don’t need to worry about leaving your instrument unattended while you get water or use the restroom.
Another benefit of being able to practice in an apartment is that you can always access it. Unfortunately, you probably don’t have control over when you can access your school’s practice rooms.
Sometimes, the university will close the entire university except for essential services. To most universities, practice rooms and the music building don’t count as essential.
On the other hand, you can always access where you live. Unless you lock yourself out, you can get into your apartment even in bad weather or other crazy times.
How to Practice in an Apartment
If you want or need to practice in an apartment, you need to know the best way. Of course, you don’t want to make enemies with your neighbors.
You also don’t want to break any rules that your complex has in place.
However, you need to practice to some degree. Odds are you have lessons or juries approaching. If not, maybe you teach lessons and need to prepare for those.
Find the right spot
Before you take out your instrument, you need to choose the best spot. Typically, the best spot to practice in an apartment is somewhat isolated.
You should avoid practicing in bedrooms since your bedroom is most likely above or below another bedroom.
If possible, also try to avoid practicing near walls that you share with another apartment. For example, my kitchen and bathroom are part of a shared wall.
I wouldn’t practice there anyway, but it’s good to avoid if you can.
Determine the best time
Ideally, you don’t want to disturb or annoy any of your neighbors. However, if you need to practice in an apartment a lot, it’s probably bound to happen.
So try to find the best time to practice in your apartment. Perhaps most of your neighbors work a traditional job, so you can practice while they’re at work.
Or maybe you live in a building with other students with different schedules. In most cases, you can’t go wrong with practicing during the day.
I typically start to practice in an apartment a little before lunch. Most people are awake by then. I’ll also try not to practice much after dinner.
Your apartment may require a different practice schedule. No matter what, make sure you follow your complex’s noise policy. While you may need to practice, you don’t want to get into trouble.
Take it slow
If you haven’t had the chance to practice in an apartment, go slowly. Start by practicing in short bursts.
Not only will this help you get used to practicing in your apartment, but it will help your neighbors too. If you practice for 15 minutes at a time, they’ll learn that it won’t be an all-day thing.
Over time, you can work up to 30-minute sessions, then 45- minutes, etc.
If you play a loud or high-pitched instrument, like piccolo, you should also take that slow. You don’t want to annoy your neighbors, but you do need to practice enough for yourself.
Practice without your instrument
Another thing you can do if you need to practice in an apartment is to not practice. Specifically, find ways to practice that don’t require your instrument.
You can listen to recordings, study the score of a piece you’re working on, or finger the notes without blowing into your flute.
It will take some getting used to, but being able to practice in an apartment will be useful. Whether there’s a bad storm or your school closes, you can still get some work done at home.
Have you ever had to practice in an apartment? How did it go? Share your thoughts in the comments!