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Noisy Neighbors: How To Live In Harmony With Your Local Musician Without Sacrificing Your Quiet Time

soundproof ceiling

As a society, we value music immensely. It manages to express just about any emotion more accurately than we often can with words. And although 173,000 people worked as musicians in 2014, there are countless others who like to dabble in music as a hobby. But while we love to listen to music when we’re in the mood for it, melodic sounds can actually feel intrusive when we have no say in the matter. As cultured as you may be, it’s possible that your musically inclined neighbor’s daily practice sessions might put you a bit on-edge after a while.

So what should you do about it? Yes, you can complain to your landlord or even call in a noise complaint if their nightly jam goes past 10 PM. But many of us don’t want to be that guy. If you’re looking for ways to deal without coming off like a total stick in the mud, here are a few suggestions.

  • Talk to them
    It may seem obvious, but a lot of people skip this important first step because they don’t like confrontation. In all likelihood, your neighbor may not even be aware of how loud their playing is. By bringing it to their attention in a nice way, they may change their habits a bit. If there are certain times of the day when their playing is problematic (like when you’re trying to sleep or during specific work hours), they may be open to switching up their schedule, moving to another location, or just being a bit more cognizant of their volume. Keep in mind that they may have limited options for practice locations and times, and that the problem may be due to insufficient soundproof ceilings or soundproof wall panels and ceilings in the building. But there’s no harm in approaching them before moving on to other methods.
  • Invest in headphones and earplugs
    It may not be ideal, but if you need a short term and inexpensive alternative to soundproofing walls and ceilings in your home, it may be a beneficial to get some noise-cancelling headphones and soft earplugs for those times when you just can’t take their playing. Noise-canceling headphones can be great if you work from home and need absolute quiet to be productive. And if you need to go to bed early or work odd hours, soft earplugs can block out quite a bit. For those who can sleep with white noise, consider getting a white noise machine or air filter to block out the rest.
  • Soundproof ceilings and walls
    If all else fails, soundproofing wall panels and ceilings may be your best bet. Without a doubt, these acoustic building products will keep unwanted noises out. While it’d be nice if your neighbor looked into getting a soundproof ceiling or walls themselves, it’s not always a realistic expense for musicians. On the bright side, it can definitely add value to your home and might allow you to stay there longer than you originally planned. Need a more affordable solution in the meantime? Try insulating with tapestries, rugs, wall art, or heavy curtains to create a makeshift sound barrier.

In a perfect world, we’d love to hear our neighbors honing their musical craft. But the reality is that band practice is a lot less fun when you aren’t actually in the band. If you’re at your wit’s end and can’t take any more scales or drum fills, these tips might make your life much more bearable.