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11 tips for stress-free violin practicing in the home

How to motivate yourself and your children to practice the violin despite annoying neighbors…

 

 

Five to three. I wanted to start practicing the cello on time because I had to go to my lessons later. Before I had finished the first scale, the phone rang. “The lunch break is from 1 to 3 pm! Can’t you kids learn the time?”

If our neighbor didn’t call, she would bang on the floor with a broomstick. She knew the legal rules inside out. “Between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m. there is a night’s rest in Germany. It is subject to legal regulations,” was one of her favorite phrases.

The midday rest period and other restrictions on exercise times can be regulated in the house rules. In our case, they stipulated a time window of four hours, from 3pm to 7pm. How could that be enough for me and my sister, three instruments and occasional chamber music?

If it is absolutely necessary to play outside of practice times, it must not be louder than room volume, according to the ruling of the Munich Higher Regional Court (case no. 13 U.).
→ The volume of string instruments/stringed instruments is 80 dB(A). For comparison: 40 dB(A) is room volume.
It is often difficult enough to motivate children to practise regularly. Stress with the neighbors can lead psychologically to children no longer daring to be loud at all. Practicing is no longer fun, and it becomes even more stressful for parents to introduce their children to an instrument.

Here are 11 tips to take the wind out of the sails of annoying neighbors:

#1 Take a look at the house rules
The house rules usually stipulate the times for playing music beyond the legal rules. House rules can, for example, bring forward the quiet time for musicians to 8.00 pm. Before a dispute breaks out, it is always good to know the facts.

#2 Seek a change to the house rules
Sometimes the house rules state that playing music in the house is prohibited. This has no legal basis! Practicing the violin in the home may not be prohibited by the house rules.
If neighbors nevertheless invoke house rules that state, for example, that playing music is only permitted to a very limited extent or only at room volume, you can seek to have the house rules changed and, in an emergency, even take legal action.

#3 Talk to the neighbors
Talking can work wonders. Try to make arrangements with the neighbors to accommodate them at certain times so that they will tolerate other times in return. Sometimes a bouquet of flowers or an invitation to a concert for which you or your child has been practicing can help.

#4 Before moving in
If possible, clarify before moving in whether the apartment has very good acoustics and who lives there (old people who are always at home, families, lots of people working from home, etc.).

#5 If possible, choose a conveniently located practice room
In order to cause as little inconvenience as possible to the neighbors, rooms in peripheral locations seem to be predestined for practicing. It also helps to find out which rooms (bedroom, dining room, children’s room) are exactly adjacent to the preferred practice room and take them into consideration accordingly.

#6 Close certain doors or lay or hang up carpets when playing
Acoustic pollution can often be reduced by simple measures such as closing doors or hanging up rugs when playing.

#7 Close the windows while playing music

#8 Overcabin
You can set up your own cabin as sound insulation in a room. Advantage: You don’t need any extra construction work in the home. Examples can be found here: www.studiobox.de.

#9 Using an electric violin for practicing
With modern headphones, the instrument sounds to you as if you can hear yourself in the room. For outsiders it is very quiet, even below room volume. You can also hire an electric violin from me in the workshop.

#10 Using a mute
You can reduce the volume of the instrument with a mute. It is usually attached to the bridge and has different effects depending on the material. There is a wide selection of mutes available in my workshop in various materials: wood, rubber, metal and leather, with different damping effects.

#11 A pinch of discipline is part of effective violin practicing
Use the given practicing times to help you find your own routine. You can motivate your children or yourself better if you always practise the violin at a fixed time.

Conclusion: Restricted practice times can help you to find a routine. But the most important thing is to always keep in touch with your neighbors! Because we are much more likely to tolerate what we like. In order to extend the practice times without causing stress with the neighbors, there are aids such as dampers, which you can get in my workshop. I will be happy to advise you!
Call: 089 95 44 01 16 and make an appointment.

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