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For many years I have had an issue with singing at home. It’s difficult to practise singing as I live in a flat with neighbours around me; I don't want to disturb them any more than I want to be disturbed by them.
You need to practise singing in the manner that you intend to sing/perform. If you like to sing out loud, then holding back and trying to be quiet whilst practising will be detrimental.
You will want to practise aspects of singing that you are not good at - that's the whole point, no? So, you probably won't be making pretty sounds while you try to find a way forward and knowing that people can hear you (even if it doesn't disturb them much) is off-putting.
You may be just warming up and keeping in shape, but even this, with the weird noises we make, is just not something many of us would like to be overheard.
Some solutions - find a suitable space
A music shop over the road from me has band rehearsal rooms that are not used much during the day, if I just want to go in on my own, the owner gives me ‘mates rates'. This is great, but it would certainly be better if I could practise singing at home - particularly as the shop is shut at the moment due to COVID.
There’s practising outside, in a park for instance. If you manage this, you're a better person than me! Have you any friends who can lend you a room now and then?
Further solutions - make your space suitable
Trying to do something at home to reduce sound transmission is possible, but not easy. Sound is the vibration of air molecules, if you can contain them somehow then job done! Unfortunately, we need to breathe - and rather a lot when singing - and this is the crux of the problem.
Build a walk-in booth
To do this properly you will need the right materials, and blankets, duvets and egg boxes don't really cut it - they reduce reflections somewhat but don't really stop the sound escaping. It will end up being quite large, and you won't really want to keep setting it up and dismantling it.
BeltBox Vocal Dampener
A kind of COVID looking mask that you place over your mouth and nose. For years, I have been trying to come up with some kind of helmet to reduce sound, but everything I thought of carried a high risk of suffocation - and likely litigation if I produced it commercially. I congratulate BeltBox for at least coming up with something (which I didn't), and it's relatively affordable and better than nothing for singing practising. I can't really say it's ideal, but nothing is other than a detached house, basement, soundproof shed, etc.
IsoVox2 Vocal Booth
This is designed primarily for recording vocals and reducing reflections and the room sound (echoes etc.) It does reduce sound going out of the room by about 40% in my test, but that still leaves 60% of your yelling at large. It's expensive and quite large, sitting atop a speaker stand, which may or may not be domestically acceptable. It can be packed away, but you have to set it up each time the mood takes you to practise. I leave mine set up - the cat doesn't seem to mind.
I'm sorry this isn't more positive, but the nature of sound is that it's very difficult to contain. A friend of mine was at her wit's end with the noise from neighbours, and she decided to have her bedroom professionally soundproofed. This involved building a room within a room, losing a few inches all round and as you can imagine, it wasn't inexpensive. The result reduced the sound somewhat, but in the end, she moved house!
I wish you the best of luck, remember to be inventive and creative. If you come up with a solution and you can produce it commercially, I reckon you'll be on to a winner.
This is a guest post by Anton Browne, and you can find his blog at www.thesingthing.com.
If you would like to guest post on our blog, please get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, we are always interested in hearing from the singing and songwriting community.
At our City Vocal Coach studio in Hoxton, we’re lucky enough to have our own professionally made soundproofed pods. These pods will be available to City Vocal Coach students to practise singing in when the studio is open once again.
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