Quiet Practice for Drummers? Is that even possible? Lets face it folks, playing the drums can be a noisy experience and not all of us are blessed with a soundproof room or studio to practice in. A few years ago I lived right next door to a young drummer so I know what it is like. So what are our options when we’ve got practice to do & its not cool to make a noise? I practice in my garage which has no soundproofing at all and is right next to my neighbours house. So that I don’t annoy my family and neighbours too much I use a variety of practice methods each week so I can get a decent amount of practice in without wearing out my welcome.
Here’s a few ways you can practice your drums without making a racket:
Use a practice pad. They are inexpensive and, depending on type, are usually very quiet. The rubber ones are usually the quietest. You can usually play these in your bedroom without annoying people too much. There are some that have actual drum skins on them which makes for a more natural feel but they are much louder. Practice pads are great for doing your snare basics on.
Dampen an old kit. If you are lucky enough to have an old kit laying around, or you can purchase one cheaply, you can take the heads off and fill the shells with rags or some other light weight fill. Be careful if using any of the fibreglass insulation materials. You will need gloves to handle them.
Using quiet sticks such as hotrods or quiet skins, which have only recently become available, is another way to reduce the volume of a real kit.
Use a practice kit. A few years ago I purchased a Rhythm Traveller kit which comes with a set of mesh heads and plastic cymbals which are very quiet. It’s great for when you really want to “wail away” late at night or for learning new songs. I’ve even used it a few times at gigs where I could get away with a small kit.
Use an Electronic Kit. Electronic drum kits have become quite reasonably priced in the past few years. they allow you to play with a pair of headphones so you can hear realistic drum sounds, but no one else can.
It is important to practice regularly and, at the same time, not drive our family and neighbours crazy. I hope that some of the techniques listed above can make things a bit smoother for you. Do you have a method that I haven’t mentioned? Leave it in the comments section below.