Practicing at Home

Because of potentially dangerous conditions caused by Hurricane Issac, I and many of my colleagues throughout Louisiana spent much of last week working from home.  Fortunately, our roof and drainage systems proved sound, and we didn’t even lose power at our house. While practicing in my home office on Thursday, I had a front row seat as the storm rolled through our area of the state. In the aftermath of the storm I felt very fortunate to have a solid and leak-free roof over my head, as well as a comfortable place to practice.

We moved into the house in May, and have spent the last few months slowly putting various things in place: blinds, rugs, flower beds, etc. Near the top of my list – after getting the basics unpacked – was setting up a place to practice. The floors throughout the house are stained concrete (picture below), which are very nice, but not exactly conducive to practicing the horn. In fact, it would have been quite painful I’m sure to play in a room with this kind of flooring.

So, one of the first purchases we made was a nice thick rug to go on the floor. We weren’t going for sound proofing, but for sound absorption. It doesn’t cover the entire floor area, but enough to have a big effect on how much sound is bouncing around in there.

To the rug we soon added some thick curtains for further sound reduction (see left). These helped quite a bit, and I noticed a distinct difference between having the rug alone and combining the rug with the curtains. There are certainly more effective (but expensive) ways to sound condition a room, but as I don’t really have to worry too much about annoying the neighbors with my playing, we decided to go with the most economical route. I need to add at this point that my wonderful wife Kristen has kindly put up with my practicing – some good sounds, and some not so good – through several years of marriage, and I can’t thank her enough for that! We also have a futon in this room, mainly because we needed a place to put it, but it also absorbs some sound I’m sure, and makes a nice place to plunk down my stuff.

Last, but certainly not least, was some wall art. Not the greatest sound absorber, but provides a nice bit of decoration in the room. The poster was courtesy of Sorley’s Horn Shop.

It might not be the biggest, or most acoustically perfect, place to practice, but it gets the job done! To sum up, when putting together your home practice room, the following areas are worth considering.

  • Floor covering (carpet, rug, etc.)
  • Window treatments (curtains, blinds)
  • Storage space
  • Decorations/wall art
  • Other sound reducing materials, such as foam or packing blankets

Is there anything you particularly like (or don’t like) about your home practice area?

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