View Full Version : Where Do You City Dwellers Practice?
12-18-2001, 08:08 PM
Is it possible to get any regular practice on your pipes without driving your family or your neighbours nuts? :confused:
I'm new to the pipes and am looking at starting the big transition from practice chanter to the real thing next month. But where I'm going to practice has me completely stimied.
I live with my wife and kids in a small house in the heart of Ottawa. There's nowhere inside where the family won't hear me VERY WELL, and outside is too darn cold. If anyone else has faced this dilemma and come up with a good solution, I'm all ears :D
I try to practice in the house when there is no one else home. If that is not possible I work in a restaurant and go in early when there is no one there. A buddy of mine rents a raquette ball or squash court and plays in there. (the accoustics may not be so hot however) There must be someplace for you to go.
12-19-2001, 04:32 AM
David, I'm down-townish Ottawa as well - it's the basement and some very tolerant family in the winter, and the local park in the summer - only somewhat less congested than my back deck. No complaints so far . . .
12-19-2001, 07:41 AM
I'm in an condo in Chicago, so I'm in a similar situation. My solution was to talk to the building manager at my office and ask if I could use the garage (which is a seperate, unheated building) to practice in during my lunch hour. He must like the pipes, because he went one better and lets me use a storage room in the basement. The acoustics aren't too good, but I can play to my heart's content and not disturb anybody.
12-19-2001, 08:34 AM
The Band Room of my sons school, or weather permitting we practice at an old abandoned golf course, consisting of 180 acres of nothing but space, trees, etc..
12-19-2001, 12:55 PM
While I was still living in apartments, I took my pipes to work 3 times a week and stopped at my church after work for an hour or so. We've got a gym, so I used that or sometimes the sanctuary if I had to - anyplace where people were not! I got enough requests from living people to play at their funerals (hopefully far sown the road!) that I really was wishing for a birthday party or something happier.... :rolleyes:
12-19-2001, 05:36 PM
Thanks for the great ideas, everyone! There's a church and a legion hall very close to my office, and if neither of those work out, I'll talk to the building management about playing in the garage.
12-20-2001, 02:39 PM
I have two ideas for practicing away from the wife and kids. I live in northern Indiana so I know what you are talking about with the weather. Indoors: You might see if there is a funeral home near by and obtain permission from the owner to practice in the building. There are many days that go by where the building is not being used for services or visitations. You can practice your music as well as some logistics issues. For instance, practice walking through low doorways as you play. Outdoors: If there is a golf course near by this is a fine place to practice in the morning before the course opens or at dusk when the course closes. I made contact with the head grounds keeper at a local course and asked if this was possible. He and his grounds crew welcomed me to walk the course and pipe while they were working.
Good Luck Dave
01-30-2002, 06:55 PM
Just to update -- I asked the local Legion if I could practice there, and got a very positive and supportive "yes" in response. There's plenty of room and I'm left all to myself, so I can produce all the loud and horrible noises I care too with my brand new pipes without worrying about annoying anyone.
01-30-2002, 07:39 PM
We lived in an apartment on Elgin Street, downtown
Ottawa, and I would practice in the underground parking
lot. Lots of room for marching and very nice acoustics.
I would also stay late at work and practice there. But
now we have moved to a farm, and I entertain the dairy
cattle from across the road. No complaints yet, but they
don't seem to like strathspeys.
02-09-2002, 11:58 PM
I am very lucky. I can practice at home during the day, as my wife is at work and my daughter is at school.
I can practice at work, as I am on the nite shift and I have an entire High School all to my self.
The best place for me is the local parks. They are pretty empty during weekdays. I like to play under the pavilions for better sound.Only a few walkers are around.
The best place I have ever practiced was in a parking garage. The sound is fantastic.
02-15-2002, 01:59 PM
When I first began on pipes we were living in an apartment. Since I'm a stay home mom I would watch for the neighbors to leave for work and then practice. Sometimes outside - and I could see people from a shopping center below look up and sometimes listen.
Now - luckily - we have a house with a large living room and vaulted ceilings. I practice anytime I want when my husband is at work. On weekends (when my husband is home) I walk out on some trails with the kids and the dog and practice while they play.
The houses are pretty close together here - but I've been lucky. My neighbors have actually come over and introduced themselves after hearing me play. :wink:
02-16-2002, 03:43 AM
Well this is a tough one, I Live on a 150 acre farm so it dosent bother anybody except the cows But if i lived in the city i guess i would fix up something in the basement or garage, Or practice when everybody else is out, or if your the king of your castle like me (he he he ) i would practice anytime i please!
02-16-2002, 04:57 AM
I live in a townhouse and play my pipes in the basement.
My ceiling in the basement is actually the floor of my garage. So in essence I am surrounded by cement. Sort of like a cell. :lol:
THats what I call it actually. I say to my wife. Going to my cell Hunny. She say thats fine but dont scream. :lol:
Any way done some tests about noise. Had wife go outside and also in neighbours house and they can not hear me. So thats great.
Just a tip for those who live in a townhouse.
You know your in Chevy country
When on a quiet nite you can hear a Ford rust
02-16-2002, 08:04 PM
We live in a small town in Michigan. 6,000 folks. In the spring summer and fall, I go to one of the 3 parks in town on the river (we share a river border with Canada.) I began playing outside as soon as I could manage a tune or two. In the winter, I attend two bands one on Tuesdays and the other on Sunday. Both have large spaces to play in. and I get to play with other pipers, on Monday evenings a bunch of pipers and students get together to practice at our parish grade school, being an associate pastor there, I have keys. Those not on the pipes bring PC's and we all sit around and practice scales, doublings grips etc. After the PC time those with pipes will play for as long as we can hold out and until the janitor finishes all her other rooms and we are the last. Wednesday I go to Canada for my lesson. On other days I play in the upstairs bedroom but my wife insists that I (1) close the door and (2) stuff pillows at the base and over the floor register. Then I play as long as I can. Sometimes 45 min sometimes more. I'm lucky, so far no complaints from the neighbors. Our city is very old and the houses are close by each other.
02-17-2002, 03:44 PM
I practice in my workshop out behind the house in the city. It is largely a cinderblock construction, like Johnny's cell, and the sound is quite loud indeed. I played them at work one day and a friend with a sound level meter clocked them at 100 - 115 decibels. So I wear earplugs pretty faithfully out there.
The nearby neighbors hear it but don't seem to mind, my kids stay asleep. I was shocked when a number of neighbors came up after a more public performance and told me that they didn't know I played the pipes.
02-17-2002, 04:12 PM
Andrew...At least your neighbors don't call the police.I have one neighbor who calls every time I start to play.The police show up and sit down in my backyard and listen for a bit then go on there way...(Just to appease the neighbor)
One neighbor also happens to be a Campbell...So as my drummers always say "Play the Campbells leaving ANYWHERE" which I do. :shrug:
Most neighbors though enjoy the playing and yell out requests. :wink:
02-17-2002, 07:56 PM
I have found that the best time to practice is when there is a hockey game on (every night at my house) He's got the TV blaring in the rec room and I practice in the living room above. He says he can't hear me at all! Mind you you pretty well need to throw a brick at him to divert his attention from the game anyway!! :wink:
I'm among the ranks of the housebound, at least when the weather doesn't cooperate. Fortunately, I have a tolerant wife. That's also one of the reasons I bought a set of practice pipes. When the weather gods are smiling, I go out on the deck (luckily, the next door neighbor likes the pipes). Today, for the first time, I took a page out of someone's book here on the forum and went to the cemetary where my parents are buried, only about 15 minutes from home. Nice level ground, peaceful surroundings. Think I'll be practicing there more often.
03-05-2002, 08:40 AM
I had just moved to a duplex from over a decade of apartment living.... at the same time I had just started on the pipes. Since I was in the middle of moving I figured "what the hell" and decided to play in the apartment.... a few minutes later my friend, who lives a few buildings away, called and asked if I was playing the pipes :)
When I had first met my neighbor of my new house, I told him I played the pipes (though the first month of playing the pipes wasn't necessarily "playing" as it was coaxing painful cries from the poor creature stuck under my arm) and told him to let me know if it bothered him. He told me he was a golfer and it reminded him of being in Scotland. :shrug:
I have also discovered that I can play at work on Friday nights right before my lesson without bothering anyone.
I had the same concerns as you when I first started, but with a little patience and resourcefulness, you will be amazed at what you come up with. It doesn’t hurt to talk to your neighbors about it, you may be surprised at their reaction. I just can't wait until it gets warmer and can play outside again.
People are amazing. I work night shift with one other person (we're stuck in the room all night too) and she just loves it when I practice, and keeps asking me to bring them in. It's a perfect arrangement. I keep expecting people to mind, and then I realized how I would have felt if a neighbor started up practicing. I would have done anything to be home at those times! Why does it suprise me then when other people drive blocks to hear them? If I'm that crazy, maybe I'm not the only one..
We keep expecting people to hate our hobby/passion/addiction but reality seems to show time and time again that 95% love it. So, why aren't there more of us?
03-09-2002, 06:52 PM
my wife lets me play at home..
she's usually not there when i practice, but that's beside the point!! :D
the neighbors seem to enjoy it when i go outside during nice weather, haven't seen the cops yet..
and as to why there aren't more of us?? i wish there were more of us so i would have gotten into this years ago!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
03-10-2002, 08:43 AM
In nice weather, I play up on the roof of my apt. building(5 stories), in foul weather I bring my pipes to work(fire dept.) and play in the bay. I took a good bit of ribbing when I first started but after I played at 4 am right underneath the slide pole, the guys found a new respect for the pipes!! :lol: :lol: :lol:
03-16-2002, 08:07 AM
Foresight saved me. I had sound proofing put in the master bedroom when we built this house, so I practice in there. It is small, but works ok, just have to get the Mau cat out first. When alone, I will often practice in the living room with high cellings, great sound.
The best is when it warms up, I play in the front yard on my "piping rock". It is the top of the rock wall where the sun warms it up, I stand barefooted and look through the trees onto the water. Our neighbors below the wall cheer and shout requests, infact at the post office I was asked when I would be out again.
One person did complain to my PM a year ago about how much time I practiced. You can guess how many Scoobie Snacks I got for effort, The PM told me not to worry, she did not like that person anyway! :D
04-01-2002, 02:27 PM
I have a set of Dunbar P3s and I have a Dunbar XL poly practice chanter.
If you buy the Dunbar goose adapter, then you can plug the Dunbar poly chanter into the bag. Cork up the drones, and you can at least practice your fingerings while "on the bag". I find this helps a lot, as fingerings while on the bag are a lot harder than with the chanter propped on my knee. Then I can also get used to the weight of the drones.
04-01-2002, 07:30 PM
After searching long and hard for the perfect place to practice on the ship, I have ventured outside "the box" and found what seems to be the perfect place to practice - the on-base parking garage!
When the weather is acceptable, I play on the roof, where I can see the base, Bremerton, and Sinclair inlet. There are no houses within a half mile, and if I go after work - duh - the buildings are vacant, too. People that CAN hear me can't SEE me, so they do not know which way to aim :thumb: