Musicians and Noise

Any band must endure hours of practice in order to progress and take its talent to the next level. Amateur musicians are faced with an omnipresent catch 22 when it comes to band practice: where can I practice if I am an amateur and do not have access to a studio, and how can I develop my skills and reach a professional level without a place to practice? A major setback many amateur bands encounter is not having access to a suitable location where the group can practice without disturbing others. Quite often, the most practical go-to place for band practice is the garage of a home.

The typical garage structure does nothing to prevent noise transmission through its walls, or to facilitate quality acoustics within it. In fact, practicing music in a garage is not a far cry from practicing outside for all the community to hear. What’s more, most amateur musicians are not in the position to make costly renovations to their garages for sound reduction and acoustical improvement. Fortunately, a number of affordable temporary and easily implemented permanent garage soundproofing treatments are available to reduce sound transmission out of the garage while improving the quality of acoustics inside.

The extent of noise bleed, practicality and budget are common issues that contribute to determining the appropriate treatments to use in a garage setting. Reducing transmission of music throughout and outside of a home involves isolating the garage to contain noise reverberations within it. For a non-permanent fix, sound control curtains or blankets can be affixed to the walls around the garage and easily removed as necessary. Such temporary treatments are perfect solutions for bands that practice in multiple locations and for residents who rent their homes. A more permanent way to control sound bleed is to increase density and establish a disconnection from the existing garage wall by constructing a new wall layer. Increasing density and creating a separated wall surface is usually achieved by covering walls with a mass loaded vinyl and adding a second layer of drywall that extends from the original wall. Such a framing treatment causes sound waves to subside within the wall rather than traveling through the structure to adjoining rooms and outside. Garage doors present another sound transmission challenge with no concrete solution. However, used in combination with other sound reduction treatments, a sound control blanket covering the entire wall surface (not just the door) is an effective way to reduce sound transmission through a garage door.

Besides containing sound within the garage, musicians often want to take steps to improve the quality of acoustics within the garage. Corrugated sound control foam panels can be purchased in a variety of sizes and installed on the walls and ceilings of the garage to capture excess sound reflections and improve the quality of sound within the room. Additionally, the deep reverberations produced by bass instruments should be negated with treatments such as bass traps, which are designed to be installed in the corners of the room and capture vibrations. The absorption of sound by such panels improves the quality of sound inside the garage while reducing the pressure within that would otherwise escape into the home and outdoors.

Additional provisions, such as elevating a platform for drums or investing in a drum shield can provide increased sound control and acoustical enhancement. Since a number of factors can influence the degree of sound reduction treatments needed for effectiveness within a garage, it is best to consult with a soundproofing professional who can recommend solutions for the unique challenges of your application.

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