Designing the Perfect Music Room
Music is much more than a hobby; it is a mode of expression and a deeply intuitive one at that. As someone taking their first steps into music or production, you might be discovering this for yourself – and you might be getting hooked in the process. It is only natural to want a space for yourself when learning an instrument or creating your own music. But there’s a lot to think about in order to get the best out of such a space. What tips might help you in designing your perfect private practice music room?
Choosing the Room
First things first, you need to choose your room. You might have a box room spare that you would like to convert into your practice or writing space. If space is at a premium, you might choose a corner of your living room – but you might be much better off building a new room altogether to meet your needs. This could be done through a loft or basement conversion but should be protected with renovation insurance in order to ensure your money is protected!
The most important part of your music room, functionally speaking, is its acoustics. How does music sound in the room? Every room has its own distinct frequency response, governed by the dimensions of the room and the materials covering the walls, floor, and ceiling. Sound waves reflect off flat walls and can effectively cross themselves as they bounce back and forth.
As such, they can impact themselves heavily – reinforcing certain frequencies and nulling others altogether. Also, the distance between two parallel walls will inevitably be proportional to a soundwave at a specific frequency. When a sound at this frequency is played, something called a ‘standing wave’ happens, and the frequency amplifies itself significantly. Altogether, these can make recording or monitoring music difficult or even unpleasant – not ideal if you are learning!
So, how can you design for the best acoustics in your music room? This is where acoustic panels and other such sound absorption techniques come into play. Anything to diffract or diffuse the sound as it reaches a surface will help to reduce reflections and ‘deaden’ the space.
This could be as simple as hanging curtains and laying rugs on the floor or as complex as hanging diffusion panels around the walls. Bookcases, with books of different shapes and sizes, are a good cheap alternative in this regard. Even your instruments can be useful here if you hang them on the wall; not only are they easy to access, but they also interrupt the smoothness of the wall.
Soundproofing is extremely difficult and often misunderstood; the above sound absorption techniques are often used in hopes of making a room ‘quieter’. However, short of building an isolated room within a room, soundproofing is practically impossible to achieve.
To reduce noise, though, it is possible to simulate a room within a room by using heavy curtains or moving blankets. These hung in such a way as to create a mini space, can be dead enough inside to record with ease, and also reduce sound making its way out of your room. Then you can practice your craft in your music room without fear of enraging the neighbours!
Feature Image by Jason Leung | Unsplash
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