Do you live in an apartment but need to practice your piccolo? I’ve been there, and it can be hard to gauge how much you can practice at home, if at all.
But I figured out a few things you can do to practice your instrument. You may need to leave your home, but you can still make progress on your instrument.
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Ask the Complex
Before you practice piccolo in an apartment, ask the complex about any noise rules. Ideally, you’d figure this out before you even move into the place.
But if you already live somewhere, you need to determine if you can practice at home at all. Some complexes may have quiet hours that you have to follow.
Others might not allow much noise at all, even during the day. When I lived in an apartment, I was able to practice my piccolo there during the day, but I didn’t play super early or late.
Find Other Practice Spaces
If you can’t practice at home, you may need to look outside of your apartment for a practice space. Of course, if you’re in school, you probably have access to practice rooms that you can use.
Maybe you teach private lessons at a local studio, and you have your own room. Between lessons, you should be able to practice the piccolo or the flute.
Then, you can make the most of your breaks, and you can improve your playing. You’ll also be able to attract students who hear you when they’re there for piano lessons but they want to learn the flute.
Go to Someone’s House
If nothing else works, you might need to ask friends or family with houses if you can practice there. Of course, this requires that you have family or friends in the area, so it’s not the best when you first move somewhere.
However, there’s more separation between houses, so you’re less likely to disturb neighbors. If you have family who are willing to let you practice in their home, go for it.
Just make sure you agree when you’ll practice and if you’ll keep your music there or bring it with you. That way, you don’t ruin the relationship in the process.
Practice During the Day
Even if you can practice piccolo at home, you still live in an apartment. The walls can be thin, and you don’t want to be rude to your neighbors unless necessary.
A lot of serious musicians have flexible schedules and are home during the day. Try and practice late in the morning or early in the afternoon when your neighbors are at work or school.
If you have a full-time job, ask if you can come in early or leave late and take a longer lunch break. Then, you can eat and use the rest of your time to practice the piccolo.
Play for Short Bursts
Especially with more people working from home, you may not live somewhere with neighbors who all go to the office. That means someone’s bound to be home when you want to practice.
To keep from annoying them, practice in short sessions of 15 to 30 minutes. I did this when I had to live in an apartment but couldn’t get to school to use the practice rooms.
It gives you a chance to play, but your neighbors will know that you aren’t going to play all day long. This is a good option if you have to practice around dinner when more people are home.
Focus on the Low Register
At some point, you’ll need to practice the high register. But you can reserve that for when you have access to a practice room or when you can visit someone’s home.
For now, do some low register exercises. Those notes overlap the range of the flute, and they’re relatively quiet compared to the higher notes on your piccolo.
That means your neighbors might not hear you as much even if you practice when they’re home. You can also practice your tone and technique in the low register and apply some of what you learn to higher notes later.
Work on Your Flute Skills
Many piccolo players double on the flute as well. So if you can’t practice the piccolo in your apartment, use the time you have to practice to work on your flute playing.
It can help your piccolo playing as well, so don’t discount your flute. Even if you primarily play the piccolo now, you never know when you might need or want to play the flute.
The flute isn’t as loud or high as the piccolo, so your neighbors might not mind it. Some of them might even like it; one of my former neighbors left a note telling me they liked my playing.
Talk to Your Neighbors
I never did this, but I know some people will talk to their neighbors when they live in an apartment. You can get to know the people around you and learn about their lives.
That means you can learn what people’s schedules are for work and sleep. If you find everyone in your building works during the day, make sure to practice then.
Or you could ask if people mind, and they may say it’s okay for you to play. Just make sure you stop playing if someone asks you to so that they don’t complain to the office or landlord.
Can You Practice Piccolo in an Apartment?
You can practice piccolo in an apartment, I did so at least weekly for a couple of years. It’s probably not ideal for you or your neighbors, but it might be your only option.
Before you break out your piccolo, make sure the building will allow it. And don’t hesitate to leave a note for your neighbors to tell you if they want you to stop.
What If You Can’t Play in Your Apartment?
If you live in an apartment and can’t practice at home, you have options. As I mentioned, you could use a practice room, teaching studio, or a friend’s house.
When you’re at home, you can do silent practice. Study the score of the piece you’re learning, and listen to recordings of it to help learn the music without having to play.
Will You Play Piccolo When You Live in an Apartment?
Playing piccolo brings a lot of challenges. One thing that’s easy to forget is when you live in an apartment and have thin walls that you share with others.
Be sure you check with the complex or building for any official rules. Then, try to find times when your neighbors are out so that you can play to your heart’s content.
If you want more tips for learning to play the piccolo, head to the resources page.