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How to deal with the noise of having
a child who plays the drums... 


I get it... drums can be LOUD! Way louder than I bet some of you thought they would be! But not all hope is lost, there's a few things you can do! More importantly, I hope this article gives you a few things to think about while you have a practicing drummer in your home.


And trust me when I say this... be glad they chose the drums and not a wind or string instrument...Those first few months are (in not fault of the student of course!) VERY hard to listen to. You have to grin through the screeches and squawks...  Meanwhile a percussion student can practice many things on a pad! Not that they always should...

Are the drums even that loud?

Well, yes. They can be the loudest sound in the room! But the other side of the coin is that they can actually play softer than any instrument! Check these videos of drumming legend Louis Bellson playing with a type of stick called a brush, or this video of an orchestral piece that calls for the snare drum to play veryyyyy softly


So if a player can control the stick, the drum can actually be played quite  softly! 

In my lessons I ALWAYS remind my students 


'Be gentle!"

And instantly, not only does the volume come down but the student suddenly looks much more experienced! That being said... isn't always going to be as quiet as a mouse in your home... 

sometimes they're going to need time to play loudly.  Although there are plenty of wonderful systems for truly quiet practice (stick around, it's next), I urge you to let your kids play on a real drum for at least 15 minutes a day. The sounds that their rubber practice pads make allow them to get away with murder as far as technique goes! They can play as loudly as they want on a practice pad with no consequences... 

Allow them time on their "real" drums! But for a lot of the time, if it is truly a huge issue to have some noise in the house...

Here's how you can actually tame the volume of real drums:

Mesh heads and practice cymbals. That's it! You can buy the whole pack right here



Don't worry, I don't want to spend that kind of money on that right now either. 

But somebody reading this might be in the position to do that... but this is kind of the Ferrari of practice set ups for a drum set. The very cheapest option is a rubber cymbal pack like this one or this one. The downside is that it steals a lot of bounce that drummers normally get, but it's still not a bad option! By the way, 3rd floor apartment dwellers, an acoustic drum set even with rubber pads on it might not be an option but a rubber practice pad kit with this one, combined down the road with a rubber cymbal set and some cymbal hardware might not be bad!

When I lived in an apartment, I used a combination of mesh heads and rubber pads on my cymbals. Check it out:

Drum mutes.jpg

Get everybody in the house some ear protection!

Without a doubt, if you're the only playing drums, you should be wearing ear protection! But even if you're just in the house while somebody is practicing drums, get some foam ear plugs so that the student can feel more free to practice their instrument.  Just like their classmates are "allowed" to play their instruments, a percussionist deserves to have regular practice time. Another option is to take a walk or use their practice time as your time to go grocery shopping if possible. Even just taking that time to step outside to call your best friend for a bit will add to making a harmonious household!

At the end of the day...

Even though percussion gets a bad rap for being the loudest instrument, it really isn't quite true. Especially the first few months of learning drums can actually be almost silent if they're only working on a practice pad, which is usually fine for the very beginning. We can also use mesh heads or rubber drum mutes to GREATLY reduce volume on an acoustic drum set. All that being said however, for your child to really succeed, they need to get regular time on the real deal so they can learn how to control the sound of each note. 

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