This is a strange paradox, but I am a musician who likes being in silence. Specially after moving to the big city having never lived in one before, I found noise incredibly overwhelming. There were cars at all times of day and NIGHT! You would wake up and everything around had been transformed into a working sight, with the drilling and the banging….How could I be expected to carry on with my practice as if it all were part of the music?
And so, the pandemic hit and we were forced to stay at home. I didn’t mind it so much because I liked working in my own space, but it quickly became impossible as we were five musicians in a tiny flat. Besides this, as if cued by the music, the neighbour from downstairs would come up to complain. In desperation I found a church nearby and I begged to be let in to practice every day. The first time the thick door closed behind me, I realised that for the first time in a very long time I could actually hear my own thoughts. Cars from the inside sounded like waves rocking softly and singing birds were the only party disruptive to the serene calmness. That day I fell on a wooden bench and I just stayed there in silence for a long time absorbing every bit of silence there was. From that point life began again. Slowly like a new crop growing, a new desire to create music and break the silence emerged.
Feeling that you are rested to practice is crucial for a healthy state of mind and to connect with yourself and what you are doing. There’s many reasons why you might feel overwhelmed practicing at home. Maybe the room is very small, or there are no windows, or it’s very busy…In any way, if you feel deprived of that quiet head space in these tricky times and you can’t go anywhere, here is what you can do.
I first got myself sound canceling headphones at the airport and it was one of the best items I ever bought. Since then, I used them for so many different situations and even incorporated their use in my own practice.
- When I need to disconnect from the city, I like to put on the headphones at times without any music at all. Just to feel a bit of distance to the noise.
- Other times, I like to listen to music that makes me feel in the right state of mind and completely covers any other sound around me.
- There’s also plenty of playlists with white noise that can be soothing such as water sounds or birds which you can use to go for a walk or meditate.
- You can try to do your scales with a drone which you can set on a phone up. I find the experience of spending quiet time tuning as a warm up very comforting.
Considering the time you might be spending at home I would invest in good ones. Mine are Sony but trust your own judgement better than mine! Give yourself time everyday to clear your mind and enjoy your own creative quiet space!