I just moved into a new place. I want to continue practicing drums, but I know I should discuss this with my neighbors first. COVID makes this more difficult because it rules out just knocking on their doors to talk to them.

I'm thinking of leaving sticky notes on their doors saying something like: "Hey, I just moved in next door. I want to find times to practice drums that won't disturb you. When are good times for you?" and including my name and number.

For context, I'm in a basement unit of a house. My landlord is OK with this, but I don't want to bother the neighbors for both of our sake.

Is there a better approach, or is leaving notes a good idea?

  • 2
    Hi @chbaker0! Please see our help center : We're not here to tell you if you're right or wrong, which is basically the premise of 'is leaving notes a good idea'. It would help your question if you'd edit it to include why you think leaving notes won't work, won't meet your goal, and why you think you need a better solution. Whether or not leaving notes is a good idea is primarily opinion based.
    – Tinkeringbell
    Jul 20 '20 at 6:06
  • Since you mention, your usual approach is not practicable due to COVID, you should add a country tag. As we can't know what else might be limited in practicability due to COVID.
    – dhein
    Jul 20 '20 at 6:43
  • Also, what is the problem with the notes? If you should do it or not is as Tinkeringbell has already mentioned a question that would be opinion based. So what exactly is it about placing notes that makes you feel unsure? And how can we help you with that?
    – dhein
    Jul 20 '20 at 6:50
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    Is there a reason that neighbors should decide your hours? What will you do if they suggest 2 hours a week, instead of your spelling out reasonable hours and asking if that's a problem? Jul 20 '20 at 18:57

I read your question and the comments. I can't tell you whether you should communicate via a note or face-to-face but I can tell you how to write a note that might be effective and also neighbourly. Having myself lived in rented accommodations all my life--in basements, upstairs rooms, main floor--I have shared walls and ceilings/floors with a large variety of neighbours and dealt with a lot of different landlords.

Though I have no experience using musical instruments in a rented unit, throughout my life I have used notes and other written messages to communicate with family members, neighbours, and friends about everyday matters. Quite a few of these were notes to neighbours in the same building. Most of the time I was successful.

Drawing on my successes, I suggest saying something like this:

Hey, I just moved in next door. I practice drums __ hours a day between ______, which the landlord said is okay. But I don't want to disturb your sleep. Let me know what times work best for you.

Include your first name and unit number.

By telling them how long you practice and when you practice [e.g. between 6:00 in the morning and 11:00 at night], you are setting your hours. I also consider it wise to let them know you discussed this with the landlord. One of the things I learned by renting all these years is that normally the landlord's rule or decision is respected as final law among tenants of the same building.

Another thing I have learned is that when a tenant with unusual requests or needs moves in, sometimes the landlord discusses this with the other tenants before accepting the new tenants to see if they are comfortable with the situation. Frankly, I could never figure out for sure if the landlord talked to me before or after the new tenant was accepted but there has been discussion in small private apartment buildings. This may not apply to large buildings with more than two or three tenants.

Your situation sounds like a small private situation with only two or three tenants. For this reason, I'm thinking it is possible that the landlord already discussed your drum practice with the others. All the same, including the clause in your note will clarify that you have authority to practice drums in your home but that you are willing to cooperate with their schedule as far as possible.

Having been the "old neighbour" many a time, I like knowing that the "new neighbour" wants to be cooperative and friendly. I am now in a large building that is more formal and impersonal but all those years I lived in small private places I would have welcomed a note like that. In addition to being cooperative and friendly, the new neighbour has established contact and told me their name, something many a new neighbour never does. That feeling of neighbourliness created by reaching out, in and of itself, makes me feel more accommodating of your noisy drum practise.


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