I’m a drummer who recently moved from Rochester NY to Boston, and I’m looking to get my footing in the music scene here. Music is not my full time gig (PhD student by day), and so it’s tough for me to justify the generally exorbitant fees for music storage and practice facilities. I live in an apartment complex, so playing in my building isn’t really an option. Have any other non-professional musicians out there encountered this practice space problem, and has anyone heard/tried any creative solutions?

Thanks for the help!

  • 2
    Tough situation, but if you join a band and all go in together on a practice space, your individual cost is lower. Also, if you're a church-goer and are willing to play in worship services, sometimes they'll allow you to come in during the day and practice while staff is in the office. – Jonathan M Aug 26 '16 at 22:33
  • What? a drummer w/o a girlfriend who's not homeless? (hey, someone had to say it) – Carl Witthoft Aug 29 '16 at 11:44

Go get a storage-unit - this used to be my go-to when the other musicians or I did not have the ability to accommodate our practice sessions.

You'll want to shop around - the availability of on-site electricity can be an issue. Also, be transparent with the owner - you may need to negotiate a somewhat higher-rate for said energy consumption... (Point being not to leave a bad-taste in the owner's mouth [and/or be unceremoniously kicked-out] when they realize you're paying them $70 a month in rent but, consuming $50 a month in electricity) But, luckily, you'll usually find that your cost will be MUCH lower than what your average music-house will charge for storage and time. This is a cost effective solution, even if it's just you renting the unit.

Besides this, there's the issue of noise. You might find that this is less of a bother to the owner and other tenants due to the fact that most of these places are graveyards - people are usually in and out, not coming to the place for either solitude or socializing. If you're still afraid of it being an issue in the urban environment, you can egg-foam the bejebus out of the space.

Finally, your average storage facility has decent security - fencing, a camera system, and they're usually on the radar of your average beat-cop... Get a beefy, cut-proof lock too.

*Warning: You may be left wanting for a bathroom. :P

  • If you can get there, B U-Haul Moving & Storage of Route 16 Medford / Somerville 600 Mystic Valley Pkwy · (781) 396-9030 is a famous-ish solid old multistory building. In fact, once upon a time some oboist had his practice room there. – Carl Witthoft Aug 29 '16 at 11:47

A partial solution is a set of pads and earphones. Not quite the same. This would be true of electronic keyboard vs piano too. They are not the same. You have to spend enough time on each to switch over your reflexes.

Another partial solution are schools that have a music extra-curricular program. You mmay be able to barter one evening or after school slot per week in exchange for access during the rest of the time.

A third option if it's a renter's market instead of a landlord's market is to see if there are units that the landlord would like people around in one unit, to act as a break-in/vandalism deterant for the rest. E.g. if there is an industrial strip mall with a chronicly vacant unit, you may be given very low rent -- but you can only play outside of 8-5 M-F

A fourth option: Check out the universities and see if they lock the doors on their practice buildings. On my campus the doors were open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. You needed a key outside those hours. The rooms inside were left unlocked. This only works for portable instruments, however. (There was a piano in every room, but nothing else.)

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