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Is a musician persona non grata?

Posted by Rona Fischman May 21, 2012 02:09 PM

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Even in a single family house, a drummer can become unwelcome in a neighborhood – especially a neighborhood where the houses are close together. It is even worse when the drummer lives in a condo or two-family house.

One of the bidding war properties that my clients saw (and made an unsuccessful Offer on) had a music studio in the top floor. It was a great place for them, since their younger daughter plays drums. The attic was wired for music equipment and a sound board. It had double pane windows with an additional Plexiglas layer on all of them. The agent told me that the neighbors told her it still wasn’t really sound-proof.

I saw another studio last year that had baffles that fit in front of the windows. They were made of the egg-carton shaped foam of a studio and were mounted on movable boards. They were rolled in front of the window and rolled away when not in use. I liked that better, as a concept, because it didn’t block the air flow when not in use. I don’t know which worked better.

I have seen drums in a living room of a one-level apartment (with the neighbor’s living room above.) The neighbor claims she hadn’t heard any drumming. Hmmm. I would think that a neighbor needs at least one floor to have any sound privacy with a drummer below or above. Does an extra floor help?

Have you lived with a musician in close quarters? Was it in the same building or just close by?

Not only have I worked with a drummer this year, I am also having a spate of grand piano-owners. A lot of the housing I work with does not have living rooms that can happily house that big an instrument. Most two-family house condos can work, if a wall is removed between the dining room and the living room. Fewer single family houses work; center-entrance colonials are the obvious exception. The piano can fit in the living room of a split entry or ranch, but it frequently blocks foot traffic or would be too near the fireplace. Family room additions are frequently the answer. The search goes on for my piano-playing clients… One plays drums, too. The family with the drummer are under agreement.

Do you own a grand piano? How big a room do you think it deserves? Is a musician persona non grata in a city or suburb?

This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
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Scott Van Voorhis is a freelance writer who specializes in real estate and business issues.

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