November 6, 2015

Want to Help Your Kids’ Garage Band? Read This!

Regardless of which decade you grew up in, there’s a good chance that one of your favorite bands started in a garage. From The Guess Who to The White Stripes, many rock’n’roll greats began in the privacy of the space where their parents parked the car.

If your kids have begun to get together with their friends for jam sessions, setting up a dedicated rehearsal spot in your garage is a fantastic way of fostering their talent. Garages are an ideal space to add acoustic dampening that lowers the amouznt of noise created in the rehearsal space. This helps create a room that sounds great and while respecting your neighbour’s desire for sound reduction.

Want to Help Your Kids’ Garage Band? Read This!

Noise Absorption

Part of growing as a musician is having the time and space to experiment with a variety of sounds and instruments without having to worry about the consequences of good you sound. One of the best ways to give your kid’s garage band a chance to rock out is through the setup of a space with acoustic dampening that prevents sound from escaping or reflecting within garage. In addition to maintaining your own sanity, setting up proper acoustic seals maintains a peaceful relationship with your neighbours, who are much less enthusiastic about your child’s musical development.

The typical garage consists of bare walls and floors that reflect and even enhances sound within the room, which can result in acoustic interference that makes it difficult to tell one instrument from another. As each member of the band turns up their amp to get a better idea of what they’re playing, a chain reaction of loudness occurs because each individual continually increases the volume in response to one another. This may cause sound fatigue or even hearing damage, both of which are obviously detrimental to making music.

Adding acoustic absorbing materials allows musicians to better hear themselves. There are plenty of cost‑effective panels, including foam and fabric‑wrapped varieties, acoustic blankets and drum shields. Laying down a thick carpet on a bare garage is a quick method of proofing the floor. With or without acoustic absorption, all members of the band should use hearing protection at all times.

Setting Up the Garage

Removing as much as possible from the garage allows the band to have the space to set up all of the necessary equipment, including amps, instruments, computers, pedals, electronics, music stands and other accessories. If possible, power cords and extension cords should be placed along the perimeter of the garage, which prevents tripping or even electrocution hazards. When buying a surge protector, look for a model that’s able to absorb around 600‑700 joules of energy, with a clamping voltage that shuts off the flow at a maximum of 400V.

Applying absorption panels at ear level is a good solution if you don’t wish to cover the entire wall. Sound diffusion may also be achieved through the furniture in the jam space, including desks, shelves, computers and instruments hanging off the wall.

If the space allows, set up the instruments as if the band is playing on stage, instead of everybody facing the center of the room. This way, they don’t become as dependent on visual cues and focus on playing the music well instead.

The drums should be set up away from the corner in order to reduce sound fatigue. Instead, corner bass wedges should be installed to eliminate as much distortion as possible. If you’re unable to place bass wedges in every corner, place them as close as possible to the rhythm instruments of the group. Amplifiers should be moved away from the wall for the best sound results.

Useful Gear

While it is useful to learn how to tune instruments by ear, when your kids first start out, using a tuner helps them get accustomed to how their instruments should sound. A metronome is a vital tool for any musician. Learning how to keep time isn’t just for drummers and bassists. Guitarists and vocalists also need to develop impeccable rhythm.

No matter how hard you try, you’ll never be able to set up the garage to exhibit the same sonic excellence as a dedicated recording studio tuned to perfection. But it’s not about perfection.

The most important thing to remember when setting up a space for your kids’ garage band is that it’s supposed to be enjoyable experience for your child. Make sure the garage includes posters of their favorite band and other little details that make the space an engaging environment. All of the benefits of learning how to play music are best enjoyed when the entire group is having a great time.

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