Balance

Few teachers manage to have balance in their lives. The best teachers definitely do. Why? They make time for it.

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Most teachers haven’t streamlined their grading, assessment, and planning practices enough to leave school at school, instead bringing school home with them, possibly forgoing other interests. There’s no time for anything else beyond necessary errands and family needs. That’s a sure path towards burnout. It’s good to balance teaching and, well, not teaching…anything other than teaching, in fact. For me, it’s drumming.

So, Magister P is taking a break today. Hi, my name is Lance, and I’m going to show you how I just put together a “quiet kit” apartment drumset. Why? Well, when your normal drumset looks like this, neighbors aren’t going to be happy…

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The first step in creating an quiet kit is getting some drums. Anything will do, and you don’t need much. Ludwig’s 4pc Pocket Kit is a great choice. It’s relatively inexpensive, and comes with evvvvvvverything (e.g. cymbals, stands, pedals), so you don’t need to piece together a Frankenstein kit.

Next, swap out those cymbals with Zildjian L80s. Haven’t heard of these? Well, they drilled a bunch of holes in cymbals so the sound is 80% quieter, but still feels like an instrument:

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Next, do something about drums sounding like…well…drums. Aquarian makes super lightweight drum pads that fit over the drum head.  They don’t change the feel too much, and even retain a bit of tone from the drum! These also double as practice pads. Could they replace that heavy Real Feel?! Yep.

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So, you’ve got a pretty quiet kit right now, but anyone living below you is gonna hate it when you play the hi hat (i.e. hitting something resting on a pole directly placed the floor), or either pedal (i.e. jamming your foot onto something, again, directly against the floor). A solution? Create a platform that reduces low frequencies. There are some how-to videos on YouTube, but here’s the basic sequence. The platform catches low frequencies since sound travels slowest through air:

1. Make gaskets from a pool noodle to hold the tennis balls, and get some sheet foam:

2. Layer materials to make the platform:

  • rug
    • foam
      • wood
        • gaskets
          • tennis balls
        • gaskets
      • wood (see step 3)
    • foam
  • rug

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3. Drill holes in wood, and use zip ties to keep it sturdy, then place foam and final rug:

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You can see the air trap from the side view:

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For finishing touches, I found these sound proofing panels lying around that matched the room all too well:

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Aaaaaand there you have it, a “quiet kit” apartment drumset. Now, having achieved some balance, I won’t have to spend as much time on professional Facebook groups!

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