Hotel room protocols

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Chatname
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Hotel room protocols

Post by Chatname »

For vacations or tours, practicing in hotel rooms can be a challenge. I’ve had angry neighbors knocking angrily many times (mostly in Germany, for some reason). Trying to maximize practicing time and minimize problems with other hotel guests, here is roughly what I currently do for around one hour practice:
15 minutes mouthpiece buzzing, warm up.
40 minutes with screw bell off; whatever needs to be practiced, all dynamics,
5 minutes with screw bell on, soft playing (Bordogni).
The screw bell off (with tuning slide way out) is great. Reduces decibel level and overtones surprisingly much, while not changing resistance like practice mutes. Other things I do: if the room is acoustically boomy I’ll place blankets on the floor and draw the curtains. And I do try to practice sometime between 11-15. I never quite understood the old Lindberg advice to have the tv on as loud as possible while playing, how would that help? However, with the detachable flare off, I’ve had no problems even when practicing mornings/evenings.
I try to avoid flying for environmental reasons, so the cut bell is not so much for overhead storage, however for practicing it’s fantastic!
Do you have any practical tips or experiences? Please share!
Thank you!
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harrisonreed
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Re: Hotel room protocols

Post by harrisonreed »

People don't complain about the loud TV like they complain about someone practicing trombone loudly. One is normalized, the other is seen as selfish. With the TV on, it's just white noise.

Just do this:

Kbiggs
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Re: Hotel room protocols

Post by Kbiggs »

What about a practice mute? There’s a lot of good ones out there. The Rejano works very well—it’s my personal favorite.
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Re: Hotel room protocols

Post by brassmedic »

I have a friend who swears by the TV thing. People aren't offended by television, but they seem to be offended by the trombone.
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hyperbolica
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Re: Hotel room protocols

Post by hyperbolica »

You can go to a public place and play like you're busking. My quartet often plays in a public park and no one chases us out. No one has to know it's just practicing. Sometimes the best place to hide is in plain sight.
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spencercarran
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Re: Hotel room protocols

Post by spencercarran »

hyperbolica wrote: Sat Sep 24, 2022 8:26 pm You can go to a public place and play like you're busking. My quartet often plays in a public park and no one chases us out. No one has to know it's just practicing. Sometimes the best place to hide is in plain sight.
Yeah, I used to practice a decent bit in parks or along the lakefront, no one seemed terribly offended. Gets harder in Chicago winter though.
dxhall
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Re: Hotel room protocols

Post by dxhall »

I’ve been spending time in a condo this fall and don’t want to annoy the guy next door. I’ve got a cheap practice mute, which works but is very unsatisfying, and a Yamaha silent mute, which is much better but, with the weight and headphones, not very comfortable. I’m ready to try another mute, but the better ones (Rejano and Sshhmute) are not cheap. Is there a consensus on which one of these is better?
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robcat2075
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Re: Hotel room protocols

Post by robcat2075 »

How about covering your practice with loud, screaming noises?

At a Motel 6 those will go unchecked for hours.
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Chatname
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Re: Hotel room protocols

Post by Chatname »

Regarding practice mutes: I have several, including Silent mute and Rejano. They are good, but for me I don’t like how they affect my playing. My pianissimos and soft legato playing deteriorate quickly when I use them much. For me, mouthpiece buzzing has the opposite effect: I play better after extensive mouthpiece practicing.
The cut bell is actually a big improvement for me when having to practice with low volume, way better than any practice mute.
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bassclef
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Re: Hotel room protocols

Post by bassclef »

I follow a player who is on the Michael Buble tour, and he's posted some hotel room videos practicing with the screw bell off and the practice mute in.

I've had to put in a lot of practice mute time in the past and in my experience, as long as you're not doing flexibility exercises, there are some things you can do which are actually quite beneficial to your unmuted playing.

I recall some posts here, or maybe on the old forum, by Gabe Rice in which he referenced something I believe he called "practice mute therapy". I'm not really sure what that involves, but would honestly love to know.
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Re: Hotel room protocols

Post by GabrielRice »

"Practice mute therapy" is an idea that many find useful, but it's not by any means a replacement for other practicing. Denis Wick described it in his book, and Randy Campora of the Baltimore Symphony does it and gave me some guidance in it. Basically, you use a mute with resistance - the Denis Wick practice mute is actually perfect for it - and play quite loudly, particularly in the low register. Randy talks about "making the mute dance" - getting the mute making a sustained buzzing sound, and relaxing into that for free airflow. When you take the mute out, the sound is big and open, and as you alternate muted and open you can find that relaxed big airflow and sound when you're playing without the mute as well.

Ultimately I don't find a lot of benefit from it, and I think that has to do with me...I tend to need to work towards easy focus, and blowing against the practice mute seems to move me in the opposite direction. Your mileage may vary...

I play unmuted in hotel rooms, usually during the hour or three between check-out and check-in times. I very rarely have issues. I also tend to stay in inexpensive hotels when I'm paying for them myself.
Chatname
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Re: Hotel room protocols

Post by Chatname »

For me the mute can have some benefits for opening up the sound and for ff playing, with the drawbacks that I mentioned above. One way I’ve done it is to practice on the mouthpiece first, then practice mute for as long as needed, then finishing with 5-10 minutes pianissimo/legato on the trombone without mute, to regain some quality. That has worked for me without complaints from neighbors. However I much prefer practicing without the mute.
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Re: Hotel room protocols

Post by whitbey »

The far end of a Wally World (Walmart) or any parking lot. Car lots are good.
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MTbassbone
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Re: Hotel room protocols

Post by MTbassbone »

Ask you if you could use a conference room or fitness if one is available. Alternatively you could look into a practice space at a community center or church.
mbtrombone
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Re: Hotel room protocols

Post by mbtrombone »

Depending on the hotel if it has a conference room/ball room sometimes they will let you do a little practice there if you ask nicely. Just don’t count on it (that was also pre pandemic lock down). Depending again where and what day you might be able to find a parking structure at a college (also haven’t done this since pre pandemic lock down, the college I work at had some really strict policies on who could even be on campus for awhile).

I tend not to have as many negative issues with practice mutes. I use a Sshmute and a Rejano. I feel like the Rejano is a little more muted (very slight) but that the Sshmute keeps my overall focus a little more but that comes out as projection so might seem louder. The biggest trick for me is I do not adjust my playing to the mute. I try to remember how it feels to play without a mute and then I physically do the same things and let the sound be what it will be with the mute (harder at first especially if you do the thing described above from Denis Wick as a young kid).
mbarbier
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Re: Hotel room protocols

Post by mbarbier »

GabrielRice wrote: Sun Sep 25, 2022 9:26 am

I play unmuted in hotel rooms, usually during the hour or three between check-out and check-in times. I very rarely have issues.
This is the approach I take too and haven't run into many issues. It also falls into that gap of the people who sleep in are generally awake and the people staying for work trips aren't back from work and cranky yet. I put a towel in the door gap if there is one to muffle the direct into hallway sound and then often play in the bathroom with the door closed so there's a bit of isolation.

I just play in like 10-15 minute chunks on the hope that if it's not constant you kinda stay under people's complaint limit before you stop. I also find if I play in shorter chunks and in the bathroom it's harder for them to trangulate and tell you to stop. The TV for ambient nosie trick seems to work well too.

If the hotel has a parking garage I just go down to the lowest level and play there. Sounds way better and never gotten any complaints cause no one seems to care what happens in parking garages.

Marshall Gilkes recently posted a video of a tour hack he has of renting a room at a karaoke bar. They're used to load sounds so you can just play (and have drink service and a karaoke machine if you want a break ). It's a pretty amazing idea.
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