Practicing Music in Japan
Soundproof Apartments & Places To Practice
Practicing music in Japan no mater in Tokyo, Osaka or anywhere else in the country is easier then one might think. Drums, guitar, brass and even piano can be practiced and played on a daily basis in Japan. Ether in your apartment or other places like practice studios which are great if playing in a band.
Soundproof Apartments For Musicians
Soundproof apartments are becoming a new trend in some cites around Japan Tokyo, Osaka etc. These apartments are not just targeted for musicians but also for karaoke and gamer's. However musicians are the main focus with the rule that anyone can play music 24/7 which is music to musicians ears.
These Studio, 1K or 1DK rentals come with double doors, double windows and soundproof walls. The result is as good as it gets making 95 db in one room into 15 dB in the next room. To put that in perspective a subway or motorcycle makes about 95 dB and normal breathing makes 15 db. The down side to these apartments is that the overall cost will be more expensive at about 20% or higher than a non soundproof apartment.
Soundproof An Apartment Yourself
If a soundproof apartment is not an option you can still play almost anything depending on the apartment you get. The first requirement is to have an apartment building with reinforced concrete. The second requirement is to understand that playing music with some apartments in Japan is a breach of contract. However keep in mind that noise complaints are the main and real concern. Soundproofing an apartment in Japan is possible here's how.
Rent A Soundproof Booth
In the most extreme cases for example acoustic pianos, brass horns, acoustic drum sets and so on. You can rent a soundproof booth from Yamaha for 10,000 yen a month for a 1.65 m2 booth to a 3.0 m2 booth for 24,000 yen a month. Having at least a 2 bedroom apartment with a room 3x larger than the booth its self is recommended. If your instrument is less noisy or you think having a large booth in your apartment is just crazy you still have options.
Muffle & Sound Deaden A Room Yourself
There are many ways to soundproof your room or studio. by muffling the room to the best of your ability without making the room look bad. You can do this by first putting up acoustic panels or studio foam on all 4 of your walls and ceiling. These days panels can easily be bought in many different shapes, sizes and colors for you to choose from.
The next thing you should do is to muffle the floor. Any thick carpet that covers most of the rooms floor will do but the thicker the better. If you are playing an electric drum kit you might want to go as far as putting more carpets under the kit. The next thing you should muffle are your windows and door. There are two ways you can do this for your windows. One is by using heavy soundproof curtains. The other option is to use dampening blankets over the windows. Dampening blankets will be more effective and is what is recommended for both your windows and doors.
Practice Studios In Japan
One of the best things as a musician living in Japan especially if not practicing alone is the practicing studios found all over Japan. These practice studios are for musicians to play their musical interments at a responsibly hourly rate. All practice studios come with everything you need amps, a PA, keyboards and yes even a drum set as well. The keyboards and drum sets are the only musical instruments that come with the room. However there are some instruments, guitars and so on for you to rent if you did not bring them yourself. The price usually will start at 500 yen per person an hour. The price will go up from there depending what type of room you are getting and where the studio is located.
Karaoke booths in Japan are soundproof with most having a killer sound system for you to play along with your music. They can be a more convenient and cheaper than practice studios if alone and your instrument can easily be taken with you. Average prices can start at 100-200 yen per 30 minutes on weekdays and 400-500 yen on weekends. Karaoke booths are everywhere in Japan so there won't be any trouble finding one.
Large Parks and Rivers
If you love playing outside, worried about playing in your apartment and want to keep it free. Large parks and rivers can be an acceptable place to play music. The main focus is to be in a none residential area, playing during the day and not to annoy anyone.