How to build soundproof practice areas for those budding teen-age drummers

Q. We are trying to fix up a place in our basement where our son can practice his drums. The drums require about 6 square feet.

We're thinking of fastening carpet scraps on the ceiling and the wall behind, and probably leaving the front open for fresh air.

Could you give us some idea about how to deaden the sound most effectively without actually constructing a soundproof room? Lucie Minsk Hanover, N.H.

A. Even a so-called soundproof cubicle might leave something to be desired in muffling the drumbeats.

A four-walled room laden everywhere with heavy carpet would drop some decibels, but to leave out a fourth side would thwart most of the effort.

I'd suggest constructing a small room that is sized to fit the drum set, plus some breathing space.

Insulate between the studs and joists; apply 2- or 3-inch-thick, sound-absorbing boards on both sides of the walls and to the joists, and carpet everything inside - floor, walls, and ceiling.

Install a wall fan to inject or eject fresh air as needed. To further control sound leakage, apply a thick rubberlike material to all four edges of the door.

As one who once had four musical children at home, two in a rock-and-roll group, I sympathize with you, fellow parent. The group rehearsed in our living room, and the noise was fearful.

In fact, we never had termites while those kids practiced inside.

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