New and Improved Rehearsal Room!!!

As a working musician, you've definitely got to be okay with your practice room.  When spending 3-5 hours (or more for some) each day with your instrument, this space ideally should be inviting, comfortable, and inspiring.

However, for those of us living in a small apartment in a city, we may have to settle for a little less.  Especially those of us with loud instruments that can't simply be unplugged or turned down (No fair, guitarists!).  I'm talking about drummers, brass players, and you guessed it: sax players like me. 

And actually, yes, drummers maybe could practice on electronic drum sets.  Trumpet players can use a practice mute.  But have you ever seen a real mute for a saxophone that really works? I didn't think so.  The problem is that on a sax, the sound doesn't just come out of the end of the horn, but through all of the open keys.  Therefore, there actually are true sax mutes on the market, but unfortunately they look like this:
Yep.  That's a saxophone in a bag. And unfortunately, I've heard it only softens the sound a little bit.  So, that leaves it up to us to find a way to insulate our sound as best as possible so our neighbors above and below us don't kill us.

This spring, my wife and I operated a study abroad session for college students in Leipzig, Germany.  Those few months were absolutely amazing, except for the fact that we lived in an apartment with very thin walls.  And as a performer, no musical breaks allowed.  Here was my solution:
A closet.  Though really it's less than a closet.  Maybe a wardrobe.  And notice the blankets for further sound dampening, as well as the all-important fan to keep me from sweating to death in there.  And don't even think that I left the doors open.  Nope.  It was pitch black in that tiny space, for 3 hours each day.  Kind of makes the "world-traveling musician" thing a little less glamorous, doesn't it?

Oh, and here's one more of our 10 day stay in an apartment in Florence, Italy (although, I know, I can't complain too much about doing anything in Italy!):

This one's a little harder to see, but those are my legs in the bottom, standing in another wardrobe.

But I have great news to report!  Here in Chicago, I'm getting a practice room upgrade!  Yes, I'm still in a closet.  But it's a small walk-in closet (Ooooh!  Fancy-Pantsy!).  I have room for a computer!  And best of all, I have a light!  (Although come to think of it, with all of the late-night jam sessions here, maybe I should get more used to the dark.)

 So here it is.  The moment you've all been waiting for.  Ladies and Gentlemen, introducing Derek Brown's new deluxe practice room:
So those of you out there working in small cubicles everyday at work, while I envy your air conditioning and elbow room, I'm right there with you.  Don't forget about us city musicians, and I won't forget about you.  Solidarity, man.

Until next time...