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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.

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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.

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

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