I have drafted the following two letters based on guidelines and advice from local council officers in the hope that Councils will adopt more positive procedures in regards to music students practicing their instruments.
This first draft letter will, I hope, move Councils toward replacing the current "first contact" Council Letter currently in use.
I believe the pro-active approach that this letter works toward would go a long way to change current perceptions towards Councils sending strong legally threatening letters to music students and home based businesses and begin to heal the current divisive and damaging situations currently occuring within our musical community.
For Council approval:
Draft copy of New Council form letter for music students
(author: Chris Quinlan)
Dear Mr. (insert name)
Re: (instrument name) Practice at (musicians address)
A concern has been raised with the Council’s Public Health Unit regarding the playing of (instrument name) from the above property. We have urged the person making the concern to directly contact you and make an amicable arrangement in regard to playing / practicing times of your instrument.
The Council encourages community involvement and as such also offers a meeting place with one of our Council Officers as a mediator if so required in the seeking of an amicable arrangement with the person who contacted us.
The Council is required to send this letter in it’s duty to refer you to Section 48A of the Environment Protection Act 1970 in relation to sound being heard from nearby properties and draw your attention to the guidelines set by the EPA in relation to suitable times for the playing of musical instruments.
7am-10pm Monday to Thursday / 7am-11pm Friday /
9am-11pm Saturday and public holidays / 9am-10pm Sunday
We acknowledge that you are playing within the appropriate times for musical instruments and also acknowledge that this playing is encouraged by your Family, School and indeed this Council.
The concern raised is that the sound of music is emanating onto another property, which can be construed as “noise” if left unchecked.
The Council website : (insert Council website address) provides advice on convenient music practice times, neighbourhood arrangements and sound insulation tips as well as providing meeting mediation assistance for achievable neighbourhood solutions (if required).
This approach to Community involvement is encouraged by our Council and we are always seeking positive and amicable solutions on behalf of our Community.
If you require any further information, assistance or wish to discuss the matter please contact (insert Council Officers name and phone number)
Co-ordinator Public Health
author of this draft document:
creator Australian and New Zealand Cultural Arts Drumset Examination Syllabus
producer Melbourne Musos Television Show
Drum and Guitar Teacher - City of Hobsons Bay
I have drafted the following letter (with Council advice) in cases where somebody complains directly to Council without first attempting to contact the musician for a possible amicable solution.
It is Council policy to keep the complainant's identity confidential; This letter sent to the complainant via the Council Officer dealing with the case, asks for an understanding of the need to practice, the urging of an amicable, pro-active dialogue and at the same time, making all concerned clear that you have The Right to Play!
Music Student reply letter to Complainant via the Council
(author: Chris Quinlan with advice from City of Hobsons Bay Council Officer)
Resident; care of (insert name of Council Officer and Council as per letter)
RE: Music Practice
My name is (insert name). I have started learning the (instrument name). (insert Council Officer’s name) from (insert Council name) has sent me a letter expressing your concern regarding my music practice.
Learning the (instrument) is encouraged both by my school and family. I am required to practice at school and at home as it is also an important part of my formal school assessment.
I do not practice to annoy you, but I would like you to understand that I need to practice regularly. My practice times will normally not be for any length of time longer than an hour. However, at other times (when school assesments and music examinations are scheduled), I may need a little extra practice.
I am aware of my legal right to practice (between 7am and 10pm) and I have never exceeded these limits. This is why my family was saddened to receive a letter calling my music homework “noise”.
Should my continuing practice ever bother you, I would rather you to contact me directly (via a knock on the door) so that we could arrange a meeting to discuss possibilities to achieve an amicable arrangement.
I have also contacted the council officer who sent the letter making me aware of your concern and he has agreed to arrange and mediate a meeting for us at Council offices if that is required.
I thank you for your understanding, I may be contacted via (insert the Council Officer’s name and phone number) who sent me the letter making me aware of your concerns.
*do not give out any personal information at this stage*
The Right to Play
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