I reckon a lot of noise complaints come from the fact that neighbours don't actually know when the noise is going to end, so they get very anxious and complainy as they don't know whether they'll be able to sleep that night! So, as mentioned, the best bet is to be as polite and humble as possible, explain to them that you don't intend to annoy them but that you need to play your instruments sometimes, and try and reach a compromise based on what days of the week, and times of day, would be most convenient for all concerned.
As someone who has to live next to extremely loud neighbours who insist on partying regularly into the small hours of the night, I have to say I would be greatly appreciative of being forewarned, (or even for an apology afterwards, if it went on longer than originally thought). My neighbours do neither, and consequently we both get quite peeved when they decide to go outside smoking pot and drinking and getting very noisy before finally at 4am they decide they're tired. It's also quite annoying that they choose to watch TV loudly every night until midnight (on the nights they're not partying) with all their doors and windows wide open. They're not students, but neither do they seem to do much in the way of work - which is quite problematic for us, as we both work 9-5(+) jobs! Sleep is precious to us hard-working folk
We'd feel much happier about it if a) our neighbours were friendly (they've yet to say hello), and b) gave us warning they were planning to hold these noisy parties as then we wouldn't think they were totally inconsiderate. So... in terms of your situation, I speak from personal experience when I say that making friends with your neighbours and coming to an agreement would definitely help matters - if they know in advance that you'll be jamming loudly until 8pm on weeknights but possibly 10pm on a weekend, and then it'll be absolutely quiet in time for sleep, I'm sure they'll be happier than if you have sporadic loud jam sessions with no warning! You might find as time goes on that they even take an interest in your music, you never know!
BTW... in terms of the law, you are legally entitled to make noise during the day (such as playing instruments/partying). Any noise between the hours of 11pm and 7am is considered "noise pollution" and can be reported to Environmental Health - although usually it's a long and tedious process to get the council to listen, and this in itself doesn't immediately mean the law will be involved - usually that only happens when E.H. have been on your case for a long period of time gathering evidence, and then you are prosecuted. I don't think you have any worries in this regard - as long as you make friends with your neighbours and don't play loudly between the hours of 11pm and 7am REGULARLY (and certainly without forewarning people) you should be absolutely fine. This doesn't mean your landlord will be 100% happy though, but you don't need to worry about prosecution. See http://www.environmental-protection.org.uk/noise/environmental-noise/noise -pollution/ for more info.
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Edited by Jennifer Jones (21/09/11 04:23 PM)