I've been blessed to live near good neighbors. This has been particularly important after I bought my first drum set. After all, drumming isn't exactly the quietest of hobbies. But I've always lived with tolerate (often encouraging) roommates and neighbors.
My philosophy has always been: be a good neighbor to have good neighbors. And it's worked so far. From the very beginning I'm open about my drumming. I tell my landlords, roommates, and neighbors--- usually with a plate of cookies and a promise to never play after 8:00pm and/or have my phone near me so I can receive a text to tell me if it isn't a good time to play. (I've never gotten such a text, by the way.)
Right now, Hubby and I have particularly good neighbors, which is especially fortunate because we live in a close-knit one level apartment complex with two walls connected to neighbors. Two other neighbors live quite close to us as well.
The one opposite of us has a little girl and one on the way. Her attitude has always been, "if you don't might the occasional crying and screaming, I can do with the occasional drumming." Next to her is an older gentleman, and when we first moved in and I told him I had a drum set, he said he was practically deaf (or going deaf) so he didn't think he'd hear the drumming over his loud TV, which he hasn't. ha ha!
The neighbor just next to us is named Terry, and she talked for ages with me when I met her, and she said drumming wouldn't ever be a problem for her either. It was the neighbor on the wall closest to the drum set that I worried most about when we first moved in--- not only because she'd be affected the most by the drumming, but because I could never catch her home to introduce myself. I eventually just dropped off cookies with a note explaining that she'd sometimes hear me drumming, but never too late in the evenings.
We've lived here for almost three years now. It wasn't until two or three months ago, though, that I finally met the neighbor closest to the drum set. She asked me in the parking lot if I was the drummer. I said I was. She said her name was Natalie and she had a nephew that played the drums. We talked for a while, but she, essentially, said I sounded good and to keep it up!
I was so excited, I ran home and told Hubby, "I met Natalie!"
"Natalie Portman?" he asked.
"No, our neighbor. She said she could hear me playing my drums and I sound good."
"Natalie Portman is our neighbor?" he teased.
Anyway, I saw Natalie again today. (Not Portman.) She told me she hasn't heard me drumming much lately. I told her I've been sick, but I'm feeling better now. Her encouragement today got me behind the set again after a long battle of being sick, lazy and just having the post-holiday blues.
I think having good neighbors is important to a drummer. I always just hoped to have neighbors that didn't complain about the noise, but I think having neighbors like Natalie and the others has been encouraging. Natalie's not the first to ask about my drumming when I haven't played in a while. My other neighbors will comment sometimes, and they're always very sincere and encouraging.
I hope you, also, have good neighbors. Or live next to Natalie Portman.
I'm what you'd call a "hobbyist" drummer.