Drums changed how I listen to music

Birdy

Well-known member
I expect it’s been discussed already but even after less than a year thrashing about I now listen to every track on my playlists mainly picking out the drumming, particularly the bass drum, with a view to having a go at playing along with it. My ‘drums’ playlist is ever evolving through all types of music driven by the beat. its undoubtedly helping me progress as I enjoy playing as they’re familiar songs that I would like listening to anyway.
It’s satisfying to be able to achieve some semblance these tunes, but it may be reducing my overall enjoyment of listening to the complete song as I’m now seeking out songs to drum to rather than enjoy the tune.
I’m not grumbling, just becoming more aware of the affect it’s having on me.
As I said, it’s probably a common thing amongst you guys?
 

C.M. Jones

Well-known member
It's natural for drummers to zero in on drum tracks in recordings. Studies reveal that musicians listen more with the left side of their brain, whereas non-musicians utilize the right side. Musicians tend to analyze what they hear. This involves isolating and dissecting parts in an effort to decode them. Non-musicians usually aren't trained to do that.

It's important to remember, however, that drumming is part of a larger picture. Drumming has to blend with the music it accompanies. Good drummers function as musicians, not just as drummers. Taking in music as a whole is an important aspect of comprehending it.
 
I found myself doing the same thing the first few years I got serious about playing. While I expect I still pay far more attention to the drums in a song than the average listener, after a few years, I stopped automatically focusing as much on the drums and started listening to the song as a whole again.
 

AzHeat

Platinum Member
Your listening will and should change over time. As you become comfortable with playing, you begin hearing the genius around some (I do mean some) music. The complexity around how some musicians have put parts together is simply amazing. The other stuff is what my wife listens too, all the while calling brilliant music crap. A lot of musical enjoyment to me is more than just a downbeat, but how well things were orchestrated. For example, Like them or not, Oingo Boingo was a great example of playing tidbits and sounding amazing as a group. No instrument played on it's own is recognizable as a song, except the drums and maybe bass.

I personally find it way more fun listening for the tiny nuances than the music as a whole.
 

GetAgrippa

Platinum Member
Listening is important- the language of music is the sounds. But speaking of listening and off track I’d still like to share. . I’ve noted people comment my snare sounds choked-it’s sounded fine to me. But this past Sunday I was playing in church and my one hearing I’m wearing went dead. So I was flying deaf that day. I took it in Monday for repairs so pulled out my older one. Damn my drums sounded completely different -the snare is choked sounding. I’m like WTH? Well got my newer back yesterday but yet to play kit after retuning. I’m curious how it will sound now? But there is a relevant point- when you listen to music it’s different on cell phone or laptop compared to headphones or good system. So be careful of how you listen- it’s only as good as what you hear.
 
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iCe

Senior Member
I'm 37 now and have been playing drums since 16-ish or so. I find it hard to exactly pinpoint if drumming has changed how i listen to music and/or my experiences through the years of making music with others had also something to do with it. But naturally my focus goes out to drums and if a sick beat or fill comes up i'd mention it faster then the Millennium Falcon doing the Kessel Run. When talking to a friend roughly 10 years ago, we noticed that we listen to music more as a whole; something might not be in our preferred genre, but if the feel/timing/delivery of the song is good i can really enjoy a live performance that i would normally wouldn't consider listening to.

Typing this i realised that drumming actually has caused this; when i started delving into Dream Theater around 2002 i started to notice things like 'hey, this drum part is in unison with the keyboard and guitar part' and started to perceive that drums can be used as something more than a timekeeper. Mike Portnoy has almost literally stated that on his Liquid Drum Theater DVD and that has been an inspiration ever since; one of the reasons i have a huge kit, because i like to have all those different sound sources to make something melodic and musical. But i digress...

I don't really listen to lyrics, but when a singer 'sings' i perceive it just as the same 'noise' the rest of the instruments make. It's all part of the feel of the song. I think maybe drumming has something to do with that, because i express my emotion(s) of the song not through words but via instruments. Unless the singer is bad and he/she sings out of tune, i can listen to songs without getting a word of the lyrics haha.

That all has lead me to even ordering cd's this year i would't buy a few years ago. I got two cd's from the melodic death metal band Arch Enemy with their 'new' singer Alissa White-Gluz because the overall feel of the music (on those 2 albums) is amazing. Years ago i couldn't stand this music and grunts/screams, but funnily enough i can understand what she's singing and helps me perceive the song as a whole. Same thing with Mastodon; got one album because of a song i like, but the rest of the album is amazing too. Years ago i wouldn't have gotten that because i didn't listen to it as i do now.

I've always favoured heavier music, but this year also got a cd from Samantha Fish (Wild Heart) that i absolutely love too. Not metal, not hard rock, but very nice and powerful blues/blues rock. All about the delivery as well; especially love the live performances on YouTube of those songs. And finally Tal Wilkenfield; great bass player, but her latest album is just something else... just music that is very pleasant to the ears.

Probably playing in cover bands of the years have played a part in this as well; i was 'forced' to listen to songs i wouldn't normally listen to, but now i had because we wanted to play them. Focus was initially on the drums (because i needed to learn the parts), but after a few listens and playing it live i actually started to like those songs.

So...

TL,DR; yes, my listening/drumming have changed of time due to natural evolution (nice Weckl reference there hehehe)
 

Birdy

Well-known member
By the way ‘ a little bit of love’ by Free is one of those on my playlist I play along with for that very reason..
 

bud7h4

Silver Member
What I've always listen to most is the groove played by the whole band. It is however crucial that the drums be:
1. interesting - whether simple or complex, if it's not actually interesting I won't listen to it
2. appropriate - obvious enough
2. mixed well - this one kills a lot of 80s rock for me. Way to go, 80s.

Even when I mostly played guitar and was obsessed with it, what mattered to me was the music as a whole. There are several highly acclaimed guitarists I never could listen to because as great as the guitar playing is, the music overall does nothing for me (Satriani, Malmsteen).
 
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bud7h4

Silver Member
. . . . But there is a relevant point- when you listen to music it’s different on cell phone or laptop compared to headphones or good system. So be careful of how you listen- it’s only as good as what you hear.

It seems to me most people today "listen" to music exclusively on some pathetic little device or another, and don't even own a proper sound system, the poor benighted souls. If I had a choice of listening to my favorite artist on a phone or Baby Shark on a good home or car stereo, I might choose Baby Shark.
 

Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Well-known member
as a very young kid - like 3 or 4 - I vividly remember picking out the drum beats when my parents had music on.

I started playing drums around 7 or 8 years old, and it was very easy to deciphher drum beats

I also play bass guitar, and it was always easy to pick out the bass

on the flip side, there are albums I have had for 40 years that I don't know the words to the songs because I still can't get away from listening to the drums and bass
 

GetAgrippa

Platinum Member
as a very young kid - like 3 or 4 - I vividly remember picking out the drum beats when my parents had music on.

I started playing drums around 7 or 8 years old, and it was very easy to deciphher drum beats

I also play bass guitar, and it was always easy to pick out the bass

on the flip side, there are albums I have had for 40 years that I don't know the words to the songs because I still can't get away from listening to the drums and bass
Do you remember how you played drums at 8-I just remember jumping on and jamming with tunes of day and my Mom. I never thought about it-it all seemed so natural and intuitive
 

Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Well-known member
Do you remember how you played drums at 8-I just remember jumping on and jamming with tunes of day and my Mom. I never thought about it-it all seemed so natural and intuitive

I definitely do. it was very constructed:
I would come home from school, get a quick snack, and then sit down and play along to whatever album I was working on. I had goals. I usually worked on 2 or 3 albums a month. It would have been Styx, Kansas, Temptations, Jackson 5, Dave Brubeck stuff, Pete Fountain, Benny Goodman...

my dad was a jazz drummer around town, so he was my first teacher, and definitely taught me that practice time was supposed to be serious and focused. I would work on songs, repeat them; play along to them in my hhead with no music going; work out fills; learn and try to analyze things like: "why did he use the ride cymbal in this part, or the hi hat here?" "how did that fill connect t he two phrases and what the guitars or vox were doing?"

I know I was way more focused on it than other kids my age...almost obsessively so. I also had my dad there when he was not working, and he would have me analyzing stuff. We would go to the music store and he would talk about equipment...how the lathing on cymbals affected the sound; how the ply's of wood made difference in sound (he was a carpenter/cabinet maker as a hobby)...

so I definitely did not just sit down and "go" at first. That sometimes happened later on, as I got older

but man, I drummed EVERY DAY in middle school and high school...for at least 4-6 hours. They would have to come up and unplug the stereo to get me to come down and eat dinner. I even built a "stage" in the attic (my bedroom) with can lights (literally made out of colored light bulbs in coffee cans) to replicate "being famous"...I was hooked
 

Otto

Platinum Member
As my ability to learn via listening developed it replaced all other forms of listening...including enjoyment.

That was a real unpleasant realization.

Took me a decade after to be able to chose my listening approach...between critiquing, enjoying and performing...I like to think it improved my performance but I don't really have data. I can say I now listen to music I would not have enjoyed before without forcing myself...a lot of it not containing drums at all and/or containing a greater variety of relative complexity vrs a more monochromatic sense of complexity.

this all happened after i went to see a concert featuring an act I really respected but found i did not enjoy viewing...and my reasons were all technical...and it left me a bit depressed...I couldn't turn off the analysis...going to see live acts left me feeling a 'mental charlie horse' not the joy music really is about(imho) and was fueling a form of vague depression on the subject.

I feel lucky to have realized that and to have taken steps to alter it.

I still get headaches and a vague sense of disgust after extended listening to certain music forms...but its far better than before...and I can see this response as being about me instead of the musicians/music presented.
 
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Birdy

Well-known member
It’s good to see all these replies. I’m now at the stage that even when I’m in the bath where I used to relax for around an hour, I’m now listening to music and tapping hands and feet to the beat instead.
I can’t see me going back to just listening to the tune in general which is sad in a way…
 

Bozozoid

Well-known member
It's natural for drummers to zero in on drum tracks in recordings. Studies reveal that musicians listen more with the left side of their brain, whereas non-musicians utilize the right side. Musicians tend to analyze what they hear. This involves isolating and dissecting parts in an effort to decode them. Non-musicians usually aren't trained to do that.

It's important to remember, however, that drumming is part of a larger picture. Drumming has to blend with the music it accompanies. Good drummers function as musicians, not just as drummers. Taking in music as a whole is an important aspect of comprehending it.
Can I get an AMEN.
 

Rock Salad

Junior Member
It's really good to have noticed that analytical listening taking over. It is necessary to learning the craft of music to analyze. But what a bummer if you can't switch it off and just feel the music. I struggled to be able to turn it off for quite a while, even stopped listening altogether for some time. I can do it now, and all that studied listening naturally informs my enjoyment and enhances it. It was a struggle to get here though.
 

Bozozoid

Well-known member
It's really good to have noticed that analytical listening taking over. It is necessary to learning the craft of music to analyze. But what a bummer if you can't switch it off and just feel the music. I struggled to be able to turn it off for quite a while, even stopped listening altogether for some time. I can do it now, and all that studied listening naturally informs my enjoyment and enhances it. It was a struggle to get here though.
Nice!...i definitely felt inspiration pass through my being.
 

boomstick

Silver Member
For sure drums changed the way I listen to music. These are broad generalizations, but like most people, I used to listen to music in a "top-down" way. So in a standard rock band setup, I would unconsciously focus on the vocals and guitars, and everything else was sort of background. Now when I listen to music, I listen in a "bottom-up" way. I hear the drums and bass first, and if I'm feeling that, I'll move up the layers until I get to the vocals. Sometimes I'll listen to a song many times before ever focusing on the actual lyrics.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
As my ability to learn via listening developed it replaced all other forms of listening...including enjoyment.

That was a real unpleasant realization.

Took me a decade after to be able to chose my listening approach...between critiquing, enjoying and performing...I like to think it improved my performance but I don't really have data. I can say I now listen to music I would not have enjoyed before without forcing myself...a lot of it not containing drums at all and/or containing a greater variety of relative complexity vrs a more monochromatic sense of complexity.

this all happened after i went to see a concert featuring an act I really respect but found i did not enjoy viewing...and my reasons were all technical...and it left me a bit depressed...I couldn't turn off the analysis...going to see live acts left me feeling a 'mental charlie horse' not the joy music really is about(imho) and was fueling a form of vague depression on the subject.

I feel lucky to have realized that and to have taken steps to alter it.

I still get headaches and a vague sense of disgust after extended listening to certain music forms...but its far better than before...and I can see this response as being about me instead of the musicians/music presented.
It's a great skill to be able to listen, analyze and de-construct music

It's hard for some to turn that off and just enjoy the resolved output.

It's nice to be able to switch between different modes of listening according to what's most beneficial at the time
 
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