Self study

Duck Tape

Platinum Member
I've gotten into this little habit lately, of listening back to all of my recordings, watching my videos, both the solo stuff and stuff with other musicians.

I have a friend who makes his own music at home and he does the same thing, he takes it a step further and purposely doesn't listen to anything but himself for periods.

It's not a conscious thing but since I started this I have seen my style change and I'm coming into myself a bit more by hearing the things that I tend to do and changing/embracing them.

I think I've made the mistake of over doing it and I'm getting either a bit narcissistic or self depreciating at times... but I wonder if I should just let that phase ride out.

What do you think? Is this good/bad? Do you think musicians obsess a little "too hard" over their work?

Mad About Drums

Pollyanna's Agent
What do you think? Is this good/bad? Do you think musicians obsess a little "too hard" over their work?
Almost every time I listen to myself playing, I can't help but cringe, I hear all the thing I'm not happy with, even when a piece is fine, there's always that spot where I go "aaargh"....

But listening to yourself is a good tool to fix what's makes you cringe, if your are listening with a positive critical manner, it can highlight flaws in your playing and provide motivation to get better behind the kit.

Now, we know what we're playing intimately, and what we feel is not good might not be heard by someone who listen to our recordings, but we're probably the toughest and honest critic of our own playing, I've heard so many members here on DW who are self depreciating themselves upon their playing, while in fact when I listen to them, 90% of the time I think they're great.

So, I think it's a good thing to listen to yourself, it helps you to better yourself, providing you're not becoming obsessed with the "flaws" of your playing, you must also give yourself some credit and acknowledge the "good" bits too, it's a balance thing and if at the end of the day, it makes you a better drummer, it's all what matters.


Gold Member
Every time I listen to myself , I always have that cringe as well. But I Aldo notice the pieces that sound good and I then recall that it sounded/felt good when I was playing as well. It makes me realize to trust my earring /feeling when I play and make me listen to myself more when I play live/practice.


"Uncle Larry"
You bring up a great point Dre, one that I have wondered about many times. Like anything, balance is key. Definitely keep listening, and like you said, don't over do it. Everyone has to have a bit of narcissism in them to survive. I don't think it's a good idea to listen to only yourself for long periods though.

Midnite Zephyr

Platinum Member
A lot of the time, I feel like I'm not doing so well while I'm playing the song, like what I'm playing doesn't sound right, or the feel is off and it just seems a little sloppy when I'm playing it. Then I'll listen back and find out it sounds just fine. Listening back though gives me an idea where I can add or take away stuff. Maybe there needs to be more space here and there. How does it flow? Maybe the beat is getting stale and needs a change in a certain spot to make the song flow better or to blend better with what the bass player is doing. I don't always have the best idea for the beat in the moment of playing it, so listening back gives me time to revisit the piece before we play it again next week or whenever.


Platinum Member
I prefer to live in the moment. Years ago the band I was in played a great gig, we loved every minute of it and the push and pull had us grinning at each other on stage.
A week later the sound guy gave us a recording he had made of the gig. It was good, and you could feel the excitement and hear the applause of the crowd, but we started to notice little faults and small errors. The more we listened the more critical we became, so a great, emotionally invigorating experience was tarnished forever.

Since that time I live in the moment and enjoy a gig for the charge it gives me, I am no longer interested in listening back and spoiling the moment. A gig is what it is. If the band loved it and the audience had a great time that is enough.

Duck Tape

Platinum Member
Okay. I think it's a good sign that I enjoy my playing a bit more often than I dislike it then.

Of course I cringe when I hear some things but I think it's those cringes that program us to change, no? I think it's working for me anyway. And now when I record I think about what I will want to hear when I'm listening back later.

I think those who prefer not to - could probably really benefit from doing it. As time consuming as it is!


Senior Member
I'm in full agreement.

Without self reflection how can we hope to improve?

I do it all the time. For every cringeworthy moment I make a conscious effort to do better at the next gig, and by and large I do.


Junior Member
My friends always tell me that they can tell when I've made a mistake when I'm playing. Not because what I've done necessarily sounds bad but because I make this 'pissed off frown' everytime, like a tell in poker.

I do like to listen to myself back sometimes though to see if I did play everything right and to see what sort of mistakes I'm making.

I get what Mikel means about picking things apart and living in the moment though. I can appreciate if the band or audience have had a good gig even if I know I messed up without being too hard on myself, it helps with the shame. (at least that's what I keep telling myself)