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Do Musicians Listen to Their Own Music? (5 Reasons Why)

In Guides for Musicians, Guides for songwriters by Jake LLeave a Comment

An interesting question to ask, do musicians listen to their own music? It’s definitely different for every musician as everyone has their own reasons to why they do listen to their own music or don’t. Many musicians and artists choose not to listen to their own music because they’re their own biggest critic. Instead of enjoying their songs, they’d constantly be searching for mistakes and things they don’t like about it.

While it is easy to fall for the trap of overanalyzing our own music as musicians and artists, there are good reasons why we should. Before we get into that, the answer to the question is yes and no. Some musicians do listen to their own music while others don’t. However, here are 5 reasons why musicians and artists should listen to their own music and the benefits that come with doing so.

5 Reasons Why Musicians Should Listen to their Own Music:

1. Learn From Your Mistakes

Guitarist practicing his guitar in his bedroom

Just like we mentioned already, musicians and artists often overanalyze their own music. After spending long hours recording an original song, it can be frustrating when you hear a part you don’t like or something that doesn’t sound right to your ears.  This is a big reason why many musicians choose to not listen to their own songs. While it can be difficult, keep in mind that it’s a beneficial learning experience to listen to your finished songs and go over the things you liked about them and what you didn’t.

Being aware of these mistakes or sounds that you don’t like can help you prepare for your future music projects. You’ll know what to look out for and avoid during your recording sessions, allowing you to prevent these mistakes from happening in the first place. It can also help you when you are working on the final mix of the song. Understanding the sound that you don’t like, will ensure that you can work towards achieving a sound that you will like while you mix your song.

Making music is a learning process and accepting the fact that you’re not going to enjoy every song you make is important for your growth as a musician and artist. Never listening to your own music makes it harder to develop and grow as a musician. It also makes it more difficult to innovate your own sound, leading to less growth as a musician. I know it can be tough to listen to your own songs, but it’s important to do so if you ever want to improve musically.

2. Helps You Understand Your Own Unique Sound

Musician performing on stage with a guitar


Another good reason why musicians and artist should listen to their own songs is to develop a better understanding of their own unique sound. As you continue to grow as a musician/artist, your sound will change as new influences enter your life. You will really notice the difference in your own sound when you listen to your original music.

Listening to your own music is a good way of reflecting on your musical style. It’s also very interesting to see how much your sound can change as time goes by. Being aware of your own unique sound and the changes that may occur is important for any musician or artist. Having a clear understanding of what your sound and style of music is the same as knowing your identity as a musician/artist.

You’ll also have a better idea of what your musical strengths and weaknesses are, which will help you in all aspects of music creation. Overall, musicians and artists who listen to their own music have more control in their own sound. Your music will change as time goes by. Listening to your own music will enable you to fully understand when and why your sound may change, while also allowing you to take advantage.

3. Helps Prepare for Performances

Me sound checking for a performance

Performing is a big part of a musician’s/artist’s lifestyle. If you also write your own songs, performing originals will come with the territory. Performing live is a completely different skill with a different approach in preparation compared to recording music in the studio. You may even perform songs differently when you’re performing them live on stage.

Listening to your own music when preparing to perform these songs in a live performance is very helpful. First of all, hearing the music and lyrics helps with memorizing the songs you plan to perform. Playing along to your recorded songs is a great way to practice the music to ensure that you’ll be ready to perform once on stage. Also, listening to your recorded music gives you a base to work with when trying to change up the sound for the live version of the songs.

This also works with song covers that you have recorded. Every musician/artist performs their song covers differently as everyone has their own unique sound and style of music. If you plan on performing covers of songs, it would be more beneficial to listen to your own recorded versions, rather than the recordings/mixes from the original artist. You’ll be able to pick up on all of the subtle differences in your song cover, to ensure that you can translate it effectively when you perform it live on stage.

4. Inspire New Ideas for Future Songs

Empty list of ideas

Listening to your own music can also help inspire new ideas for future songs that you might work on. Even revisiting some of your older work can be a great approach to developing new ideas for your songwriting. Like we’ve already mentioned earlier, every musician and artist has their own unique sound. Everyone also has their own songwriting style when it comes to how the music is played and how they write their lyrics.

When you listen to your own songs, you can analyze your own writing style and really start understanding how you personally write your music. You can even compare your writing to other artists you enjoy and see how the styles differ. Artists with similar music styles to yours can even help inspire your songwriting.

As a songwriter, I personally often visit my older songs as I enjoy seeing how much my style might have changed over time. I even have a bunch of songs that were completed but never released. This gives me untapped lyrics, chord progressions, and music styles that I can incorporate and use in my future song projects. Overall, listening to my own songs always has the potential to spark new ideas, which is why I highly recommend you give it a try too.

5. Appreciate Your Work

Female guitarist playing acoustic guitar with sun setting in the background

Last, but certainly not least, listening to your own music allows you to appreciate your work more. We musicians and artists put in a lot of work into our craft and into the music we create. When you listen to the final mix of that song you were working on for so long, you can appreciate all of the time, work, and dedication that was needed to complete it.

It’s definitely a motivating feeling and can push you to continue to work hard and improve your craft as a musician. This journey we musicians and artists are on is a long one. That’s why it’s important to appreciate all of your accomplishments, both the big ones and the small. Putting together a song, whether it’s your biggest hit or not, is an accomplishment that you should recognize.

Don’t Over Criticize Your Music

Frustrated musician with his head down.

Photo credit: eflon on Visual hunt / CC BY

While listening to your own music as a musician is very important and beneficial to your growth, you also must be very careful to not fall into the trap of over criticizing your songs. It can be very demotivating, to the point where you might find yourself frustrated at every little issue you find in your final mix. Just always try to keep a positive mindset. If you do find something you don’t like about your songs, don’t stress like it’s the end of the world. Note it down, learn from it, and move on to the next project.

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, this article answered your question and if you’re a musician or artist yourself, encourages you to start listening to your own music. It is quite common to find it weird hearing your own musical performance because for a lot of us, by nature we are our biggest critics. Well, sometimes you need criticism to improve in your craft, especially when it comes to getting better at creating your own music. Seek to improve your musical skills by analyzing your own performances and songs. Best of luck to all of you as you continue on your musical journey.

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