Do Musicians Listen to Their Own Music?

Nov 14 · 5 min read

I'm a musician, and I make music for my own pleasure and enjoyment. But that's not all I do: sometimes, I listen to my own music out of curiosity. How did this song come together? Why did I choose these particular instruments? What can we learn about the songwriting process from listening to ourselves as we create our art?

Sometimes it's for reference.

If you're like me, you'll listen to your own music because it's just so satisfying. But there are other reasons musicians may spend time with their old work again:

Reference for new songs. If you're writing a new song and want it to sound like your old songs, you might listen back to the older ones to get inspiration.

Reference for old songs. If you've forgotten how a certain part went or what sounds were used in which places, listening back can help refresh your memory before recording the next version of that song or using those same instruments on another track

Sometimes it's for pleasure.

Sometimes musicians listen to their own music for pleasure. You might be surprised to learn that musicians can enjoy listening to their own music, even if they’re not working on something all the time. When I listen to one of my favorite bands, it makes me feel happy and relaxed. Even though I know what’s coming next in the song, it doesn't matter because it's such a great song that hearing it again and again won't make me sick of it!

When you're listening for fun, pay attention to how your mood changes as you hear different pieces of music. Does one type of music make you feel energized or relaxed? Does another type of music get your blood pumping? Keep track of these observations so that next time someone asks why they should listen to their favorite band on repeat, there will be more than just "because they're awesome!"

Sometimes it's for nostalgia.

As a musician, you likely have a collection of songs that you love to listen to. While some may think that listening to your own work can be a chore, many musicians find it cathartic and nostalgic.

Hearing old music can evoke memories of past experiences. For example: maybe if you're listening to an old song from the '80s and you were born in 1990; or if your parents listened to a lot of country when they were younger but now prefer alternative music; or if your grandparents liked heavy metal during their youth; or if someone who passed away long ago loved Marvin Gaye's greatest hits album.

Sometimes it's for validation.

When you're listening to your own music, it's easy to get caught up in the "this is how I want it to sound" mindset. You listen over and over again, trying to decide if a certain part needs changing, or if your bandmate might be able to play their instrument better.

But sometimes it can be nice just to listen casually, without being critical of every little detail. If you've spent months recording an album, you may find that once it's finished (and released), there are times when you just want to enjoy the music instead of needing constant feedback from friends and family members about what they think of it.

If this sounds like something worth doing for yourself—or even with others—here's how.

Sometimes it's for research.

You probably know a musician who listens to their own music all the time. In fact, you may even be a musician who does this yourself! It’s easy to understand why it might make sense—after all, you know what goes into making your own tracks, and listening to them can help you learn from your mistakes.

But some musicians listen to their own music for reasons beyond self-improvement. Sometimes they are simply looking for inspiration or ideas for new songs or musical concepts; other times they are trying to figure out how something was made or how someone else did it (like those “how do they make that sound?” YouTube videos). The best thing about listening is that there are no rules when it comes down to which artists should hear what parts of their work: everyone has different needs based on their job description as well as personal preferences!

Sometimes it's to remember the songwriting process.

Some musicians may listen to their own music in order to remember the songwriting process. This is especially true if they wrote the song a long time ago, before the songs were released and become popular. If you're a musician who's been writing for years, you might find yourself unable to recall how you thought about songs and what went into them when they were first written. But if you hear your own music again after being away from it for awhile, it can help jog your memory on what was going through your mind while writing each track.

Some musicians will also listen to their own music just because they like their own sound—it can be fun!

Sometimes it's to remind themselves what they don't like about their work.

They listen to their work with fresh ears.

When you've been working on something for a long time, it can be difficult to see the project with fresh eyes and hear what needs improvement. Often, musicians will listen to a recording of their own music in order to hear it as someone else might—to hear what they don't like about it, or what they could do better next time around. It can also be helpful for musicians who are trying out new equipment or instrumentation in order to get a sense of how they sound on different channels in the mix (e.g., "That guitar tone really works well with that vocal").

They're looking for inspiration outside of themselves for new ideas and sounds.

In addition to exposing themselves more objectively, musicians often listen through their own repertoire in search of inspiration for future projects: "What was I thinking when I wrote this? How could I make something cooler?"

Musicians listen to their own music for a lot of different reasons, much like other people do.

You’re probably wondering why a musician would listen to their own music. Even if you’ve never made a song before, you have to admit that it does seem like a strange thing for someone who creates music for a living to do.

There are many reasons why musicians listen to their own music, and some of them aren't even related to the creative process. For example:

Musicians often listen to their own music because it helps them remember the songwriting process (especially if they're no longer working on the track). When I write songs, I sometimes find myself forgetting what chord progression or drum beat I used in order to write it. Listening back helps me refresh my memory about all those details that can easily get lost in time when you're working on so many different projects at once!

Listening back can also offer validation that your work is good enough—even if this is something they don't verbally admit or show outwardly, there's usually some part of every creator that needs validation from others (and yes!) themselves as well! This doesn't just apply towards solo artists either—when bands collaborate together during recording sessions (which can be stressful!), going over ideas after each session allows everyone involved with making sure everyone feels heard and appreciated throughout the entire process instead of feeling like any one person took more than their fair share at any time during production.

We hope this article has helped you understand why musicians listen to their own music, and that it has given you a few ideas for how to get more out of your own listening experience. If you're still curious about how other people approach listening, we encourage you to do some research on your own! For more information on music lessons in Redmond check out our school website!

Charlie Fergson
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