April 22


SO COOL! How to listen to music while playing drums (2022)

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Good morning, and thanks again for visiting Midnightdrummer.com today!

In this blog post, I'd like to help you find the best solution to the following problem any drummer will face sooner or later:

How to listen to music while playing drums?

The easiest and quickest way to answer this specific question could be: “Crank the volume up and start drumming to music!

Yes, this could be a solution, but still it's not what you were looking for.


Let's try a more detailed approach with everything you need to know.

Here are the contents:

How to listen to music while playing drums?

There are several products which help you listen to music while playing drums. Some of them are very budget friendly, others are more sophisticated and thus cost more money. Which solution fits your purposes the best depends on your preferences, on your budget and application.   

Useful products which help listening to music while playing drums

Useful products which help listening to music while playing drums

#1 Earmuffs & in-ear headphones

The cheapest and in my opinion one of the best solutions is the combination of earmuffs and in-ear headphones. Using this combination will protect your ears and playing to your favorite songs becomes very enjoyable at a very low loudness level.

From a technical point of view, this solution is capable of protecting your ears while playing drums the same way as all the other following products will do.

Here's what you need:  

3M earmuffs

These earmuffs by 3M cost less than $20 and they protect your ears very effectively.

In-ear headphones

You can wear any in-ear headphones under the earmuffs to listen to your music while playing drums. I use these by JBL.

#2 In-ears for drummers

Good in-ears for drummers are a more expensive solution.

A very good entry-level product though are the Shure SE215 in-ears, starting at approximately $90,-.

You can buy them here.

Wearing these not only allows listening to music while playing drums, they also protect your ears due to its noise isolating technology.

If you like to read more about these in-ears, please have a look at my Shure SE215 review.

Shure SE215 earphone piece

Shure SE215 in-ears

The Shure SE215 are very good entry level in-ears. 

#3 Over-ear drummer headphones

Over-ear drummer headphones are another good solution which perfectly works to play to your favorite music while drumming.

When playing drums with headphones, you must be aware that not all products come with ear protection.

The following products do both:

  • Sound great
  • Protect your ears from outside noise

Vic Firth drummer headphones

These Vic Firth drummer headphones protect your ears while playing drums, and it allows listening to music while playing. 

Vic Firth drummer headphones

Here's another drummer headphone made by Vic Firth. Technically, this is a similar product to the one I mentioned above.

#4 Professional PA system

The last option I would like to mention here is a professional PA system. In short, this system consists of 2 loudspeakers and an amplifier module.

This allows cranking up your music so that you can hear it loud enough while playing drums. 

Although there's nothing bad owning such a PA system, there are several disadvantages for our sole purpose of playing drums while listening to music:

  • It's quite expensive
  • It's very loud
  • You still need ear protection while using it

JBL professional PA system

This JBL PA system is ideal for a band and rehearsals.

Don't buy this if you only want to play drums while listening to music! 

If you have a band and some smaller gigs, this is something worth considering for your next purchase.

How to listen to music while playing electronic drums

The same products, which I mentioned above, are also great for electronic drummers. 

You only need to connect your headphones to the pertaining output of your electronic drum module, and you are ready to play.

How to play drums along with music

When everything is connected, and you are ready to go, you should decrease the loudness of the music you want to play to to an absolute minimum.

Put in the in-ears and the earmuffs onto your ears and slowly increase the volume of the music. 

Try to play an easy groove while listening to the music.

Then decide, whether you need more volume to listen to the song you want to play to. 

Don't overdo it and be gentle to your ears to avoid serious damages!

Let's wrap this up

Listening to your favorite music while playing drums makes fun, and I enjoy it a lot.

Being able to hear the drum part of a song allows improving your own drumming immensely, and it should be an important part of your daily drumming routine.

How do you play drums to your favorite music? Did you try one of the products I mentioned?

Please let me know in the comments!

Enjoy playing drums and talk soon! 

Keno Hellmann

Keno is a professional drummer & blogger from Hamburg, Germany.
In his career, he played drums for prominent artists like Elton John and popular German bands like Rosenstolz, Big Soul and others.
Since 2004 he's also teaching drums to students of all age-groups from beginners to advanced and semi-professional drummers.

He loves kitesurfing in Germany's North Sea & Egypt's Red Sea, cooking, and he is a big supporter of the HSV football team.

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