Been Criticized As A Drummer? Read On!

Tips for dealing with criticism as a drummer

You’ve been criticized as a drummer?

Ouch ā€¦ not cool.

Not at all.

Being criticized hurts.

It’s a shitty feeling, and you might be discouraged right now.

Totally understandable.

I’ve been criticized, too, you know.

That’s why I’m writing this guide today.

As a fellow drummer, I want to show you that

  • it’s actually a good thing to be criticized,
  • why it’s still perfectly fine to feel bad about it
  • and how you can transform your pain into something beautiful.

Yes, you’re able to take great advantage of the criticism you received.

So, read on.

You might be surprised.

The Thing With The Feelings

  • Don’t listen to the critics.
  • Simply ignore them.
  • They are jealous of you – talking about drumming envy.
  • Or they have a personal problem they want to take out on you.

Sounds familiar?


And yes, such advice might help you to a certain point.

But still, you might not be able to let the shitty feeling of being criticized for your drumming go.

And that’s totally fine.

Let’s be real:

If something really hurts your feelings, rational advice won’t do the trick.

It only scratches the surface.

Hurtful criticism goes way deeper.

It can really shake you to the core.

I know, because I know this feeling.

That’s why I can only say:

If you feel bad about being criticized, feel bad about it.

You don’t need to suppress any of your feelings.

You’re human, remember.

Human beings tend to have feelings, even “bad” ones.

However, feeling uneasy about something most people would feel bad about is just one part of the story.

It’s also about seeing things as they are:

When you’ve been criticized as a drummer, it’s not the end of the world.

Yes, you might feel – rightfully – bad.

Or angry.

Pissed off.




At the same time, you’re still you.

You’re still able to enjoy the fun of playing the drums.

Nobody can take this from you.

At least if you don’t let them.

Being Criticized As A Drummer: Hurtful, But Also Insightful

In my over 15 years of playing the drums, I’ve never met ANY professional musician criticizing other artists in a harmful way.

Professional musicians are professionals at sharing constructive critic as well.

At least the pros I know.

That’s because they are well aware of the fact that

  • everybody struggles,
  • everybody fails at some point
  • and that there is ALWAYS more to learn.

For everybody, even top-notch drummers.

Nobody is perfect.

Sure, there might be pro drummers who haven’t mastered the art of criticizing others.

But again, I’ve never met such musicians.

To be even more precise:

If pro drummers only share constructive criticism (and that’s also something you pay money for in your drum lessons) …

Who criticized you?

Probably not a pro, right?

This means:

It’s likely that your critic doesn’t have the skills to see your full potential as a drummer.

Even pros are wrong sometimes!

You know that the Beatles were turned down for a record deal MANY times?

Yeah, big mistake by the record labels.

But the future tends to be unpredictable, also back then.

So, why bother with the opinion of somebody who might simply be wrong?

The critic is just sharing his or her opinion.

Opinions are not the truth.

Speaking of:

Everybody has a different opinion and therefore, an individual truth.

That’s why you can not avoid being criticized as a drummer.

Unless, of course, you make sure that nobody ever hears you playing.

How Your Critics Actually Do You A Favor

Playing the drums might be your biggest passion.

Maybe even your profession.

If somebody dislikes your playing, the pain is real.

And that’s the good thing.

Yes, I mean it.


Let me explain:

When somebody criticizes you, you’ve reached them with your drumming.


It doesn’t matter if they liked or disliked your playing.

That’s something you can’t control anyway.

Even the best musicians out there aren’t liked by everyone.

You need to understand:

If you’ve been criticized as a drummer, you’ve been heard.

The more people you reach, the more often you will be criticized for this reason.

You can only avoid being criticized as a drummer when nobody takes notice of you.

That’s the good news:

Receiving criticism means you’ve reached somebody.

You’re definitely doing something right:

Having the courage to show you play the drums.

Trust me, there are a lot of people who die with this dream.

They obviously don’t believe they have what it takes to be a drummer.

But how do your critics do you a favor, then?

They help you grow.

Grow not only as a drummer but also as a human being.

Do you really think I’d be able to write this guide today if nobody ever criticized me?


I simply wouldn’t.

Receiving hurtful criticism is one thing.

The other thing is how you deal with it.

You can feel the pain, be discouraged, and stop drumming.


Or you can feel the pain, be discouraged, and decide to still push through.

It’s always up to you.

Being criticized as a drummer hurts.

Yes, it sucks without a doubt.

But if you can’t avoid it, you need to deal with it.

And please, don’t get me wrong:

I will never defend bad behavior by people towards other people.

But we’re simply not able to control other people.

It’s impossible – and let’s be honest: thankfully so.

Still, you’ve been hurtfully criticized.

It’s helpful you remind yourself:

Being Criticized As A Drummer Sucks, But It’s Okay In The End

It happens, and there’s no practical way to avoid it.

As you can’t avoid it, you need to learn to deal with it:

Take a step back and think about the harsh words you heard.

Is there a little piece of truth hidden in them?

This piece can be considered as constructive criticism.

It’s an outstandingly helpful type of feedback if you’re not afraid to work with it.

Were you just criticized negatively, e.g.

Your drumming sucks?

It’s up to you how you react.

You could also say:

Now you’ve got the chance to work on your attitude.

My advice for this reason is:

Understand that the criticism you received as a drummer is an opinion.

Everybody has one, just like a butt.

Do you need to react to it?

Well, I like to reply with “Hi XY, thanks for your opinion.”.

And then, I carry on with my daily business.

If you like you can do the same.

There’s no need to convince people to change their minds.

Not everyone will like you as a drummer.

And let’s be real:

I’m sure there are drummers whose playing you enjoy less than others.


Taste differs.

Treating others with respect, however, should be the standard.

Let’s keep our standards high.

Critics will criticize anyway.


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Author: Manu Holmer

Hi, I'm Manu Holmer, nice to meet you! As a professional drummer and drum teacher, my vision is to help others transform their lives with the power of music. Let's not only play the drums. Feel the rhythm & and walk to our own beats!

2 thoughts on “Been Criticized As A Drummer? Read On!”

  1. Thank you for writing this. I helps to know Iā€™m not alone when it comes to being criticized when playing drums. Your writings were thoughtful and kind and what I needed to get through my wonder and doubt today.

    1. Hi Joseph,

      thanks for your comment and no, you’re definitely not alone!

      I don’t know a single grown-up drummer who hasn’t been criticized at some point.

      It still sucks, but I really don’t think you can’t avoid it.

      At least if other people have the chance to listen to you playing.

      Speaking of: I’m sure you’re a great drummer.

      We all are, on our own terms.

      All the best to you, and keep on rocking! šŸ™‚


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