Ahh, what a privilege and a blessing to play beautiful music with other people...except when it's not so beautiful, and the relationships are not so harmonious!
Of course, personality clashes can happen in any kind of ensemble, small or large. Disagreements are inevitable when people make music together. They can be about the music itself: is everyone in tune? In time? Should we do a different dynamic here? Is the music we're creating expressing the right feeling?
The key is how the group handles arguments: is there respectful dialogue? Mutual respect? A balance in the power dynamic? Or is there egotism and inflexibility that leads to resentment and hurt feelings?
Conflict also can arise over non-musical matters, both trivial and not. Has anyone seen the 2012 film, A Late Quartet? In it, a longtime quartet portrays how deeply dysfunctional and toxic such relationships can become. Of course it makes for juicy drama: professional resentment, secret affairs, disloyalty, etc. etc.
Where have you found to worst personality conflicts? Is it as a member of a small group? Is it as a member of a larger orchestra? Or maybe you find the worst personality conflict with yourself, and being in a group is a relief!
Please pick the answer that best fits your situation, and then tell us about it in the comments. Also, do you have any ideas for preserving the dignity and fellowship among members of a group? Or do some people simply make it impossible to get along?
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