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when creative differences arise

If you don't strictly work solo as a musician, there will inevitably come a time where you and your bandmates disagree on the sound or execution of something you're working on musically. From stylistic interpretation to technique, these differences can be resolved amicably – most of the time. Here are five things to try when working to resolve creative differences.

Compromise

Very often, these kinds of differences can be resolved via compromise, particularly if your band or ensemble has a mostly democratic attitude about creation. As with writing music, bring your creativity to bear on how the vision of what you're working on can be satisfactory to all parties. If your band has a clearly demarcated leader who makes all the decisions, still suggest a compromise, but be prepared to have them veto it, especially if they've done so in the past.

Don't Argue – Discuss

While the temptation may be there to roundly argue your point, it will only create more friction and ill feeling within the group. Discuss your views and encourage your bandmates to discuss theirs – work to convince people of your viewpoint with a clear explanation of what you want to do and why, and listen attentively as they try to convince you of theirs as well. Resolving creative differences is a work of cooperation, not strivance.

Make Suggestions

If you think your bandmate(s) may be on to something but see issues with their idea or the execution of it, make suggestions as to how it can be done better or how it can be molded to fit the vision of the group. Very often taking a good idea and modifying it can resolve problems – and will often make the final product even better.

Keep Your Cool

It's easy for people to get frustrated and emotional in situations like this. No one's suggestiong you express no feeling at all, but don't allow yourself to be ruled by your frustration, and don't get so angry that you start shouting at or insulting your bandmates. It will only make things worse, and may even result in dissolution (as many a band has sorrowfully discovered). If you need to take a step back, excuse yourself from the discussion until you're calm enough to approach it without anger.

Make Your Own Way

If worst comes to worst and the creative differences cannot be resolved, it is perfectly okay for you to opt out of the project or band and either work solo or join another act that's more laid back. There will be points where you might be dealing with a band or ensemble leader who's simply on a power trip and insists on having everything one hundred percent their own way; or a bandmate who always seems eager for an argument no matter what you're doing. Determine if the situation overall is toxic or uncomfortable for you, and if the creative differences are a hallmark of that; if so, it's time to move on.

All musicians have different ideas about what best fits their vision, but by working calmly and efficiently in tandem with your fellow musicians, you'll almost always be able to come to a resolution that satisfies everyone.

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