Stuck in band conflict?

Since posting my most recent blog, I have received valuable feedback some of which I would like to include here.  I thank David Knight at for taking the time to respond.

David wrote that he experienced the dissolution of his band because of the members’ inability to manage and resolve conflict.  “Much of the anger comes from past experiences with other people in our personal and private lives. That’s what’s really in battle during conflicts, past experiences and everyone’s ego. That’s the reason why it’s so important to establish a time when anger is diminished and people are in better control of their feelings.”  I appreciate the strong connection he makes between past experience and the present moment.

When you and your fellow musicians can establish a later time to engage in discussion, you can consider and observe together how these dynamics are in play.  This kind of reflection as a band will make it easier to mediate tension in future rehearsals.  It will help you to understand and appreciate each other in new ways.  And, musically/artistically, you will be able to take your creativity and collaboration to new levels.

One of the ways I help musicians and bands is to facilitate these kinds of discussions.  It can be very helpful to have someone outside of the band lead the way.

One last thought:  I would love to hear from anyone reading this!  Please tell me your experience with band conflict and how you’ve thought about it.  If you prefer not to post a response on this blog, you can send me an email at my website:

I look forward to hearing from you!


One Response to Stuck in band conflict?

  1. Thomas says:

    My name is Tom. I’m currently in a cover band that is very close to a sizable set list to enable playing out. We have played out one time as an opening act, and it was a lot of fun. There were some things we didn’t like about it, but none of that was from within our own band. That was 3 months ago. Now, we have a gig to play at a relatives 50th birthday party. We have been preparing and then all of a sudden there is a ton of tension.

    Our keyboard player came into practice talking about how he is applying for a job that may get in the way of playing. The next week our drummer approached the subject, but was a bit abrasive. He came into practice and stated that we are now going to have others practice singing the songs the keyboard player usually sings. His intent to that comment was to prepare incase the keyboard player’s applied job comes to fruition. This didn’t go over well with the keyboard player and now it has caused conflict with our lead singer. This week has been a nightmare. So, now our lead singer stated that she quits, as well as our bass player. These people were not even involved in the comment. However, they didn’t like the situation or the approach.

    I’ve read your article on band conflict resolution and will take some lesson from that, but at this point our drummer is stating that he will play as long as the keyboard player is not. Nobody else has a problem with the keyboard player but the drummer. I don’t think anyone should be “kicked out.” I’m just not sure that a “sit down” meeting will resolve the tension. My questions about the situation are: If we come to somewhat of a resolution and decide to keep playing, will there be an underlying tension between the drummer and keyboard player? Will getting back together spark further complaints about this or that sounding a bit off? These are rhetorical at this point.

    If anyone is considered the “leader” in this band, it would be me, but I have kept all of the decisions as a band to a democracy. To me this isn’t my band, it is our band. I’m feeling like I need to step up as a leader to bring this back, but I am not a leader of these people. They make their own choices and have their own lives outside of the band.

    Now I’m trying to keep this together at least until the party on June 11th. I have asked for a meeting, but not sure if this will work. All of this happened very fast and because we didn’t have “rules” in place beforehand, I’m not sure we can get it to work out.

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