Rejecting someone...

Posted by: fnork

Rejecting someone... - 11/13/12 03:18 PM

While the title of this thread could have numerous meanings, I would like to focus on how we deal with rejecting a musician - say, a chamber music partner or a singer - that we do not wish to continue working with. I am hardly the only one here to have been rejected at some point, am I? And I am hardly the only one who has felt the need to reject another musician that I for one reason or another could not continue working with, right? The question is, then, how do we deal with these things? Is your own approach normally to be diplomatic, using white lies? Do you approach the musician in question more directly and explain why you don't want to work further?
Posted by: Nikolas

Re: Rejecting someone... - 11/13/12 03:49 PM

There have been a number of reasons that I've rejected someone, and there's a couple of reasons why I never took part in an actual band, but only duos or trios:

1. I don't like people who are not professionals in their life. I don't care for someone who doesn't have tons of talent, or experience, but if someone is standing me up constantly, or ditching on set gigs, or other.

2. I also don't like people who are hitting on me and I really don't like it. However weird it may seem, it's happened to me more than once and I broke up the communication and collaboration immediately. I'm a married man and I have my rules and ethics that I follow. Anyone not willing to respect that... won't be my partner my partner in music!

3. If they are not good enough at what I want them to do. I'm at a very specific place that only goes 'up'. If someone is holding me back, for whatever reason I'm not forgiving at the least. This goes for partners, collaborators and workers alike.

__________________

I think that it's obvious that I have a strong personality and a strong will as well as the soul of a composer. All this means that I would never be able to get along another 3-4 members of the same band, in order to create something. I can create all alone, I don't need another 3-4 people to make it happen.

which is a problem of my own, and one should also note that exactly because of that, I've never been a member of a band, for more than a week...
Posted by: JoelW

Re: Rejecting someone... - 11/13/12 03:56 PM

I think OP was asking more about how to break it off with a partner.
Posted by: Ian_G

Re: Rejecting someone... - 11/13/12 03:59 PM

I don't know, Nikolas, your 2nd complaint sounds pretty awesome. (Why in the world would I otherwise learn a flute sonata?)

Anyway, OP, be direct. Tell them exactly why you'd prefer not to play with them, if the reason is a musical one.
Posted by: boo1234

Re: Rejecting someone... - 11/13/12 07:49 PM

I am of the school of thought that says you should gradually stop contact with someone you wish to cut out. After a while when you stop calling, they get the picture.
Posted by: BruceD

Re: Rejecting someone... - 11/13/12 07:55 PM

Originally Posted By: boo1234
I am of the school of thought that says you should gradually stop contact with someone you wish to cut out. After a while when you stop calling, they get the picture.


All very well, but if that "someone" is someone whom you wish not to work with, and that someone calls to ask you to work on repertoire with him/her, the question remains : Do you bluntly say you don't wish to work with that person or do you invent an excuse that is a little less blunt?

In the second instance, one must be careful that the excuse doesn't suggest unavailability for this one particular moment. How do you tactfully and politely discourage someone with whom you don't want to work that there is no chance of future collaboration?

Regards,
Posted by: debrucey

Re: Rejecting someone... - 11/13/12 08:19 PM

Have an affair with their life partner. They're unlikely to want to be involved with you after that.
Posted by: Dave Horne

Re: Rejecting someone... - 11/13/12 08:43 PM

... make it look like an accident.
Posted by: Damon

Re: Rejecting someone... - 11/13/12 08:50 PM

Just say "I break with thee, I break with thee, I break with thee" then throw dog poop on their shoes.
Posted by: argerichfan

Re: Rejecting someone... - 11/13/12 08:58 PM

Originally Posted By: debrucey
Have an affair with their life partner. They're unlikely to want to be involved with you after that.

laugh
Posted by: argerichfan

Re: Rejecting someone... - 11/13/12 09:06 PM

Originally Posted By: BruceD
How do you tactfully and politely discourage someone with whom you don't want to work that there is no chance of future collaboration?

Interestingly, this is how I ended up learning the piano part of the Brahms Horn Trio. (And I had about two months notice.)

To this day I don't know the details, but the violin and horn players mutually decided to dump their pianist and then called me. I don't think there was anything tactful or polite involved. They just got sick of working with the pianist.
Posted by: currawong

Re: Rejecting someone... - 11/13/12 09:19 PM

I tend to use the true-but-not-quite-to-the-point excuse first of all, such as "I'm too busy", "I'm not available", "I need a break", "it's not the sort of repertoire I'm interested in at the moment". If someone keeps at it I give a more pointed reply. I told someone last year that I could no longer do the gig because I didn't think it could come together in time (code for "you just aren't up to it and I don't want to be associated with it"), and when he was persistent I simply said no, I couldn't do it, and kept saying it. I don't tend to go into details about their failings unless I'm asked, and sometimes not then either.
Posted by: argerichfan

Re: Rejecting someone... - 11/13/12 09:28 PM

Originally Posted By: currawong
I don't tend to go into details about their failings unless I'm asked, and sometimes not then either.

Yeah, sometimes it's a bit difficult to tell the truth: you're just too much of a prima donna.

Happened with a tenor I worked with some years back. I was glad to be free of that one...
Posted by: JessicaB

Re: Rejecting someone... - 11/13/12 10:59 PM

Be diplomatic. Say something like:

While I have enjoyed working with you, I don't believe at this time our artistic vision (style, ethic) is the same. I think for now at least, I would rather work with someone who is more in sync with my style. What can they say? It is purely objective - and you haven't really burned a bridge in the event that they get their act together.

Good luck.
Posted by: gooddog

Re: Rejecting someone... - 11/13/12 11:42 PM

Originally Posted By: JessicaB
Be diplomatic. Say something like:

While I have enjoyed working with you, I don't believe at this time our artistic vision (style, ethic) is the same. I think for now at least, I would rather work with someone who is more in sync with my style. What can they say? It is purely objective - and you haven't really burned a bridge in the event that they get their act together.

Good luck.
thumb I think this direct, and tactful approach is the best. Give a few complements, give a neutral reason for the break and then leave no room for argument.

When I broke off lessons with a horrible teacher I could have said, "You are an awful, manipulative, sadistic person; I can't stand you, you lied to me over and over again and you have ruined my love of music", etc., but instead I said, "I want to thank you for all the lessons and your good advice but I feel our goals are just too different. I want to go in another direction so I think this should be my last lesson." It was polite but left no room for argument and as Jessica said, I didn't burn any bridges.
Posted by: Derulux

Re: Rejecting someone... - 11/14/12 12:51 AM

Originally Posted By: debrucey
Have an affair with their life partner. They're unlikely to want to be involved with you after that.

I was going to say, be professional and courteous to them and tell them straight up (but nicely) that you would like to take a different direction with your career. But this sounds like so much more fun.. haha laugh



On a serious note.. I wouldn't completely close the door/burn the bridge by saying you never want to collaborate again. You never know what might happen in ten or twenty years. Bill Clinton always said, "Never tell anyone to go to heck unless you can actually make them go." I think it's sage advice.
Posted by: GeorgeB

Re: Rejecting someone... - 11/14/12 12:54 AM

Originally Posted By: debrucey
Have an affair with their life partner. They're unlikely to want to be involved with you after that.


Is that what you do Bruce boy?
Posted by: -Frycek

Re: Rejecting someone... - 11/14/12 04:08 AM

Tell him you've decided to enter a monastery. Or the witness protection program.
Posted by: JoelW

Re: Rejecting someone... - 11/14/12 05:54 AM

Originally Posted By: GeorgeB
Originally Posted By: debrucey
Have an affair with their life partner. They're unlikely to want to be involved with you after that.


Is that what you do Bruce boy?


That's how he do.
Posted by: bennevis

Re: Rejecting someone... - 11/14/12 06:09 AM

Why not take a leaf out of pop groups who break up (not that I know much - or care to know much - about them grin) and cite 'artistic differences' as a reason to break up? It could even be true (unlike with said pop groups), even if the truer reason might be that he's an ****hole ....
Posted by: Keith D Kerman

Re: Rejecting someone... - 11/14/12 09:30 AM

"It's not you, it's me"

Do it sooner rather than later. The longer you wait, the more time wasted, the more invested everyone becomes, and the harder it will be.

How would you want to be told? If you are serious, you probably want to know specifically why. This is not owed, and has a high probability of creating a very uncomfortable situation as most people will become extremely hurt and defensive. I guess it really depends on your relationship with the person up to that point.

Make sure whatever you do, be professional and polite, but direct. Don't say anything more than you need to say. I think there have been some good suggestions already in this thread.

What are the actual reasons here?
Posted by: rocket88

Re: Rejecting someone... - 11/14/12 12:19 PM

Originally Posted By: bennevis
Why not take a leaf out of pop groups who break up (not that I know much - or care to know much - about them grin) and cite 'artistic differences' as a reason to break up?


That won't work if the person is basically on the same page as you artistically, but you don't want to work together because he/she is a jerk, or can't play as well as you want, or some other reason that is unrelated to artistic vision.

Also, if you cite artistic differences, the person can always respond with "I can learn what it is you want", and then you are stuck.

In the past, I have said "I have chosen someone else to ____________this time, maybe next time we can work together if there is a next time", which there won't be.
Posted by: Bobpickle

Re: Rejecting someone... - 11/15/12 03:04 AM

Originally Posted By: rocket88
Originally Posted By: bennevis
Why not take a leaf out of pop groups who break up (not that I know much - or care to know much - about them grin) and cite 'artistic differences' as a reason to break up?


That won't work if the person is basically on the same page as you artistically, but you don't want to work together because he/she is a jerk, or can't play as well as you want, or some other reason that is unrelated to artistic vision.

Also, if you cite artistic differences, the person can always respond with "I can learn what it is you want", and then you are stuck.

In the past, I have said "I have chosen someone else to ____________this time, maybe next time we can work together if there is a next time", which there won't be.


I listen regularly to a popular former radio host who just discussed this topic in-depth recently and basically explained that when breaking off relationships, reasons generally need not (and should not) be provided as they're not only never satisfying, but more often than not, they leave room for debate when that obviously isn't what you want.
Posted by: JoelW

Re: Rejecting someone... - 11/15/12 05:50 AM

Originally Posted By: Bobpickle


I listen regularly to a popular former radio host who just discussed this topic in-depth recently and basically explained that when breaking off relationships, reasons generally need not (and should not) be provided as they're not only never satisfying, but more often than not, they leave room for debate when that obviously isn't what you want.