Personality types
  • I am wondering if people here ever think about their personality types in relation to their field of work or study. We are all essentially musicians here, even if we aren't professional or trained. Some of us work in the churches, some of us provide our talent for the liturgy while holding another career. Personally, I've always been struck by the fact that my personality type (phlegmatic temperament, ISTJ) is never seen to be an artistic type, yet I've been drawn to music from an early age. Is there something in the nature of sacred music (and film music, in my case) that attracts people of a more technical, logical bent?

    Do any of you share my feeling of being the odd man or woman out among musicians? Or even of being the ringmaster for musical types?
  • Liam
    Posts: 5,001
    Well, mathematics professors and students often can be found in university musical groups; in my mind, music has long attracted mathematically-inclined personalities, who are also quite creative and imaginative. This goes back to the Greeks, after all.

    That said, sacred music seems to attract more introverts than extroverts (people whose energy sourcing is more internal vs external; not talking about shyness here). I also don't find it surprising when I encounter autism-spectrum pattern behaviors among sacred musicians. Both things can make it difficult for sacred musicians to sustain the people-work that is a necessary dimension of the vocation (though introversion can (perhap counterintuitively to some) help with emotional intelligence and observation of others).
    Thanked by 1EMH
  • TCJ
    Posts: 977
    I am another phlegmatic temperament musician so you're certainly not alone, although I think I do differ on the Myers-Briggs test. A lot of people have mentioned to me (and I also have noticed) that quite a few musicians seem to be quirky people that are sometimes hard to get along with OR just difficult to understand. I guess that might go with a certain personality type but I've never looked further into it. That also just might common perception.
  • ClergetKubiszClergetKubisz
    Posts: 1,912
    I'm INTJ for what it's worth. I've thought about how that relates to my chosen career, specifically as a teacher and musician. The INTJ isn't a particularly sensitive or nurturing type, and has the tendency to be impatient with people that meddle in their affairs, or bosses who won't let them realize their vision (which happens FREQUENTLY). Most teachers are ES-somethings, as they would typically project a lot of energy that the students can latch onto, and also be very sensitive and very concerned about their every need. This works as far as elementary level teaching goes, and you start to see the more professor-like IN and IS when you get to the secondary and university levels. You have to be careful with making judgments based on MBTI, because it is just a personality preference type, not a complete, personal personality profile. It's based on your choices in given hypothetical situations. That being said, there are characteristics that can be identified for each given type and are more or less accurate across different people with those types. This information can be accessed in great quantity through the interwebs.

    Here's a useful link for this: http://www.personalitypage.com/INTJ_per.html
  • I am almost INTJ (but ISTJ more), depending on which test I take. (I don't spend hours on them...)

    According to the Temperament God Gave You, I am Phlegmatic (interestingly, my secondary is Sanguine; my wife is Sanguine-Choleric, so my secondary matches her primary, and her secondary and my primary clash - it explains a lot). As you said, CK, it is merely a prediction based on hypotheticals and generalizations, but as I think you allude to, it can start a conversation or thought-process on how you relate to your environments.

    As a person in a teaching and directing role, I have had to face up to the fact that those are not my ideal positions. Yet, they are the means by which I can improve the liturgy, and for that reason I need to apply my logic and reason (things I value) to the needs of the jobs, which involve communication and interaction (things I struggle with).

    Sacred music, while expressive, is a servant of the liturgy and the word, just as film music is servant to the film (my other preferred genre). That seems to me to make it more appealing to those personalities that prefer to follow systems and serve, even though it may require them to do the exact opposite (lead and create systems).

    This all makes me wonder if, to the extent that they are accurate, the personality types of those on the progressive end of the sacred music spectrum are the opposite of the personality types of those on the traditional end of the spectrum. A gross generalization, indeed, but it would explain much of the clashing that occurs. That in turn makes me ponder (but not question) the difference between our preferences and our perspectives on what the Church desires.
  • Liam
    Posts: 5,001
    From my experience having done lots of time across the sacred music spectrum, I would suggest that personality typologies are not an especially good predictor of sacred music or liturgical praxis preferences.
    Thanked by 2Adam Wood CHGiffen
  • I suppose the same as orthodoxy and liturgical praxis.
  • What factors do we think are reasons for the difference? I think of my sister's speculation about why I (somewhat alone in my family) am drawn to orthodoxy, namely that I thrive under rules. I don't buy it as a whole reason, but it does inspire thought.

    I think also of my impressions of the way various sacred music and Church conferences are run, too. Ours is an intellectual, practical style, with obvious opportunities for socialization. Yet, we don't focus on ... shall we say, "team-building." Perhaps related to our vertical view of the liturgy, we let that determine our horizontal community relations. Others have a more horizontal... hug-centric approach (I'm not satisfied with how dismissive that sounds, but I can't find a way to depict what I'm trying to say; perhaps someone else can better state what I'm trying to say).

    Are these wondering a valid, or even necessary?
  • Liam
    Posts: 5,001
    Non-traditionalist liturgists can be just as rules-driven (the rules are somewhat different, though there is often considerable overlap, but differently ordered/ranked), and not necessarily especially empathic or people-oriented. You just may be having a harder time imagining the rules-spaces involved.
    Thanked by 1MatthewRoth
  • Perhaps. I'm also thinking "out loud," which often results in people showing me a more temperate view. Richard J. Clark has a post at ccwatershed today that reminds me that knowing what is required is a matter of competence, not personality. I have just been wondering whether personality has anything to do with the way we interpret the requirements.
  • Liam
    Posts: 5,001
    Well, the most important "rule" governing folks across the spectrum is "The pastor signs my paycheck" and unless one is blessed with an employment contract (at least in the USA) the other is "I am an at-will employee".
  • I'm an ENTJ though I'm not sure whether to be excited about that type.

    Wow. I wrote a bunch more about the obstacle of getting the job done in the current culture with its very low level of music literacy. Then it was lost in the ether. Sigh.

    This job takes more patience and humility than any one type naturally possesses. So I thank God for grace.

    And yes, remember who signs the paychecks.
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • StimsonInRehabStimsonInRehab
    Posts: 1,923
    Does "dinosaur" count as a personality type?
  • ClergetKubiszClergetKubisz
    Posts: 1,912
    RAWR, TIM!
  • But what kind of dinosaur?
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 5,169
    But what kind of dinosaur?
    One with the TREX personality type, of course.
    Thanked by 1Spriggo
  • StimsonInRehabStimsonInRehab
    Posts: 1,923
    But what kind of dinosaur?


    Endangered . . . but not extinct.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UPatfgoNBRo