The hardest part of running sound, for me, isn’t anything technical at all. It’s listening and watching what happens at the front of the church as it relates to the worship bands. While the congregation is listening to "the band" as they sing along, I’m listening to each musician and mixing their sound. When they mess up, it’s easy for me to see it or hear it.
I’m ok with minor mistakes. I’m a guitarist and I’ve made a few bad chord changes and missed chords as well. But what do I do when I see and hear one guitarist who is hesitantly playing, playing wrong chords, and playing out of time with the other guitarist (this team has two rhythm players)?
I turn his volume down, that’s ok for the songs where he’s totally off. Most of you would do the same.
When I look back at a recent service, I see a few things with this guitarist.
1. He can play rhythm well as he’s done so in the past.
2. Watching him, I saw he didn’t know the chord changes well and relied heavily on his lead sheet. I’ll call this "musical uncertainty."
3. He couldn’t sync with the other guitarist.
But before I go blaming him totally, I look at what I could do to help for the next time. Typically, these guitarists are situated at opposite ends of the singers. The next time, I’ll place them next to each other. While they do use spot monitors, I might encourage the one guitarist to use IEM’s. These changes can help with the timing.
In this situation, I think it’s best I have a talk with that band’s leader. It seemed like it was an issue of just not knowing the songs. I’ll explain what I saw and heard. I’ll also give a few suggestions as it relates to practices, stage positions, and monitor set-ups. I have to leave it up to the leader to decide what to do. And here’s the hard part; whatever decision he makes, I have to respect that.
Truth be told, I don’t know if he ever follows up with his team about a past performance.
The worship leader controls what happens ON the stage. I control what comes out FROM the stage. It’s just too easy to think myself above everyone else. A judge presides "over" their court. The judge is seated above the people. I’m seated above the stage. May I be reminded that I’m not there to past judgment.