The Four Reasons Every New Sound Tech Should Start On The Stage

The Four Reasons Every New Sound Tech Should Start On The Stage

If I gave you a choice between mixing and setting up the stage, I know which you’d pick.  However, it’s the work on the stage that gives you everything you need for mixing.

Recently, a discussion came up surrounding the best process for training volunteer sound techs.  Many people said they have techs start with stage set-up and eventually progress to mixing.  The idea seemed to be, “if you can handle setting up the stage then I’ll you can progress to mixing.”

Might I give a different point-of-view?

Everything you do, on the stage, drives your rate of success behind the mixer. …keep reading »

A Forecast of the Future of Church Audio

The future of church audio is not all pretty flowers and sunshine.  A student from the Indiana University School of Music asked me my thoughts on the future of church audio.  The more I dwelt on the topic, the more I saw that the future is not pretty.  Here is my view of the future, why the church is destined for that direction, and what you and I can do to change all that.

I want to start by traveling back in time, specifically to 1896.

Frank Humphreys, a clergyman in the 1890′s, wrote a book entitled “The Evolution of Church Music.”  The focus of the book was music, not audio production, however, the insight he provides at the time most definitely flows across into the view of modern day church audio production. …keep reading »

What to Teach Musicians

Imagine your musicians in a classroom.  Imagine the door is padlocked so they can't leave.  You are the instructor.  You can teach them anything you want about sound.  That's exactly what I'll be doing in two months and this is what I'll teach them.

First off, I'm not going to padlock the room.  Our musicians, for the most part, know that when I make recommendations to them on anything audio that it's because it will benefit the listeners – the congregation.  I'll be teaching a thirty-minute session during a worship workshop and my goal is simple; teach the musicians specific skills that will improve their sound. …keep reading »

Buyers Guide for Volunteer-Friendly Consoles

Reading the newest fohonline.com e-magazine this morning, I happened on a buyers guide for "Volunteer-Friendly Consoles."  Skimming over the prices, my immediate thought was YOU'VE GOT TO BE FREAKING KIDDING!"

First off, prop's to Bill Evans for starting the audio mixers buyers guide by saying "we asked console makers to give us specs on consoles they think fit the bill and then make the case for volunteer friendliness."  These companies responded by detailing mixers pricing from $1,499 up to $63,999.  A point could be made that the companies are trying to promote their products in the buyers guide.  I get that.  But let me take this as an opportunity to ask "the church" what a wise use of God’s money is when it comes to volunteers. …keep reading »

Building Relationships – Just as Important as Training

The longer this site is around, the more emails I’m getting from churches who want to implement a training program for their a/v teams.  I always respond with links to training companies, books, and videos.  However, I’m finding myself talking even more about teamwork.  The more I read other church tech blogs and forums, the more I realize that teamwork isn’t something we can take for granted.

I hear from plenty of people who say the techs and the band have a great relationship…but there are significant numbers of folks who don’t have a positive relationship.

One of the best ways to build synergy and confidence with your a/v team and the worship bands is to explain to the worship bands that the sound tech is part of the team.  The mixing board is a musical instrument.  When the band can give the sound tech the best sound possible then the tech can produce the best sound possible to come out of the loudspeakers. 

During a recent meeting between me, my pastor, and our worship coordinator, we talked about how the worship teams and sound/video teams could work better together.  Right now, it’s pretty good but it could be better.  Our issues surround practice times and expectations on both sides about what the other should provide – primarily around the video side.  We have drafted an email template that will go out to the sound/video person who is working each upcoming Sunday.  It will list the practice times, the song lists, the worship team members (they have varied a lot recently), and any special needs such as extra instruments. …keep reading »

Why You Need To Train A Replacement

This was originally posted in my newsletter. 

Holding the position of technical director (or "head sound guy/gal") means you are tasked with leading your crew so they can create the best atmosphere for worship.  This means you lead by example, you lead by training, and you tend your flock. Tending can equal preventing burn-out, rewarding, and calling them to task.  But there is something else you should do as a leader that is equally important as all of those tasks.  You should bring up a protégé.

One day, you will want to leave your position of leadership.  One day, you might want to take a sabbatical from being the one in charge.  One day, you might find yourself out-of-commission for an extended period of time.  One day, someone will need to take your place. …keep reading »

Time To Get Honest: The Musicians Point of View

I’ve been talking with some worship guitarists recently and asked them questions as it relates to the sound tech / worship team relationship.  Below, I’ve listed each question and some responses.  I’ve edited them only to shorten their length.  I’m not really sure if I need to expound on what they are saying.  Read their responses and apply to your situation.  We are all on a team.  That team is the sound crew plus the worship band.  Your team might be thrilled with you.  They might have a few issues they’d like to raise but are afraid of doing so.  Consider the below opinions as food for thought. …keep reading »

Dealing with Criticism: A Lesson for the New Guy

I’ve heard my share of criticisms on the quality of the church audio.  Years ago when we ran a sub-par system, criticism was common.  Feedback in the system was common and the production quality just wasn’t what it could have been.  Ah, the good old days.

Now, it’s rare that I hear criticism either for my work or another sound tech’s work.  Most of my sound tech’s know how to handle criticism anyway, so it’s not an issue.

Soon, I will be adding one or two new guys to the sound team.  Both have experience running sound; one in a church and one at the high school.  Oh, and both are high school boys.  I know I can help them with the science of running live sound.  However, it’s that first time they get criticism that concerns me. …keep reading »