The musicians are your front line for getting things done. Following up on this week’s guest post by my pastor, I’d like to talk about teamwork, specifically work after the service.
For those of us who have service in a multipurpose room or have a portable church, every Sunday consists of setting up the stage in the morning and putting everything away after the last service ends. Working as the only sound tech, this can take significant amount of time. And, you might have family waiting for you. Let’s change all that.
You are on a team. Team members include other tech crew folks, the musicians, and, as my pastor pointed out in that article, the pastor. While a “teamwork mentality” is good, it’s time to put other team members to work.
You can have the stage cleared in a fraction of the time when the musicians help with the tear-down process. I used to have the musicians disappear from the stage after the service. Finally, I asked, “before you leave, can you please help me put everything away so my family isn’t waiting for me?” Yes, I had a couple of them who thought it wasn’t their job but, in short order, other musicians were giving them a hard time about their attitude. Problem solved.
Enlisting the musicians
Successfully enlisting the musicians requires you to;
- Explain the reason for the aid. Stress teamwork and stress family.
- Train them how to do it. How to wrap a cable, how to unplug a microphone, etc.
- Lay out an order. Many hands make light work as long as they are doing the work in the right order.
Keeping those points in mind, let’s look at the order in which they should clear the stage and where they might need a bit of training. Or, as I like to think of it…
The seven steps to clearing the stage
#1. The musicians should put away all of their instruments.
You don’t want instruments to get damaged so set this as the first step in the process. This will also give you more relaxed musicians as they’ll know their gear is safe.
#2. Clear the sheet music.
A band that uses music stands and sheet music can have a lot of paper on the stage at the end of the service. Therefore, either have one person clean up all the sheet music or have each musician put away their own.
#3. Put away music stands.
I think of each musician having their own station. Mic’s, music, stands, all are their responsibility. By clearing out music stands, it’s easier to gather up cables without getting them tangled in extra stage gear.
#4. Put away microphones.
Train the musicians in how to unplug a microphone from the cable. Train them in how to properly handle sensitive microphones and where they need to go after the service. For example, have them put their microphone back in the proper place and in the proper location.
#5. Wrap the cables & put away DI boxes.
A five-minute lesson in cable wrapping is all it takes. Then, show them where each cable goes. You can even discuss the difference in microphone vs instrument cables if you want. Make sure you show them how to unplug the cables from any equipment wherein the equipment plug has a release tab.
#6. Away with the microphone stands.
Show them how to loosen the fittings when they put the stands away so they don’t accidentally bend those boom stands.
#7. Put up the monitors.
You can train them or do this yourself. In the case of powered monitors, make sure they know to turn them off before they unplug any cables.
One more teamwork benefit
Each musician will become familiar with all this gear. In time, they can help you set up the stage. I know the rule is the stage should be set up before the musicians arrive. However, I’ve found that when they are early, they are quick to help set up the equipment.