The end of 2018 is here and that means it’s time to reflect on our successes, yours included, and look to 2019. You can listen to the podcast and hear Brian and I talk about these successes, read some of your successes on the air, and talk about our plans for 2019 and 2020. Or, read below for the highlights.
What is Church Audio Success?
Is success defined by a flawless service? Is it defined as surviving a last minute request? Is it watching someone in the congregation walk forward to give their life to God, when you happen to be running audio? There is no wrong answer. To me, it’s important we recognize some form of success as a motivator in a job where we receive very little recognition.
By the way, this photo was from a FILO conference a year ago and we heard Paul Baloche speak and he covered the importance of what we do in the tech production field. Seemed fitting to use it today.
As the person behind the business of BehindTheMixer.com, I look at success as how many people I’ve been able to help. But I’m not just talking the the number of people, I’m talking about the individual success stories. Your successes are my successes.
For me, for 2018, a memorable success was when Richard James and Chris Cary came to hang with me while I mixed one weekend. On the facebook group, I threw out an open invitation to come hang with me at church during a weekend when I’m mixing. I figured I’d get people from my area of central Indiana. Instead, I was blown away as the first two people to reply were Chris, from Michigan, and Richard from California.
They came out the same weekend and we had an awesome time. At one point we joked about getting matching behind the mixer tattoos. A few weeks later, Richard posted up a photo in the facebook group of his wrist…with a behind the mixer logo tattoo! I don’t know your view of tattoos but to me, that was really freakin’ cool.
Anytime I can help people be a better audio artist is a success in my book but this year, their trip out was definitely the highlight.
If you want to know Brian’s successes, check out the podcast.
In the podcast, Brian and I get into details about the successes we’ve see in the Behind the Mixer Private Facebook group. Let me say, at least here in this post, that we are so proud of 99.99% of the members in the group who are respectful, helpful, generous, and just all around amazing.
We see new people come into the group all the time and often ask the same questions and instead of members saying something rude like, “search for it, this has been asked before,” they reply kindly and offer assistance. And the knowledge level of so many people is amazing – you might say it’s where many of the seasoned techs are now going so they can help others.
And then there are the successes of everyone who has signed up with Behind the Mixer for the free stuff, the newsletter, and/or purchased a guide. Ya’ll have shown a dedication to growing in your craft.
The emails we get from you, sending thanks to us for helping, have been a huge encouragement. Looking back at the emails and testimonials, I’d have to say there was a common theme; “Thanks to you, I now have the confidence to be behind the mixer.”
What You Told Us
A week or so back, I sent our a survey asking for your success stories of 2018. WOW! Brian and I were so happy reading them. I learned a lot from all of them and in a few cases, I plan on following up with people to possibly be interviewed on the podcast.
I want to share them ALL with you but, to be honest, that would make for the longest post ever. Therefore, I’ve gone through and selected some highlights from the list, and edited a few for brevity. Before reading these, if you sent me your success story but don’t see it listed, don’t take it personal. :)
And awayayayayay we go…
“There was a huge pre-Christmas event with a choir, children’s choir, orchestra and a band. After a long time of setup/setdown, mic placement test, lengthy GEQ engineering, finally, all went smoothly, the whole evening was a huge success and great worship to our Lord who blessed us.”
“After many (frustrating) years of dealing with old equipment and even having to borrow equipment from other people due to budget constraints, we just bought a whole new system, and that includes new projects and lights. Full AVL! Your EYCA guide was key during this process. I’m also loving the challenge of moving from analog to digital.”
“My biggest success is technically not from this year, but I only found out about it this year. One of the youths I started teaching 5 years ago has gone on and studied sound engineering at a vocational college and now has a full time job as a live sound engineer in one of the bigger companies in the Netherlands. I have always considered myself as a hobbyist and a tinkerer who barely knows what he is doing. But to have inspired someone has inspired me to take the work more seriously.”
Wiger van den Toren
“A huge improvement for our sound reinforcement team! Speaking of the team, I have replaced myself as the main mixer with one fully capable and another 90% capable mixer. I regularly send them your monthly newsletters highlighting something you covered. You are very helpful to our sound reinforcement team!”
“I learned to improve my mixing skills and in the process I made a new friend.”
“My biggest production success of 2018 was a wedding service with a band which the brother of the groom (a professional sound engineer) trusted me to do as a sound engineer. I got compliments of the professional sound engineer afterwards.”
Gert-Jan van den Dongen
“I learned so much from my time spent in Indiana with Chris Huff and Chris Cary this past April. My biggest production success of 2018 was adjusting EQ on our rhythm guitar. Prior to my trip to Indiana I was struggling with getting the rhythm guitar heard in the mix. Chris Huff helped me with that and I promptly implemented those changes when I returned to California. And it made a world of difference!”
Richard W. James, Sr.
“Over the last 12 months I spearheaded a sound transition at my church from average to awesome.”
Pete S. (Pete had a ton of other great stuff that I’ll highlight in the future)
“New FOH Digico SD5 and broadcast SD10 installed this year. I took on the role of primary (volunteer amateur) broadcast engineer and learned to use this new equipment with Waves plugins. I learned useful tricks from your blogs and articles which I applied to finetune my settings. Did our weeklong Christmas program audio broadcast for the first time this year.”
Dirk van Rossum
“For our youth conference we added in some floor subsl. We previously had (and still have) flown subs run off the main L/R/M FOH System. The effect was phenomenal. It has made such an improvement to the room that we are going to add some in permanently. One of the pastors who acknowledges that he doesn’t have an ear for music, said that he could really tell the difference, and there has been a really positive response from the congregation.”
“The biggest success we have had this year is finding your information and putting real effort into learning to understand our sound system.”
Dave Collins ( Australia)
“We successfully transitioned to a mobile operation so we can meet in an elementary school during the construction of our new building. Fortunately our setup is simple since we’re a small church. We started with a small mixer, a snake, a few mics, one amp and two speakers, and added a compressor after we got mobile. We have learned a lot, brought a couple of new people onto the team, and most importantly have grown closer in fellowship through the common work.”
“For the first year ever, we had someone dedicated to audio visual. Before we had only a roster of people who had any knowledge on the beast at all, and that list was rapidly declining with young people moving away for uni amongst other reasons. This year I was made the head of the department so that we could start getting some order out of the chaos.
We have gone from a church with hardly any knowledge of sound to now having a system of training that works so well the whole church is learning bit by bit. We had no one aside from myself who was able to problem solve, to now there is three of us.”
Tim Hayden of Southern Lights Church Swan Hill
“The Wedding. The people were not members of our congregation and I had no idea who they were, who was doing the ceremony, or anything else. Rehearsal night was a disaster. No order of service other than some handwritten notes and a promise I would have a legible version tomorrow. The officiant did not show up for rehearsal. Song selections were on 2 different CD’s and the special solo track was on an iPhone that looked like it might have been hit by a freight train.
The service didn’t begin until 4:10 even though it was scheduled for 3:00. Things went well as far as the pre-wedding music up to the point where the preacher SHOULD HAVE picked up the mic. He never touched it. It was laying right at his feet. I got almost nothing from that so I cued up the choir mics and the audience mic but neither of those options helped much so the service proceeded with nothing.
It made me realize that most people have no idea what sound people need to do their job. This forced me (and the church) to develop a set of guidelines outlining what the sound/video team wants and needs for a wedding, funeral, or other event. We listed what we want, acceptable music formats, and most importantly WHEN we want this information. Hint: It’s not an hour before the event. This guide is then given to anyone scheduling an event requiring sound or video. You live and learn.”
Bill Nace – United Methodist Church
“After 15 years of renting spaces in various public schools, God finally lead us to a place where our church could purchase a building of our own. We no longer have to set up and tear down on a weekly basis and can start upgrading equipment. Even though we’ve been in a setup/tear down situation we have been blessed. We have a great band and can piece together almost three full sound systems!”
The Last Success Story
Brian and I both loved this one. We also understand why the person chose to remain anonymous. We think it’s a great story of success and one in which many people just might be able to relate.
“I started out the year with no confidence in my ability. I felt like I would never be as good as the guy who trained me, and he had moved away so I couldn’t even ask him for help, I was on my own. On top of that, I felt that the band, who never said anything nasty to me, were just being polite and I thought that they thought I was terrible at my job. And with this mindset I was pretty terrible at audio.
Then one day I realized that doing audio is one of the ways of serving the Lord, just like the band is serving Him by leading worship, I am serving Him by doing the audio. Also I’m serving the band, I’m serving the pastor and the congregation, and I realized that I owe it to them all to do my best. My best may never be as good as the guy who was before me but I must still give my best.
Once I started giving my best and researching things I didn’t understand or didn’t know how to do, my mixing totally changed and improved drastically, even the band leader said to me after band practice one day, ‘what happened to you? Something has changed!’
Now I enjoy mixing and I do it from a grateful heart and with confidence, knowing that the Lord put me here and He has anointed me to do it, and I do it to the best that I can.”
Looking to the Future (And a Hard Truth)
Now I’d like to take a look toward 2019 and talk about where I see success coming.
First of all, your success comes from you. That is to say your success will largely be determined by the amount of energy you spend to become better at your craft. This time next year, you’ll see more success, grow more confident, and possibly do things you’ve never thought possible.
As for myself, Brian, and BehindTheMixer.com, we have several things planned to help you reach new levels. One of these is in the works and is the logical next level step for many of you. It will give you the skills and tools to….ummm…well, you’ll find out soon enough. :)
We’re also planning something for 2020 that has us super stoked. It has us doing a lot of work and it’s going to benefit people of all skill levels.
Let me be Honest
Which brings me to a time to be completely honest with everyone. I haven’t supported you as much as I have wanted. Looking back at everything I’ve done in 2018, a lot was good, but there are some areas I’m addressing in 2019 and that’s two things; consistency and clarity.
As for consistency, more great content on a consistent basis and faster responses to your emails. Behind the Mixer has become such a source for support, it’s been hard to keep up…but that’s changing.
As for clarity, that’s about myself and the podcast. Looking back, there are episodes where I let us get sidetracked for too long – often with my own tangents, or I found I could have done a better job explaining some technical topics. Those things are changing.
I do have some great podcasts planned for next year and a ton of people will be interviewed. Those people include industry experts, peers, and others who can bring a new perspective on what we do, how we do it, and even why we do it.
To you, I say thank you for using your skills at church to support everyone on stage and to help every single person in the sanctuary have a better experience. God’s given you skills and a desire to work in the most unique ministry around. Thanks for stepping up.
P.S. If you’ve been around here for a while and have benefited from the articles but have never picked up a guide, I encourage you to do so. They were designed to help you succeed and become a better church audio artist. Check our two biggest guides below:
“[Audio Essentials for Church Sound] is written so that a first time volunteer can understand, yet provides the details and additional information a seasoned professional needs and can learn from…This is an excellent resource, thanks for all your time and commitment to the professional and volunteer church audio tech.”
“Our church has moved out of its own (small) building to better facilitate Sunday ministries in a school hall. Taking the advice from Chris on equipment purchases, I’ve been able to make that move as painless as possible – making the transition to digital mixing without a mental break down!”