Why You Should Stop Avoiding Your Sound Booth!
Look, I get it. I really do. Some of you love making music but couldn’t care less about the technical ins and outs of a sound system. Words like Gain, Phantom Power, EQ, Gate, Compression or even Reverb make your eyes glaze over and roll. The mere sight of all those knobs and faders on the sound board is enough to give anyone a headache, right?!
I have to admit, I was in your shoes for many years. I love playing guitar. I love singing. I love leading a band and a church in song. But I would’ve just as soon “wrassled” a wild boar as tangled with feedback! Or any of that other sound tech stuff, for that matter.
But over the years I’ve come to recognize that I truly need to be engaged in the sound ministry of our church. And, even though it’s still not my comfort zone or my favorite thing in the world, I’ve tried to learn and grow in this area. There are several reasons for this change of heart. And those are also the reasons you should stop avoiding your church’s sound booth!
The Big Reason
Sound volunteers’ time is limited. I’m guessing that those of you serving in blue collar worship ministries like mine, are in the same boat I am: We can’t afford to pay a pro! I’m blessed to have a couple of great volunteers but they don’t live and breathe worship ministry. How could they with tough jobs and busy families and even other involvements within our church? This shortage of time creates several little reasons:
- Little Reason #1 What about mid-week practice? I don’t know about yours but my sound volunteers already have enough of their nights taken up with other things they’re plugged into. They don’t need another weekly commitment to add on their calendar. So I need to know enough to get the job done and solve some basic sound problems on Thursday nights.
- Little Reason #2 What if they move or quit or die or something? Don’t tell my guys that I’m being so morbid concerning their longevity! But really, what will you do when your resident expert can no longer serve? Who’s going to train up the next sound volunteer? Or will you have to take multiple steps back in excellence because you didn’t invest the time to learn?
- Little Reason #3 Sometimes big sound problems arise. Trust me, they do. Suddenly your old sound board starts weirding out and speakers blow and all the “sound demons” come out to play at once :) Then a lot of research needs doing and many quick decisions need to be made. Who’s going to make time for that? It may need to be you.
The Other Big Reason
Who cares more about the quality of your church’s worship ministry than you? NOBODY! That’s why you need to know at least a little about everything worship-related. It’s a part of the ministry God has called you to, whether it’s the part you like or the part you kinda wish could go away.
Oh, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t say anything about HOW to grow in this area. You could buy a book but sound tech books are crazy-boring!!! Sound Technology is one of those now-rare fields where knowledge is still primarily passed along relationally rather than by institutions or formal training. So I recommend starting with your volunteers. Ask them questions until you know as much as they do. Then there’s a good chance you may want to look for a sound guru who could pour some knowledge into both you and your volunteers.
How about you? Do you love it or hate it? How have you learned what you know about sound?