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Church Sound: Evaluating Our Abilities And Starting Fresh In The New Year
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I’m not rally a big fan of New Year’s resolutions, primarily because when I make them they tend to last about 1 - 2 weeks. 

However I do like to take the opportunity at this time of year to re-evaluate, re-focus and re-energize what I’m doing in anticipation of the coming new year.

As I do this for 2013 and reflect upon over a quarter of a century of experience of doing live production in some fashion or another, I find a desire to return to the absolute basics. 

1. Just smile
No matter how frustrating, how intense or how upset I am at the time, just smile and walk away. 

Every time I don’t do this I end up regretting how I act and what I say in the heat of the moment.

If I smile, listen and then walk away, I have the opportunity and time to process the information and take some of the emotion out of the situation.

2. Admit my mistakes
Every time that something goes wrong and I try to pass the blame on to someone or something else I end up asking myself “why didn’t I just own up to it?” 

It can be difficult, because on one hand I want to be the leader, in charge, the one who makes thing happen. However, when things don’t go as planned, I don’t always want to be the leader and accept the responsibility. I want to blame someone or something.

In the end, it’s always best to admit our mistakes.

3. Build others up…all of the time
I have this habit of avoiding confrontation. 

In doing this, I will sometimes not mention to a person that I am bothered by what they have done. That alone isn’t good, but it’s even worse if I were to go around and complain to someone else about what the person did to bother me. 

I see this happen very often, and regrettably, have participated in it many times.

4. Improve my craft
Musicians rehearse, they practice at home and then with others they are playing within advance of a Sunday morning service. 

What do I do to practice at my craft?

I do participate in some rehearsals but they are usually sound checks for the sound team and a quick run thru for the band. 

One thing I can do is to get the music in advance, and actually listen to it, critically. I can listen and then plan and prepare as to how I can best reproduce what I’m hearing.

5. Further embrace digital
OK, I admit it, until fairly recently, I was a little intimidated by some of the digital consoles out there.

Part of the reason is that I had long used a premium analog console, so I didn’t have to mix on a ton of digital boards. I liked where I was and didn’t want to “embrace the change.”

Who would have thought that the kid of 25 years ago that fanatically embraced digital processing would have been intimidated by a little ol’ digital console?

Eventually, I came around—in part, and perhaps a bit ironically—because of a New Year’s resolution a couple of years ago. If you’re in the same boat, perhaps this is the year.

 
Gary Zandstra is a professional AV systems integrator with Parkway Electric and has been involved with sound at his church for more than 25 years.


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