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Church Sound: Dealing With An Evolving Congregation

What you gave them yesterday will not be the same thing you give them tomorrow

By Chris Huff July 9, 2012

This article is provided by Behind The Mixer.

 

What would you do if more and more people started complaining about the volume? 

Would you consider it a congregational movement to kick you out of the sound booth? 

Would you take it personally? 

Would you consider it might be a result of an evolving congregation?

Reading through my email this week, I found a letter from a congregation member regarding the sound level at their church. 

Quite surprised that it was from a person IN THE PEWS and NOT IN THE BOOTH, I carefully asked questions in an attempt to determine why this person thought the sound was too loud. In fact, wrote that a number of people were complaining about the volume level.

That’s when I read these words…”demographics of church are mostly 18-25 year olds…the worship time is now a family worship time (changed this year) with children.”

It wasn’t a problem with where the person was sitting. It wasn’t a problem with a hot spot in the room. The problem was a dynamic shift in the age demographic in which the mix hadn’t been adjusted accordingly.

The Typical Shift

The above situation isn’t typical.  You don’t usually see such a direction in the dynamic shift.  What’s more likely is an older congregation that’s starting to see a growth in the number of younger members.

But shifts aren’t always about age. Sometimes, it’s about the style of music. For instance, a shift from traditional music to contemporary music.

What Was The Congregation?

In order to successfully alter your mixing style to deal with an evolving congregation, you have to first look at the history of the existing congregation. 

Considering their history, answer the following:

—What type of music was standard for worship?
 
—What did the congregation expect from you?

—How did you typically configure your mix to match their needs?

—What did they NOT like? (i.e., no thumping bass or excessive audio effects)


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About Chris

Chris Huff
Chris Huff

Writer/Teacher/Author, BehindTheMixer.com
 
Chris Huff is a long-time practitioner of church sound and writes at Behind The Mixer, covering topics ranging from audio fundamentals to dealing with musicians – and everything in between.

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