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Church Sound: Audio Techs As Musicians?

Every tech who runs the sound board is a musician, whether they realize it or not...

By Brian Gowing February 21, 2014

This article is provided by Gowing Associates.

When I’m training technical teams at the churches I work with, one of the first questions I ask is, “Do any of you play a musical instrument?”

I usually get one or two people who say that they play some type of instrument.

But it’s a trick question, because the next question I ask usually results in silence while they take it in: “Do you realize that the sound board is every bit an instrument as any of the ones on the stage?”

No one ever thinks it does. And that’s a shame.

Every tech who runs the sound board is a musician, whether they realize it or not. Which is also why they are every bit a part of the worship team as any of the other musicians.

The difference between the musicians on stage and the tech folks are unique. Most of the musicians on stage will have played their instrument for a substantial number of years. They also have at least one of their preferred instruments at home.

Sound techs probably got recruited and have never worked on a mixer until they got to church. They also probably don’t have a mixer at home.

The other main difference is that while a musician on stage could probably flub a note or miss a cue and no one, unless it was really horrendous or there’s a musician in the audience, won’t really notice.

If the sound tech flubs something or misses a cue EVERYONE notices and invariably will do the mongoose thing and look directly at you from their seats.

So while the sound techs are every bit as important as the musicians on stage, their role, because they affect everything sound-related, is more critical to get it right.

So now that the sound techs have it in their noggin that they are actually musicians, they need to understand what that means. Musicians practice on their instrument until it becomes a part of them. Muscle memory builds with practice and after a while their instrument becomes an extension of themselves.

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