(this is an extended version of my Instagram post from #creativeworshipideas)
This post is about communication to and from the platform. A lot of times, our communication can be pretty one way. We place a great deal of importance on the communication that comes from us, and often a great deal less on the communication that comes to us. It’s human nature. But it’s the bad part of human nature, and God calls us to fight against that sort of self-centered mindset.
One key communication link in worship services is between the worship team and the soundpeople. Here’s how it often goes: the band starts warming up, the song finishes, and a chorus of voices starts from the platform… “I can’t hear myself!” “Can I have less snare!” “There’s a buzz coming from the monitors!” and the oh so helpful “Something sounds weird…”
The problem is that those voices often come all at the same time, and sometimes in a whiny or demanding tone (think the less flattering definition of “diva”). I am a musician by background, so I’ve been a culprit in the past, I know. This usually causes embittered soundpeople, who find passive/aggressive ways to exact their revenge (such as the fake volume change – “OK, how’s that – does that sound better?” when the fader was not touched).
In the past, I functioned as the service producer, overseeing the music and tech side of things from the booth. To help avoid unhealthy communication, here’s the rule that I put in place: All communication goes between the Worship Pastor (anything coming from the stage) and the Tech Director or myself (anything coming from the booth). Questions were funneled through these two people so that we hit one thing at a time, and then moved on – in a polite and time-saving fashion. Try it, it works – and it helps keep human nature under control.
An alternate plan that works well for soundchecks is to have a production volunteer on a headset going from person to person, tweaking their mix with them. This only really works if someone is actively mixing the monitors. If the team use self-controlled in-ear systems, each team member needs to dial in their own mix – in that case, training is the key. Where it gets really tricky is if the team are using monitor wedges, possibly even all sharing the same mix. In that case, the interpersonal skills of the worship leader and/or tech director will certainly be
tested, as a vision must be cast to the team regarding what needs to be in the mix, and why… But that’s a post for a different day… : )