Worship Musician Magazine July 2021 | Page 40

Volunteer Church audio engineers are made , not found .
NEED ONE ? Searching for a ready-made volunteer audio engineer will not produce results . Experienced , capable audio techs sitting in the congregation wanting to volunteer their time and energy ( for free !) are as rare as idiomatic hen ’ s teeth .
So , what sorts of raw materials should we be searching for in a person who might be made into a capable audio tech ? What type of person will have the best likelihood of developing into a great sound engineer ?
You might feel that willingness and a warm body are the only essential prerequisites . Someone – anyone (!) who is willing to drop themselves behind the mixing console will do . I get it .
On the other end of the spectrum , I ’ ve seen quite extensive lists produced by team leaders for larger churches that describe all the essential qualifying skills that any prospective audio tech volunteer must possess . Invariably these include high tech , geek-attracting requirements like , “ Knowledge of or willingness and ability to learn digital mixing consoles ( specifically the Superdesk XYZ- 1234 ), personal mixing system ( ABC- 5678 ), computers , software , outboard racks , microphones …” and so on .
Certainly , a prospective volunteer should be a sincere follower of Jesus and have the willingness to serve . But beyond that , the tendency seems to be to find someone who has an existing affinity for technology .
But maybe the best audio tech volunteer is actually in the band , showing no natural tech geekiness at all . Especially if you are in the enviable situation of being several players deep in any band position , consider approaching a musician to enter the training to become your new audio tech !
I believe that it ’ s musicians who make the best audio engineers - especially for live music . I ’ d prefer to have a musical , artistic person - even if they are somewhat technically challenged - than a tech-head , boffin who doesn ’ t like music behind the mixing console any day of the week - especially Sunday .
And in my many years of involvement with live music , it ’ s been my experience that drummers often make great audio engineers . Yep ! Drummers . And I ’ m not a drummer ! My history is as a bassist and vocalist and , in recent years , playing acoustic guitar .
Drummers ? Really ? Why ?
My theory : The abilities and skills of a great drummer match many of the abilities and skills of a great audio engineer . Here ’ s what I mean …
Great drummers have the right balance of left and right brain - of technicality and creativity . Playing drums is very much about precise mathematics , subdivisions of time and tempo .
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