In preparation for a lecture in my class on worship technology, I recently polled a few worship leader Facebook groups. The question I asked was specifically to sound operators, which was: What are some things that singers and/or musicians do that drive you nuts? Many people responded and I want to point out some of the reoccurring answers. So, in no particular order, here are seven common ways that you can drive your sound guy/gal nuts:
#1—Adjusting volume after sound check. This was specifically talking about electric guitarists. And I must admit, I am guilty of this at times even though I know better. If we need more (cowbell?), we need to ask for more or make proper adjustments during sound check, NOT during the service.
#2—Playing too loud. This was overwhelmingly a drummer problem. Playing too loud as a drummer demonstrates a lack of awareness of the setting in which you are playing and a lack of control and technique. You are not Animal from the Muppets, so tone it down a bit.
#3—Singers who can’t use a microphone properly. I’ve seen people hold a microphone like it was the business end of a loaded shotgun. It’s not going to cause you injury or death, it’s only going to pick up the sound of your voice…IF YOU WOULD JUST PUT IT TO YOUR MOUTH AND SING!
#4—Playing and/or singing differently in sound check than you do in the service. If you are asked to check your vocal mic, SING into it. Don’t just barely mumble “check, check.” This will not allow your sound guy to make proper adjustments. Likewise, if you are an instrumentalist: Play your instrument in sound check the same way you intend on playing in the service.
#5—Disrespectful/impatient communication. You better watch it. Sound guys can make you sound awesome or awful. Besides that, they are a human being and should be treated and spoken to with respect. There is no place for a stage diva or rock star to talk to their sound person like they are sub-human.
#6—Being late. If you expect a decent sound check on your microphone and instrument, then don’t be late. There are a thousand reasons for you to not be late. The fact that you hinder your sound person from giving you a decent sound check is one of them.
So, what’s missing here? What drives you nuts as a sound person?