The Role of the Audio Director: Engine Oil & Better Communication

If not ignored, in some cases, church techs can feel that they are deemed a "necessary evil," who are present only to give those on the platform what they want.

The Role of the Audio Director: Engine Oil & Better Communication
To avoid oil spills, I know I’ll need a funnel. Every band on the platform also needs a communication funnel. I am a big advocate for every musical ensemble needing one individual who is the musical director, or MD. That person must act as a funnel through which all tech-to-musician and musician-to-tech communication flows.
The Role of the Audio Director: Engine Oil & Better Communication
To avoid oil spills, I know I’ll need a funnel. Every band on the platform also needs a communication funnel. I am a big advocate for every musical ensemble needing one individual who is the musical director, or MD. That person must act as a funnel through which all tech-to-musician and musician-to-tech communication flows.

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The Role of the Audio Director: Engine Oil & Better Communication

Team Management Resource

Worship Facilities Magazine, January-February 2018
The January-February 2018 issue of Worship Facilities Magazine offers articles about the many steps a church had to take in the aftermath of a fire, and another involving a church making the jump to 4K.
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Have you ever poured oil into a car engine? Both of our family’s vehicles are rather high in the mileage department, so checking and topping off engine oil is a regular part of my life.

Technicians must be known by and know the musicians. They must see each other as members of the same team.

Even with that amount of experience, though, I can easily make a mess of it.

If I want to get the job done right, there are principles I need to follow.

And those principles make me think of better ways for church techies and musicians to get the job done as well.

As we set up, coordinate sound check and prepare music for congregational worship, establishing these habits can improve communication and the working relationship.

1) Check the dipstick

Before adding oil, check the level. Maybe the engine doesn’t need more oil.

If there is some technical problem on the platform, singers and instrumentalists should first check if it’s something that they can solve themselves. If you can’t solve it, then (and only then) reach out to the audio tech.

Does this sound familiar?

The information, “My acoustic guitar isn’t in my monitor” is delivered to the audio tech, who then wastes precious moments, only to find that the musician has not plugged in their instrument! (Groan)

2) Only one pourer

I love having my 3- and 5-year-old sons sitting on a fender, with each watching me check and add oil to the car engine. At the same time, you certainly won’t see me handing each of them their own oil bottle, to have the three of us adding oil at the same time!

Can you imagine what a mess that would make?!

In much the same way, I have often witnessed church bands trying to prepare for a service, as there are multiple people on the platform making simultaneous, urgent requests to a flustered and overworked audio tech.

It just plain doesn’t work!

One at a time, please.

3) A funnel

To avoid oil spills, I know I’ll need a funnel. Every band on the platform also needs a communication funnel. I am a big advocate for every musical ensemble needing one individual who is the musical director, or MD. That person must act as a funnel through which all tech-to-musician and musician-to-tech communication flows.

If a singer notices that her microphone battery has died, for example, she should tell the MD. From there, the MD will communicate the problem to the audio tech. And it works both ways. If the audio tech needs the electric guitarist to turn down, or reposition their amp, that too should flow through the musical director.


More About Grant Norsworthy
A Grammy-nominated, Dove Award-winning musician, Grant Norsworthy is also the founder, owner, content developer and principal instructor of More Than Music Mentor, helping to equip church singers, instrumentalists and technicians for artistic excellence and authentic worship.
Get in Touch: me@grantnorsworthy.com    More by Grant Norsworthy

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