For Your Praise Band, Are In-Ear Monitors Really The Right Solution?

Even at some churches, the "Everything louder than everything else!" demand is a challenge that rises from "monitor wars."

For Your Praise Band, Are In-Ear Monitors Really The Right Solution?
For sure we are facing some challenges, as we try to avoid the bad, old days of the "monitor wars." It can get out of control sometimes! One such funny example, from Deep Purple's lead singer, on the "Made in Japan" double live album, is his demanding that he wanted "Everything louder than everything else!"

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For Your Praise Band, Are In-Ear Monitors Really The Right Solution?

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In the interest of having your talent receiving an optimal mix, in-ears often go a long way toward accomplishing that task.
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We need to learn to keep any sound source on the platform as low as possible - including but not limited to open speaker monitors. Need to hear something more? Don’t ask for it to be turned up. Listen, and ask for other sounds to be turned down.

And always apply the golden rule of setting a great monitor mix: You don’t need to hear just yourself. You need to just hear yourself.

Our singers and instrumentalists need to be reminded that, sonically speaking, the “voice” of the congregation is the essential thing. My vocal performance is not the most important thing. Having a pristine monitor mix is not. Having people enjoy listening to our songs is not.

I want the congregation to sing, engage, connect. They are not an audience. They’re being invited to join the band.

Their participation is not optional.

It’s essential.




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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Worship Facilities Magazine, November-December 2017
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Article Topics

Technology · Audio · Musical Instruments · Team Management · Budgeting · Front of House · In-Ear Monitors · Instrumentalist · Monitor Mixes · Music · Stage Volume · All Topics

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Comments

By webe123 on January 12, 2018

As a member of a praise band…..we have a small church of 70 people. But yet we have problems with the monitors because of hearing ourselves. What we have decided to do when we get the money, is get a IEM behringer system for JUST the musicians! The singers and lead will NOT have IEM’s. To me,I think that is about as “good as it gets” as far as using IEM’s for a small church. Our PA man is not experienced enough to get us a good enough monitor mix, so we just do the best we can. But still, this would help solve the problem of keeping the music at a reasonable level while letting the musicians hear themselves at the same time.

By Ad Lib Music on January 10, 2018

Thoughtful as always, Grant! I think the most telling thing is “if my main objective is to lead the congregation to sing, I must be able to hear them! Have an acute awareness of their sonic contribution to the sound in the room.” I don’t think many of us have that as our REAL goal. Like we want to make sure the band is working right, the techs want to make sure the band is mixed right. Of course, it’s all to facilitate worship, but the idea of the congregations “sonic contribution” doesn’t usually make it to our top 3 does it? If it does, when was the last time you chose to arrange a song so that the congregation’s singing was one of the primary or highlighted parts?

By Deslog on January 8, 2018

Have you been in church in the congregation when you are worshiping and find that you cant hear your own voice? I find a lot of churches are so loud that you can end up getting a sore throat if you try to get into it emotionally with your voice. You’re right, it’s not a concert, everyone is joining in to create one voice. Imagine if rock concerts had to lower their volume to allow everyone to hear their own voice. I understand the logistics of getting the sound balance but I think a lot of us love the volume more than the connection. Let one voice move us not volume. I must admit, if I am standing next to someone that clearly has a bad voice and is belting it out I do prefer the volume:-)

By Darth Fader on January 4, 2018

Interesting topic.  There are obviously pro’s and con’s with each approach but I tend to agree that if you have mature musicians and vocalists that are in complete unity about the “true goal” of what is trying to be accomplished that an open monitor strategy will produce a much better overall result when taking into consideration not just FOH sound but also unity, connection and “vibe”.  As a soundguy and a vocalist/musician I find myself often torn because it is obviously much easier to mix FOH with no stage volume, but I also recognize that what is happening on the platform tends to feel disconnected.


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