Sound Check and Rehearsals: Importance Behind Checklists, Communication

The band, singers, and choir need to know that you care about them and their needs. I do understand that you cannot give them everything that they want, but they need to know that you care.

Sound Check and Rehearsals: Importance Behind Checklists, Communication
A member of the West Asheville Baptist Church worship band on tuba works during a sound check, while setting up prior to the Christmas program at the church in Asheville, North Carolina.

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Sound Check and Rehearsals: Importance Behind Checklists, Communication

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Sound Check and Rehearsals: Importance Behind Checklists, Communication

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Having run sound and done sound checks for years, sometimes I miss something.

Communication is a two-way street.

I have a checklist as to what to turn on, what to put out, and even then something can be missed. I say this to emphasize the importance of having a checklist of your own. It ensures that everything gets put out and turned on, and that you do not cause trauma on stage.

At first glance, it would seem that missing one thing would not be result in “trauma.” And for you it might not be, but for the musician on stage, it can be very frustrating. My advice is to have a regular checklist of the things that need to be done before service, and to go through the program with your checklist to add anything to the list for the day, so that everyone can start on time.

I find that I have come in earlier each week recently, because of a problem we have been having with one of our computers at West Asheville Baptist. I use this time to set everything up going through the day’s program, so that if there is a problem, I don’t hold up practice because I am putting out a fire somewhere else.

At West Asheville, we are lucky enough to have a digital board, so that I can save my settings from the previous week and have a perfect place to begin the next week. If you are still in the analog world, I highly recommend that you write down your settings, after which you can then come in early to have them reset before anyone arrives. This all sounds easy enough in theory, but I understand kids, traffic, and snow, and I guarantee that this extra 15 minutes will serve you and everyone else very well.

Now that everything is ready to go, I find it a good practice to take the time to talk with the worship leader, to get insights into anything unusual that may be happening. Such as a soloist, or an instrument that is going to start a particular song. This should be on your program, but it is always good to check. It is also a good way to open communications for the day.

Communication is a two-way street.

More About Ralph Hicks
Ralph Hicks is the Tech Director for the West Asheville Baptist Church, based in Asheville, N.C. He started serving in church when he was seven and has been a part of the volunteer staff ever since. After singing in church and running sound for 20 years, he moved behind the camera where he spent several years. He was the church's Front of House Engineer, before becoming the Technical Director six years ago.
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