Practice Your Mixing Skills
Mixing sound is an art
It is also a technical craft. And like any art or craft, you must commit to learning and practice in order to stay proficient and mix with excellence on a regular basis.
This begs the question: How do you practice mixing?
This is going to sound blunt, but for starters, you’ll need to do more than just show up at mid-week worship rehearsal or shadow the lead mix engineer on Sunday, and “think about running sound”.
You need to get in there and work with things. Make some noise! Most of it will be bad. But you’re practicing, that’s ok.
Just make sure you practice in an environment that supports your trials and errors. Don’t show up for Sunday morning service and try some EQ or Reverb tricks you’ve never used before.
Use soundchecks as your time to practice with new techniques, effects, and EQ listening skills. Better yet, work one-on-one with various instruments or vocalists to dedicate time for dialing in their specific sound.
And for you audio newbies: don’t be afraid of feedback! It happens.
Learn how to control feedback and you won’t need to be afraid of it ever again. Practice by making a microphone feedback and learn what it takes to get it to stop. Try using your sweepable mid or parametric EQ to find the fundamental feedback frequency and cut it.
Here’s another big one: listen to your room.
Get a solid understanding of what your room sounds like. Walk around. Listen for changes in frequency tone and clarity. Take note of areas that don’t quite sound right and see if you can fix it in your mix with some simple EQ adjustments.
You will also need to train your ears and learn how to listen. Then you need to apply that information (what you hear + what you know) to the mix. This is the part that takes a lot of practice, but it can be the most fun!
You’ll get to actually hear the amazing results of your training and practice – in real time. It’s hard to beat that feeling of efficiently getting a great mix dialed in and sounding awesome.
Use soundchecks as your time to practice with new techniques, effects, & EQ listening skills. @James_Wasem Click To Tweet
Another critical component to learning and practicing with live sound is to actually teach it and pass along what you know (even if you don’t think it’s much). You’ll be surprised how much you’ll continue to learn by simply teaching someone else what you know and showing them how to do what you do.
At the end of the day, please remember this:
The mixing console is your instrument, and you need to practice to remain proficient.
Practice Apps for the Church Sound Tech:
- HearEQ and QuizTones apps (paid) for practicing with training your ear
- Great Church Sound app (free) for feedback tips, EQ advice, and digital practice mixer
- RTA apps for Android & Apple (free) to help visualize frequencies and levels
The mixing console is your instrument, and you need to practice to remain proficient. @James_Wasem Click To Tweet
Author / Audio Engineer
Great Church Sound | Missoula, MT
James Wasem has been fascinated by sound and electricity from an early age. His love of music and technical gear made sound engineering and systems integration a natural pursuit. James has spent the last 20 years performing and touring in bands as a drummer, mixing live sound for churches, schools and theatres, and working as an audio systems installer and designer.
Though involved in highly technical fields, James has a passion for making things simple to understand and easy to use. It was from this passion that the book Great Church Sound – a guide for the volunteer was born. James believes that technical ministry volunteers provide a critical service for their congregations and should be well equipped with quality tools to help them grow in craft, skill, and spirit.
James and his wife Kate (who also provided the illustrations for Great Church Sound) live in the beautiful Rocky Mountains of Missoula, Montana.