Time Management Tips for Sound Techs
A proficient live sound tech is always aware of time.
Besides the obvious mandate of showing up early for soundcheck and being ready when the event or service starts, a sound tech needs to manage a variety of critical components that factor into a great mix.
1. Running an efficient soundcheck
This one of the most important time management concerns. Sound techs and worship/band leaders need to work together and communicate about how best to move through a soundcheck. If you haven’t had a good discussion about this with your team or put a process in place, then pick a time to talk through the priorities that need to be addressed on both sides of the platform.
Always allocate a reasonable amount of time to get through your soundchecks and stick to it. The band shouldn’t be randomly jamming out while you’re sound-checking individual instruments! And conversely, you shouldn’t be showing up late and setting up sound gear during the worship team rehearsal and scheduled soundcheck time.
Some churches may have a production manager or coordinator that oversees the pre-service times, while other churches rely on the worship leader or other pastor to manage the time before the service starts. Either way, a sound tech should always be attentive and ready to transition to the next phase of the event or service.
Help other team members be aware of the time and communicate any tasks that need to be done prior to the next cue or transition.
Another time management challenge can come from not being prepared with service schedules or program notes. Providing great sound involves thinking ahead and anticipating upcoming audio needs in the service. It can be hard to do this without some notes about the order of service or schedule of events.
4. Be on the same page
Pastors, team leaders, and tech team members should all be on the same page when it comes to the order of service and key transition times. This might sound like a simple concept, but you’d be surprised at how many churches just “wing it” when it comes to managing service transitions. And perhaps the best advice to help a sound tech manage their time is to mentally prepare for each event.
You should be thinking through each requirement for a good mix. Consider each instrument and vocal channel. Mentally calibrate and mix these channels in your head before you even step behind the mixing console.
5. Learn from previous experience
Listen closely to the songs that are planned for the worship service and make note of any mixing concerns. Listen to a recording of the pastor’s last sermon and see how you can make the voice sound better. Walk around the facility during soundcheck and remind yourself of what your room sounds like.
These tips will help you be ready for challenges that come with running live sound.
Just remember: Communicate clearly, respect your time, and value the time of others. The favor is likely to be returned.
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.