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Outside Help

Have you ever said something to someone and have them brush it off, only for them to accept the idea when presented by another person? While that may be frustrating, I have found it can be helpful when working with production in teams. Getting a fresh perspective from an outsider can be just the boost your team needs. This is exactly what we did at Northview last week when we called in some outside help.

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We have been talking for quite some time about how we can better our team members – both staff and volunteer. We could send everyone to a conference, but the reality of getting volunteers to take vacation time to go to a conference isn’t very likely. Plus the sheer cost is a real concern as well. This is where I started thinking about having someone come to us.

A few years ago I met Chris at a concert that was happening at Northview. I was blown away by his ability to mix that concert. Hands down, he had one of the best mixes I had heard in all my years around audio. I immediately emailed him after the show asking for tips to improve our mix, because this guy was good. It became very evident that I needed to bring him in for a hands-on intensive training. Lucky for us, his current tour is on a break and he was available.

Now, I’ve been mixing sound for 12+ years. I’ve toured the country working in arenas, at festivals, and countless churches. I know my way around a slew of audio consoles, and have trained more people than I can count. When Chris cleared our console, setting it back to zero, I could feel my brain going blank. I don’t mix regularly anymore and could sense my stress level rising. With Chris walking me through his method of mixing, I had killer sound (using Virtual Soundcheck) in a matter of minutes. I had a lot of bad habits to break, and new things to learn. 2014-03-14 16.19.21

Over the course of 3 full days, we sent multiple volunteers and our staff team through this one-on-one training, which has drastically improved our weekend mix. His fresh eyes and ears looking over the elements of our PA system were a huge help.

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I am not trying to shamelessly self promote myself here, as I offer this type of service to churches. I want to show that no matter where your experience level is, having someone come in with a fresh perspective can be very beneficial. For what we paid to bring someone in, we saved thousands over sending people to a conference. We also would have never gotten the one on one training, or fresh eyes on our equipment from a conference. (Not saying conferences are bad, I love them, but they have their place).

This experience also acted as team-building time for us. Those of us that went through the training are energized to continue to get better. Maybe the pro for you is a tech from a church across town, it could be me (Consulting,) or the trainer from a manufacturer. Either way, I encourage every church to invest in their teams and find a way to get some on site training and bring in some outside help.

How do you learn best? Share it with me won’t you?