I like to tinker and hot rod my gear. My guitars are modified, my amp is pretty heavily modified, and I’m thinking about getting into making my own pedals. When I was primarily a bass player, I looked into building my own speaker cabs from scratch, and did some reading up on enclosure and speaker construction to better understand how it all works (spoiler alert: a good sounding bass cab is a complex thing, best left to pros).
One book that I read about speaker design made an important point that stuck with me: while a change in amplifier, cabling, or processing might be less detectable for most people, nearly anyone will notice a change in speaker. No matter what happens before the signal reaches the speaker, ultimately the speaker moves the air and creates the sound that we hear.
Yes, the worship tech team is leading worship
In a service, this is extremely true of the worship tech team. I can prepare all I want, play like a madman, and bring a worship set to a powerful climax that is extremely meaningful. But then after the service, somebody can shatter all of that by telling me that my mic wasn’t up enough and they couldn’t quite understand me. And guess what? That would be my fault if I didn’t properly communicate this climax to my sound tech. As the person who is most responsible to sweat the details, I (and many of us) frequently overlook the communication between platform and tech.
If the worship tech team is responsible for what people see and hear, then it’s important to bring them into the planning. They should know basic things, like when an instrument is going to take over melody for the vocals, or when the lead vocalist will change. But they can also do things like support the tension and release as we flow through the service. Is a particular song that’s supposed to feel spatial and introspective? Probably a bad time for a ton of kick in the subs. Are we bringing up the energy and really releasing? Get the bass and the snare up!
I have a talk with my entire team at the beginning of each rehearsal to tell them what the message will be about on Sunday, what we are trying to get across, and why we are using the songs that we are using. In some cases, I’ll even point out a specific section of a specific song as a climactic moment. Tech needs to know this as well, as that will affect sound and lighting if we are really on the same page.
The goal is to keep the two groups from being siloed, playing in their own yards and not worrying about the others. Silo teams that are supposed to be working with each other soon feel like the other is in their way, and teams in that position simply can’t lead together.
In a little bit, we’ll be releasing some info. and guides for helping worship leaders and tech teams work together by understanding the needs and concerns that each other have. Stay tuned for tips on bridging the gap.