Friday, December 12, 2008

What a Band Likes (in a Stage Manager)

Devon led the band last Sunday morning, and he had such a great experience with the stage manager*, Kami, that he sent me this message:
Kami showed initiative, was reliable, joyful, and very helpful. Two things struck me in particular. First, just prior to getting started this morning, she went around and greeted everyone individually, letting them know that she was manning the stage and to let her know if they needed anything... Second, after the first service she went around and asked for feedback, then proceeded to write the feedback down. This was reassuring to see her not only ask for feedback, but to take note of it so she could follow-through.
This was Kami's first time as stage manager, and she was careful to point out that her whole team helped her to do her job. I'm especially grateful for Doc, who must have given her good instructions and training on what to do in this role. Thank you to the whole first week team and especially to Kami for blessing the band this last weekend with your work.

What interested me most about Devon's message is this: he doesn't mention the speed of the soundcheck or the perfection of his mix. What is noteworthy to him is the way Kami related to the band. She took the time to communicate with them, direct them as appropriate, and make sure she fulfilled her role to the utmost.

Recently, Ben asked all of our worship leaders how they thought our monitor teams could improve. We expected to hear about sound quality issues or mix details, and we did to some extent. But the overwhelming response was this: the band would be better served if the sound team communicated more and led more during the soundcheck process.

Little things like introducing yourself to the band, reminding them of your role, and taking responsibility for the soundcheck time are as important - maybe even more so - than the exact mixes the band members get in the end. Let's all try to follow Kami's example and serve the band by communicating well.

Here are some options for your consideration:
  • Introduce yourself to the band.
  • Introduce the rest of your team to the band.
  • Remind the band about the two-round process: gains first, then mixes.
  • Consistently let the worship leader know where we are in the process.
  • If there is a problem, explain what is wrong, who is solving it, and what to do in the meantime.
  • When all the gains are set, make sure to ask the band leader to have everyone play together.
  • When all the mixes are set, make sure to let the band leader know that soundcheck is officially done and rehearsal can officially start.
  • Ask regularly for critique and suggestions from the band.
  • Write down anything they suggest, so that you don't forget.
What other examples of good sound team communication come to mind?

*Terminology Note for Non-Covenant-Life Readers - We use the term stage manager in a non-standard way. This is a person on the sound team who leads the band in soundcheck and communicates what each band member needs to the person at the monitor board.

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