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Author Topic: Building a audio team  (Read 764 times)

Josh Kaplan

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Building a audio team
« on: June 01, 2018, 04:06:57 pm »

Hi everyone, I have been a volunteer to run sound for my church for almost 2 years now, and just recently they hired me to be their audio engineer. Since I have been there, the team only really consists of 2-3 people and it's been a constant turn around for people wanting to join and then stop. Now being part of the staff, part of my responsibility is to grow this team which is needed and I am just trying to figure out different strategies on how to build a successful sound team. Don't know if this forum is for anything like this, if not, sorry for wasting time.
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Don Davis

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Re: Building a audio team
« Reply #1 on: June 01, 2018, 04:41:38 pm »

Hi everyone, I have been a volunteer to run sound for my church for almost 2 years now, and just recently they hired me to be their audio engineer. Since I have been there, the team only really consists of 2-3 people and it's been a constant turn around for people wanting to join and then stop. Now being part of the staff, part of my responsibility is to grow this team which is needed and I am just trying to figure out different strategies on how to build a successful sound team. Don't know if this forum is for anything like this, if not, sorry for wasting time.
Hi Josh, here is a site I find to be very tech team oriented.
https://www.churchproduction.com/ministry
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Andrew Hollis

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Re: Building a audio team
« Reply #2 on: June 02, 2018, 12:41:07 pm »

This is a very good and quick primer on leadership: https://smile.amazon.com/How-be-boss-Justin-Kerr-ebook/dp/B076QK4TBN

Offering some background and details would help for spurring more of a discussion.
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Michael Lawrence

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Re: Building a audio team
« Reply #3 on: June 02, 2018, 01:02:13 pm »

I also recommend the work of LSI/PSW contributor Erik Matlock.
His site is here.
His PSW archive is here and some people may recognize the fellow in that thumbnail.

EDIT: And do you read Church Sound? There frequently appears content about working with teams, volunteers, etc.
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Jonathan Johnson

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Re: Building a audio team
« Reply #4 on: June 03, 2018, 05:59:37 pm »

A few thoughts:

Build a consistent schedule. One thing that works for some teams is that one person is "in charge" each week. Anything that happens during the week that requires an operator, they are responsible. Either they run the sound, or they find someone to do it. By rotating from person to person, it helps prevent burnout.

Invest in training. Get hold of a few books like the Yamaha Sound Reinforcement Handbook and encourage everyone to read it. Pay for your people to attend seminars if available in your area. Identify online resources. By providing these resources, you're helping your people to learn; they won't feel as much pressure to figure it out on their own with no guidance.

Communicate. Have team meetings to learn things together and work out challenges. Talk about how you each overcame challenges. Create a social media group for your team where you can all share resources and communicate. You can learn from each other.

Anybody who shows an interest should be indulged. At one church I attend occasionally, they've had kids in their early teens helping out with sound.

Be careful about going too cheap with equipment. Cheap equipment can be more difficult to work with, which can discourage anyone, especially volunteers. Keep equipment in good repair.

Take care of your team. Listen to and address their concerns in a timely manner. In business, the companies that take care of their employees end up providing the best customer service. Likewise, volunteers that are cared for tend to show more enthusiasm for the tasks they are assigned. Your church will be better served.
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Caleb Dueck

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Re: Building a audio team
« Reply #5 on: June 04, 2018, 08:00:06 am »




Be careful about going too cheap with equipment. Cheap equipment can be more difficult to work with, which can discourage anyone, especially volunteers. Keep equipment in good repair.

Take care of your team. Listen to and address their concerns in a timely manner. In business, the companies that take care of their employees end up providing the best customer service. Likewise, volunteers that are cared for tend to show more enthusiasm for the tasks they are assigned. Your church will be better served.

I asked someone years ago why they wouldn't volunteer for audio, even though they would do well and like music.  Their answer - why work hard to learn, do excellent work, and have that be wasted by a poor sounding, hard to use system?  If a new roof is needed - a way will be found to get a new roof, and cost is secondary.  If new technology systems are needed, which today are many times more important and complex than a roof - the cost should be secondary. 

Church tech is different than production tech in that the people involved, techs and audience alike, are vastly more valuable than the equipment.  People have intrinsic value, not merely a skill set.  High quality systems, high production values - for sure, and always pushing higher.  But with the clear understanding that investing in, training, mentoring, caring for people is the end goal of the system and production.

Sent from my VS980 4G using Tapatalk

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Matthias McCready

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Re: Building a audio team
« Reply #6 on: June 04, 2018, 08:57:49 am »

Always keep in mind volunteers are not being payed, yes this is obvious!  ;) :)

They are giving up their time in order to do work for you, in that manner.

1) Show appreciation: Food, occasional gift cards, and other expressions of gratitude will go a long way. This will help them to know you are thinking of them and that they are valued, even if you heavily focus on this it is still much less than cutting a paycheck.
2) Minimize Stress: Many individuals endure less than stellar jobs because they are getting paid. One does not have this additional motivation for volunteer work. Make sure the processes and responsibilities are very clear (people like conformity and dependability). As stated before always keep equipment working, "if I am not provided with adequate tools to do my job, then they must not care very much about the job." Also make a friendly team atmosphere, as having difficult interpersonal relationships will kill volunteering quickly (ie if someone is being "toxic" find somewhere else for them to be).

Bottom Line: Volunteers are there on their own dime, not yours. As is such you should make it the best and most comfortable environment that you can, you will need to take more time to do this than many employers as your volunteers will have less motivation.
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Josh Kaplan

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Re: Building a audio team
« Reply #7 on: June 04, 2018, 02:03:53 pm »

Thanks everyone for your input. Definitely will help!
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Ron Bolte

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Re: Building a audio team
« Reply #8 on: June 07, 2018, 01:06:56 pm »


Nothing builds "team" like credit.  When congregation members or pastor is giving you credit for the sound, make sure every time, that they hear about the whole team.  "Bob had a great idea last week, its working out great," motivates Bob to have more great ideas.  Make sure the whole team knows you give them credit for their work, and be real and honest about it. The best leaders in our industry are humble about how the actual work gets done.
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Dave Pluke

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Re: Building a audio team
« Reply #9 on: June 09, 2018, 08:32:27 pm »

Nothing builds "team" like credit.  When congregation members or pastor is giving you credit for the sound, make sure every time, that they hear about the whole team.  "Bob had a great idea last week, its working out great," motivates Bob to have more great ideas.  Make sure the whole team knows you give them credit for their work, and be real and honest about it. The best leaders in our industry are humble about how the actual work gets done.

Well said!

Also, keep in mind that a volunteer's level of commitment may not be the same as a professional's - and that's perfectly o.k..

Focus on the reason for having Sound Reinforcement in the HoW - to make sure the message reaches everyone in the room.  That can help keep egos out of the way.

Dave
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