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Author Topic: Training recommendations small church?  (Read 872 times)

Keith Purtell

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Training recommendations small church?
« on: December 18, 2020, 04:09:56 pm »

We have five on our team; one paid. We recently upgraded from an analog board to a Midas digital board. Also added a second video camera. Streaming to YouTube and Facebook. Our problem: These changes occurred during the pandemic, and our new pro employee is in demand outside our small church. The existing volunteer team has often been idle since he was hired. So, none of us is really trained on the Midas. If our pro gets sick, we will have no one who can fill in for him. We have talked about having him stay after service for a short training session, but he typically has to run to another gig at that time.

What are some effective ways to start training so that each of us has the skills to get us through a Sunday service? How do your churches handle this?
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Scott Holtzman

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Re: Training recommendations small church?
« Reply #1 on: December 18, 2020, 06:38:08 pm »

We have five on our team; one paid. We recently upgraded from an analog board to a Midas digital board. Also added a second video camera. Streaming to YouTube and Facebook. Our problem: These changes occurred during the pandemic, and our new pro employee is in demand outside our small church. The existing volunteer team has often been idle since he was hired. So, none of us is really trained on the Midas. If our pro gets sick, we will have no one who can fill in for him. We have talked about having him stay after service for a short training session, but he typically has to run to another gig at that time.

What are some effective ways to start training so that each of us has the skills to get us through a Sunday service? How do your churches handle this?


What do the other folks know about mixing?  If you can't mix a short training session is not going to move the needle much.  The issue with the transition isn't really analog to digital.  Many people that mix on analog just know how to move the faders up and down, they never adjust the eq and certainly don't know what gates, compressors and high pass filters are for.  All these tools existed in the analog domain.  If they know how to mix analog then yes, it's just a matter of showing them where everything is.  If that can't use a compressor, gate or eq then some real remediation will need to be done.



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Mike Caldwell

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Re: Training recommendations small church?
« Reply #2 on: December 18, 2020, 09:07:07 pm »

As Scott was getting at, what is the audio skill level of your team?

What Midas mixer do you have? The M32 is a lot of mixer for team volunteers to step up
to cold and start using, the Pro series is in another level all together!

I don't know anything about the rest of your system or system needs but I'm going to say that maybe for what I'm assuming it's an M32 and that may not have been the best board choice for a rotating volunteer sound team.

Aside from mixing, how to listen, how to adjust the mixer based on what your hearing, ect. training. There is the what to do, what to look for and how to fix it on that Sunday morning when no sound is coming out of the sound system type of training.
« Last Edit: December 18, 2020, 11:56:07 pm by Mike Caldwell »
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Erik Jerde

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Re: Training recommendations small church?
« Reply #3 on: December 18, 2020, 11:37:36 pm »

Is the hired guy just there for Sunday mornings or is it a position with more hours than that?  Is training volunteers part of what he's hired for?  These are questions that need to be addressed by church leadership. 

If he's just a hired gun in for Sunday mornings then leadership could try to discern if he's even capable of training (great engineers can be terrible trainers) and if so hire him to do a training session.  If he's just hired for Sunday mornings it's understandable that he's jetting out after the gig is done.  He might not really know what to do with volunteers asking for training and instead of dealing with it head on he's avoiding.

If he's more than Sunday morning and training is an expected part of his job then he needs to figure it out.  If he can't then leadership needs to take action.

So, in short, talk to your church leadership.  Be nice, be tactful, don't take the role of hurt volunteer, over aggressive super volunteer, etc.  I've done most of my professional work in big churches and there are definitely those volunteers that you want to move on to something else.  I'm not saying that's you.  I'm just cautioning you to not be that guy when talking to leadership or this hired guy.

Good luck!
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Caleb Dueck

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Re: Training recommendations small church?
« Reply #4 on: December 21, 2020, 06:40:47 pm »

If he's just a hired gun in for Sunday mornings then leadership could try to discern if he's even capable of training (great engineers can be terrible trainers)

Huge agree with Erik here.  The skill sets of designing systems, installing systems, mixing a service, leading, training others, and many others - are separate skills.  Someone who is good at one - should not be assumed to be good at others. 

Along with that, just because someone is paid to do a task - doesn't automatically mean they are good at that task.  I've known a few paid FOH engineers at churches that weren't much better than riding faders and hitting the mute buttons.  I would separate 'paid vs unpaid' with 'skilled vs unskilled' for each of the specific skills above. 

The hard part is that too many churches are fine with 'good enough', and spending money on something (training) where there is no corresponding physical piece of equipment - is seen as a waste.  Thus there aren't many companies/individuals who can provide training and be paid appropriately for it.   
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Ed Taylor

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Re: Training recommendations small church?
« Reply #5 on: June 11, 2021, 03:29:54 pm »

I know it's an old thread but worth the revisit as i just last week did a short notice fill-in at a smaller-mid sized church that was short a guitar player.

Rehearsal, I walked back to the sound desk and asked the guy on faders if I could grab an extra DI box...he looked at me and smiled and said "What's a DI box?"
yep...they were in the much trouble.
the church also just recently upgraded to a pair of M32s..one for house, one for stream.

stream sound was bad, latency issues on top of that made the stream unwatchable.

last Fall, I had been called to mix for a church for a month until they could get a full time audio guy on staff...they had upgraded from analog to a shiny new Presonus 32sx.   and their one volunteer guy was totally lost.

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Erik Jerde

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Re: Training recommendations small church?
« Reply #6 on: June 11, 2021, 05:11:34 pm »

I know it's an old thread but worth the revisit as i just last week did a short notice fill-in at a smaller-mid sized church that was short a guitar player.

Rehearsal, I walked back to the sound desk and asked the guy on faders if I could grab an extra DI box...he looked at me and smiled and said "What's a DI box?"
yep...they were in the much trouble.
the church also just recently upgraded to a pair of M32s..one for house, one for stream.

stream sound was bad, latency issues on top of that made the stream unwatchable.

last Fall, I had been called to mix for a church for a month until they could get a full time audio guy on staff...they had upgraded from analog to a shiny new Presonus 32sx.   and their one volunteer guy was totally lost.

Yeah, there's a church meeting evenings at my church.  I got them initially setup and then because I didn't have time to be their regular guy I hooked them up with another engineer to hold their hand and train their volunteers on the m32.  He was with them weekly for 2-3 months and now their on their own. 

I don't think that digital mixers are necessarily worse for untrained people than analog desks.  They just need to be very intentionally setup.  In fact with the ability to easily load a scene it's a lot easier to get back to a state that at one point was good than with analog desks.  I have fairly low skill level volunteers mixing at my personal church a couple times a month and with a little training up front they've done a very good job. 
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Stephen Swaffer

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Re: Training recommendations small church?
« Reply #7 on: June 15, 2021, 12:33:29 pm »


I don't think that digital mixers are necessarily worse for untrained people than analog desks.  They just need to be very intentionally setup. In fact with the ability to easily load a scene it's a lot easier to get back to a state that at one point was good than with analog desks.

To me this is a huge plus.  It took us a few weeks-but we finally established a culture that the "Main Service" scene is recalled before every service.  Makes it easy when a group wants to practice or whatever because we always start at the same place.  Of course, now that we have that culture established the SQ does it for me when they log in....
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Steve Swaffer

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Re: Training recommendations small church?
« Reply #7 on: June 15, 2021, 12:33:29 pm »


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