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Author Topic: 10 Rules To Live By.  (Read 13063 times)

Allen Farr

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10 Rules To Live By.
« on: May 06, 2008, 07:27:17 pm »

Hello,

My name is Allen Farr. I am new to this forum. Just to give you a little bit of my tech background so you know who you are writing to, I have been fairly heavily evolved in A/V/L (audio/video/lighting) stuff for probably the past five or six years. I have held the seat from anything to a salesman at a fairly large a/v/l store to sitting in the FOH position for different groups in different churches. So in the big picture I still have a tremendous amount to learn.

My question is really just to gain more general knowledge about this stuff for my own good and to pass it along to the next person. The other reason is I have an opportunity to start pouring the little knowledge that I have, into other lives. So, I was wondering, if you had to teach a person about sound, what would be the key things that you would teach them in the beginning.

So  if you could, list out ten or so of those things and let me know what your thoughts are.

Thank-You for your time and knowledge.
Allen Farr
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Allen Farr

First Redeemer Church
Director of Audio

www.twitter.com/allenwfarr

Don Boomer

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Re: 10 Rules To Live By.
« Reply #1 on: May 07, 2008, 09:01:32 am »

I'd say rule number 1:  As long as nobody died ... it couldn't have been that bad.

There are alway more things to learn to make things better but you don't have to be perfect to be successful. Don't stress out!
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Don Boomer
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Line 6, inc
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Jeff Ekstrand

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Re: 10 Rules To Live By.
« Reply #2 on: May 07, 2008, 09:37:34 am »

I don't know that I have a hierarchy of rules for myself... It's more just an engrained set of behaviors that I don't really think about (and I should probably have some rules so I get more engrained behaviors and quit screwing up). Smile

One thing that I've had a few clients ask me recently, is who is at fault if a vocalist can't keep their mic in front of their mouth. While it's obvious that the vocalist is responsible for the placement of their mic (except for headworns, obviously), we have to remember that some people will inevitably get lost in worship. When it comes to worship leaders, I actually prefer someone who is so passionate about what they're singing that they lose a little track of what's going on. At least they're doing their job.

This is all to set-up one of my rules:

"It is never okay to forget that we serve the people on stage."

It is okay to ask for things like better mic control, but it is never okay to give attitude to the talent or outwardly blame them for poor quality. It's the same in church and the professional world. Even when working with the world's biggest divas (maybe not the most famous divas, but we all know the type), you cannot return attitude with attitude. I think there's a biblical application here, too. Smile If a specific artist is snobby enough, you're never going to win a battle of bad attitudes.
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Jeff Ekstrand

Technical Director, North Shore Campus
Willow Creek Community Church
Northfield, IL

Brad Weber

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Re: 10 Rules To Live By.
« Reply #3 on: May 07, 2008, 01:00:16 pm »

Who are you teaching and what are you teaching them?  The lists would be totally different for performers and presenters than for operators which would also differ from that for system installers or designers.  And what are you training them to do with this information?

My only rule that applies across the board is that if you think you know it all, then you just don't realize how much you don't know.  I've been at this professionally for almost 25 years and every time I gain more knowledge and experience I also continue to learn just how limited my existing knowledge and experience really is.
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Brad Weber
muse Audio Video
www.museav.com

Scott Fahy

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Re: 10 Rules To Live By.
« Reply #4 on: May 07, 2008, 01:41:33 pm »

Never stop learning
Never forget you can learn from anyone, no matter how old or how young.
Maintain a servant attitude, we are here to serve people not for our own edification.

Scott

Old and still learning
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ak909

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Re: 10 Rules To Live By.
« Reply #5 on: May 07, 2008, 05:42:38 pm »

There is this joke which I use to remind myself that I dont know anything...


"What is the diffrence between a FOH Engineer and God?"

"God doesn't think hes a FOH Engineer."
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Steve Swaffer

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Re: 10 Rules To Live By.
« Reply #6 on: May 09, 2008, 10:09:55 pm »

I have done the sound at our church for 15 years. Upkeep as well as running the system for services, etc. I have just started teaching my son to do the same job. A couple of thoughts I try to live by.

1.  The pastor is in charge, if he asks for something to be changed, it gets changed (and not just a false motion!)

2.  Mistakes are OK.  Carelessness, lack of preparation, inattentiveness are not!

3.  If you are doing a good job, most people in the audience will not be aware that you are doing your job.

4.  In my opinion, a conscientous operator is more important than skill, or equipment.  Too many churches let any "tech savy" person run the board.  Someone who is truly conscientious will eventually gain the skills.  Equipment will not be really appreciated less you have a conscientous, skilled operator.

5.  If it gets too bad-there is always the OFF switch! Razz  (Haven't gotten there-yet!)

Steve Swaffer
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Devin B. Kim

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Re: 10 Rules To Live By.
« Reply #7 on: June 10, 2008, 02:47:41 pm »

very sound advice....it's very hard to have same goals and ideas when you have many people...
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karl maciag

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Re: 10 Rules To Live By.
« Reply #8 on: June 10, 2008, 11:14:30 pm »

1. we're here to serve the musicians/vocalists/pastors.  without their talents,  we don't get to use ours - we have no job.  It is our job to make sure they are completely comfortable so they can do their job.

2. "No" is not in our vocabulary when talking to the people mentioned in point 1. However,  if a request makes no technical sense, it is our job to dig deeper, and find out the problem, and what the end result should be for them, and then execute.  Educate them on how to achieve their goals.

3. Learn how the equipment is made to work. Do not use technology for what it is not designed for.  Learn how to gainstage.  Proper gainstaging will eliminate the majority of your grief. feedback will go away, tonality will be consistent, as well as the blend of your mixes.  

4. Don't be afraid to say you don't know.  Know it alls don't know jack. Smart people find answers when they don't know.  Humility goes a long way in this business, people who know more than you will recognize it, and want to teach you.  Know it alls get left behind with all the "knowledge" they think they have. There's no such thing as a stupid question.  Ask the people who know.  They will be glad you did.

5. Especially in a church setting, someone will always complain.  Too loud! not loud enough! BGV's too quiet! my advice: TUNE IT OUT!!! Only take criticism from the people above you, whether your worship pastor, senior pastor, tech director, whoever.  Be sure the people above you are pleased with your work. It sounds rude, but kindly refer the complainers to the people in authority.  It will help you maintain confidence, and as a result help you work better.  

6. Steve said it before me - be prepared.  95% of my work is done during the week, preparing for the weekend services.  If i'm not ready when the worship group shows up before service, i have not been doing my job.  When i started at my church, the senior pastor was concerned that i am laid back, and not rushing around like a madman the hour leading up to a service, like my predecessor.  Instead i enjoy a cup of coffee with the worship pastor.  He then realized, that everything was ready the day before. This game is all about preparing, including being prepared for the problems that can pop out of nowhere.

BAH! that's only six...maybe i'll come up with more.
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Jeff Ekstrand

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Re: 10 Rules To Live By.
« Reply #9 on: June 10, 2008, 11:44:03 pm »

Quote:

5. Especially in a church setting, someone will always complain. Too loud! not loud enough! BGV's too quiet! my advice: TUNE IT OUT!!! Only take criticism from the people above you, whether your worship pastor, senior pastor, tech director, whoever. Be sure the people above you are pleased with your work. It sounds rude, but kindly refer the complainers to the people in authority. It will help you maintain confidence, and as a result help you work better.

How true!!! Best story yet for me. I had another guy on FOH last weekend, it was a training exercise of sorts. He's got a great ear, and his fingers are starting to catch up. I get this guy, during rehearsal of all times, who happens to be a high school physics teacher screaming at us that it's too loud. He says it's 90dB (which it was), and that it's the same as a lawn mower. "People are going to be losing their hearing!" He says. I kindly point him to my OSHA Noise Exposure table (90dB for 8 hours, 95dB for 4 hours continuously). We then had a discussion about the fact that we were right on our average service spl, and that he can't be blurting things out like that in front of volunteers during rehearsal when we're actually working on the mix. The best part of the whole story, the complainer was the lighting director for the morning. I have a very hard time tolerating intra-team crap like that... but I recognize that we're all tired with a 5:30 A.M. call time, so we all have to extend a little extra grace on Sunday mornings. At the same time, I will defend my team members to the death! You should tune it out, I agree. However, nobody yells at my team members and gets away with it.

And that beats the "2 little old ladies" that an usher told me about every weekend for two months... in all my life I've never met "the two little old ladies", but I've met countless ushers who talk about them. Wink

So I guess another rule I follow is that the people are more important than the equipment, the sound, anything. Don't ever forget that without the people, we wouldn't really have church, and we certainly wouldn't get to enjoy church sound.
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Jeff Ekstrand

Technical Director, North Shore Campus
Willow Creek Community Church
Northfield, IL

ProSoundWeb Community

Re: 10 Rules To Live By.
« Reply #9 on: June 10, 2008, 11:44:03 pm »


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