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Author Topic: Need Advice  (Read 1704 times)

Adam Brunkhorst

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Need Advice
« on: July 06, 2008, 04:32:01 pm »

Hi, I'm somewhat new to the forum and don't quite know how to put this, but I will do my best.....

A really good friend has an issue with his tech crew, and as the Music Director, he doesn't have the time for mixing front of house.... simply because he can't be in 2 places at one time. He is attempting to hire me as the technical director of his church, but I would inherit a tech crew that "thinks" they are technical staff.... so here's the questions

How would you suggest going about working with an audio crew that doesn't want to listen to the Music Director?

How do you get someone to listen to the advice from someone half their age? (I am 20 with 4 years professional experience, but 9 years volunteer experience... and the youngest tech on the team now is 47...)

I have been up to his church a couple times and trained the staff twice already. apparently, it hasn't taken to them, because they haven't changed anything...

What should I do?

I hope I explained it enough for you to understand.

Thank you
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Arnold B. Krueger

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Re: Need Advice
« Reply #1 on: July 06, 2008, 05:28:07 pm »

Adam Brunkhorst wrote on Sun, 06 July 2008 21:32

Hi, I'm somewhat new to the forum and don't quite know how to put this, but I will do my best.....

A really good friend has an issue with his tech crew, and as the Music Director, he doesn't have the time for mixing front of house.... simply because he can't be in 2 places at one time.



That part seems pretty straight-forward.

Quote:


He is attempting to hire me as the technical director of his church, but I would inherit a tech crew that "thinks" they are technical staff...



There are two possibilities - either they are qualified and competent, or they aren't. If they aren't competent, then training them is going to be a long haul. They probably (and perhaps even correctly) think that they understand the church better, and know how to work better with the people than an "outsider".

Quote:


How would you suggest going about working with an audio crew that doesn't want to listen to the Music Director?



Depends on a lot of things, starting with:

What sort of direction from the Music Director are they not responding to?

What else is going on in the church? Is your Music Director himself a new hire? I sense that there may be other larger-scale changes going on at the same time, such as a new pastor or a change in style of worship. I smell a political swamp.

Quote:


How do you get someone to listen to the advice from someone half their age? (I am 20 with 4 years professional experience, but 9 years volunteer experience... and the youngest tech on the team now is 47...)



I'm not nearly as worried about the age situation as the obvious problem with your chain of command. Rule of thumb, if people won't listen to your boss, they won't listen to you. At least initially, your credibility comes from the guy who hired you.

Quote:


I have been up to his church a couple times and trained the staff twice already. apparently, it hasn't taken to them, because they haven't changed anything...



I don't think this would change quickly if you were on staff.

I'm a little concerned with your statement that you trained them twice already. If they are really that badly trained, it could take weeks and months to get them trained. I get this feeling you think you can train people in a minute or an hour.

My experience is that if you want to change something in a situation like this, you have to change it yourself, and hands-on shepherd the change into production.

Quote:


What should I do?



I wouldn't quit a good job to take this one!

To coin a phrase, what is God telling you to do, and how?
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Adam Brunkhorst

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Re: Need Advice
« Reply #2 on: July 06, 2008, 06:35:48 pm »

From what I've seen, they are not competent, and the person that has potential, they don't let do anything but unload the trailer.

You are absolutely correct when you say that they know the church better then I do, but when the elders and the music director want to change the direction of the church and want to have a better production of the church service (not that a church service is a production, but they want the quality of the service to be higher.)

The Techs don't respond to ANY direction from the Music director. He has been driving 1 item for the past few weeks and it isn't that hard to do... he has simply asked to have the worship level at 95db to 98db... well, it is consistently at 80db... and if a tech can't get that, how do you get them to do the other things?

The Music Director is newer, hired in January 2008. The church hired him to revamp the music and make the service more contemporary.

And as for the training of the staff, they have 3 weeks of my training and 26 years of volunteer work where they know ABSOLUTE BASICS from what they taught themselves... I have trained people that know absolutely nothing about music and sound and they know more then the staff there does... I just think they don't care too much for what people think.

I have agreed to work for 3 months there, and don't know how to approach the situation.....
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Gary Creely

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Re: Need Advice
« Reply #3 on: July 06, 2008, 09:10:06 pm »

Adam,

What is the nature of your professional experience?
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Gary Creely
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Ivan Beaver

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Re: Need Advice
« Reply #4 on: July 06, 2008, 09:25:22 pm »

I think you have other issues on hand.  If you are wanting to jack the level of the service up almost 15-20dB, I hope your congregation is ready for that Shocked .  That is a huge increase.

If so, I have a couple of other concerns.  Is your system capable of that level?  What does it sound like at that level.

Mixing at 80db is one thing 98dB quite another.  Is the style of music/worship suited for that level?

It is not just a matter of "turning it up".

If the answer to all of the above is yes, and your techs do not want to comply with the needs/wants of the church leaders, then that is a issue that is best dealt with by them.

As the old saying goes "poop or get off the pot" Laughing
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Can I have some more talent in the monitors--PLEASE?

Ivan Beaver
dB Audio & Video Inc.

Adam Brunkhorst

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Re: Need Advice
« Reply #5 on: July 06, 2008, 09:26:33 pm »

My professional experience is primarily live production. I don't usually have people I have to train cause I typically am the only production engineer on site... I had been an audio coordinator for several ministries and had several people working for me, but I didn't have to train them. I basically showed them where everything was, and they took it from there.

I've worked with several large concerts and bands that have come through San Diego and I've work at a jazz club here and there...


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Kevin Maxwell AKA TheMAXX

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Re: Need Advice
« Reply #6 on: July 07, 2008, 12:25:47 pm »

I don’t want to change anything that anyone else has said but I wanted to add some of my own thoughts and observations.

Is this a portable church? You said “and the person that has potential, they don't let do anything but unload the trailer.”

Can you make the service happen if you were to lose all of these volunteers? Sometimes these people become very close and if you alienate the sound people (or even one of them) the rest of the setup crew will go away also. I know one portable church that has a paid setup crew that isn’t even from the church.  

You have had luck in the past with training people who don’t know anything about live sound because they don’t have any preconceived notions of how things should be done. When you are dealing with people who have done sound their own way it is hard to change them. Only truly humble and servant minded people are more likely to change.

The leadership needs to sit down with all of these people and have a frank and honest discussion. And be able to function when they all quit and possibly even leave the church. Keep in mind that if your commitment to them is only a few months and everyone else leaves because you where brought in where does that leave the church when your time is up.

If they are open to change and the purpose is to bring them up to speed you will have to mix and have them work closely with you. And discuss with them what you are doing and why. Think apprentice relationship with these people.

In general I find that people who have musical ability are better at mixing then those that don’t have any. So you may want to discuss what makes each one of them tick. Just hope that it isn’t a time bo*b.

I feel a bit reluctant to add this part but I will stick my neck out on this one. When doing audio I have meet more nasty and pain in the neck people in churches then I have in the secular world. Maybe it is because my expectations are higher for the church people or lower for the secular people. I worked for a church for a while and afterwards I said if you want to lose your faith go to work in a church. Other people that worked for different churches have responded with an amen when I said that.
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Kevin Maxwell
Freelance Audio Eng. QBE

Gary Creely

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Re: Need Advice
« Reply #7 on: July 07, 2008, 12:27:48 pm »

So it sounds like you have been a freelance board op. That is a good place to start, but a church tech coordinator is going to push you in a number of other areas.

The situation you describe is not an ideal situation to start out on, because of the preexisting tension.

my 2 cents
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Gary Creely
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Arnold B. Krueger

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Re: Need Advice
« Reply #8 on: July 07, 2008, 05:07:15 pm »

Kevin Maxwell AKA TheMAXX wrote on Mon, 07 July 2008 17:25



I feel a bit reluctant to add this part but I will stick my neck out on this one. When doing audio I have meet more nasty and pain in the neck people in churches then I have in the secular world. Maybe it is because my expectations are higher for the church people or lower for the secular people. I worked for a church for a while and afterwards I said if you want to lose your faith go to work in a church. Other people that worked for different churches have responded with an amen when I said that.



FWIW, Amen.

I've been involved in a church that has been undergoing a worship style transition for at least 5 years. I've never seen so much schemeing. retrenching, and outright back-stabbing up front and personal in my life. I've seen pastoral misbehavior on a scale that temporarily seriously affected my faith. But, with the Spirit's help I'm sticking with it and even bouncing back.

What I hear in the OP's sotry is that the elders decided for whatever reason to force a dramatic worship style change on their congregation. They fired their old worship director and hired a new young one, probably hoping that this was all they needed to do. Often Elders are neither especially well-informed about church development or connected with the spiritual life of their congregation. Many church offices are either sucker bait or prizes in popularity contests.

A goodly part of the congretation including the existing technical staff seem to be passivly resisting change for all that they are worth. There's no body consensus, and thats a serious problem.

Also, what's being asked for - a near 20 dB increase in SPLs is huge. We're talking 100 times more power. If that sort of increase were required to overcome the praising and rejoycing of the congregation, then that would be one thing, but sounds like not exactly.

The freebie quick analysis is that the widespread passive resistance by long-term servants is a strong indicator all by itself that this is not the right way to do things.

From studying a number of churches including my own who are undergoing a similar transition, and other case studies, it is possible to know that the current plan is probably not the best way to effect Godly change.
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Jeff Ekstrand

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Re: Need Advice
« Reply #9 on: July 07, 2008, 06:48:41 pm »

Passive aggression in the church is terrible to the point of amusement. It undermines just about everything that the church is intended to be.

From my experience, it could take a very, very, very intense conversation between the leadership (music pastor, elders, senior pastor?, etc.) to say, "Hey, this is the way the leadership has chosen to lead this church. We have hired [music pastor] because we believe he is going to lead this church's music ministry in the way God wants us to worship. If everyone can't get on board with the changes that need to be made, then we may have to have some further, more difficult discussions."

I've seen it happen, and it's CRAZY!!! Some people will be stubborn, and may have to be asked to step back from serving on the audio team (I've had to have the conversation myself, and it's hard, but it's the right thing in certain circumstances). It may also mean some uncomfortable growing pains for the staff (and yourself) because you'll have to pull some extra weight to make up for the people who may depart.

You, as the outside guy, or potential new hire, are not going to get anywhere changing things if the leadership doesn't empower you. If the leadership hasn't empowered themselves, then you're a couple steps away from even beginning to lead that team.

My biggest advice, while you're still on the outside, is to stay on the outside. Don't step into the fray and get caught-up in the crap. Not only will you have a hard-if-not-impossible task of changing anything, but you'll drive yourself insane trying to carry the weight of everyone's criticism. Let it get sorted out, solve the problems you're asked to solve, and pray for wisdom to stay out of situations in which you shouldn't get involved.


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Jeff Ekstrand

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