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Author Topic: Training a sound Team  (Read 3721 times)

Kyle Leonard

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Training a sound Team
« on: April 21, 2011, 01:01:09 pm »

This may sound strange, but bear with me.


I am the tech director for my church and I train my own team on an individual basis. I do not have experience training anyone from another church.


I was contacted to travel to a church 3 hours away to train their sound team because their tech guy is quitting. I know one of the staff and he recommended me. They are willing to compensate me for my time and travel.


However, I have never trained a team that I do not know their level of skill. Nor have I done it in such a short time span. They are very desperate to get this done soon.


Does anyone have any suggestions for training programs that may be available? I am mostly self taught, but I can't train anyone with the amount of books I have read in just a few days.


I am considering purchasing Church Sound Workshop in a box (http://www.churchsoundcheck.com/box.html). Does anyone have experience with it?


Thanks,


Kyle Leonard
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Mike Spitzer

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Re: Training a sound Team
« Reply #1 on: April 21, 2011, 02:47:03 pm »

I can recommend http://ownthemix.com/ They have a ton of tutorial videos that cover everything from plugging stuff in to how to properly use a compressor and set digital delays. There's also a community there that can help with any questions they have.

It starts at about $200 for one person and gets cheaper if you add more. It's worth it, in my opinion.

-mS
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Jonathan Johnson

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Re: Training a sound Team
« Reply #2 on: April 21, 2011, 04:35:13 pm »

Not to sound glib, but how long does it take to learn how to drive a car? Or fly an airplane?

Certainly, learning how to run a sound system isn't a life safety issue (as long as you're not flying loudspeakers), but it IS a technical process, more technical than driving a car but probably less so than flying a commercial airplane.

The Connecticut DMV lists requirements of 30 hours of classroom training, and 40 hours of behind-the-wheel training before a driver's license is issued.

In the US, you must have 40 hours of flying time to qualify for a private pilot's license. At the top end, to be certified as an airline transport pilot, you need to have 1500 hours of flying time. That's above any classroom time that may be needed.

That's not to say that your students need to have 40 hours of training at the sound board before they can run it solo on Sunday morning. It is a fairly technical application; it can take tens of hours to really learn it. Some will pick it up quicker than others.

A training session of a few hours can only provide an overview of operation; it takes experience ("board time") to really learn it. Unless you are planning to spend several days coaching them, gear your sessions toward getting them up and running quickly so they can learn the rest on their own. Give them the resources to find out what they need to know; encourage them to experiment and learn on their own. If someone isn't willing to self-learn, don't expect them to progress beyond "acceptable" toward "excellence."
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Kyle Leonard

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Re: Training a sound Team
« Reply #3 on: April 21, 2011, 05:06:26 pm »

I can recommend http://ownthemix.com/ They have a ton of tutorial videos that cover everything from plugging stuff in to how to properly use a compressor and set digital delays. There's also a community there that can help with any questions they have.

It starts at about $200 for one person and gets cheaper if you add more. It's worth it, in my opinion.

-mS


I looked at this. It's not necessarily something I can present, but it would be good as a reenforcement of techniques that are taught. I need something that can be presented in a few days. Otherwise, what are they paying me for.


Kyle
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Kyle Leonard

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Re: Training a sound Team
« Reply #4 on: April 21, 2011, 05:12:39 pm »


A training session of a few hours can only provide an overview of operation; it takes experience ("board time") to really learn it. Unless you are planning to spend several days coaching them, gear your sessions toward getting them up and running quickly so they can learn the rest on their own. Give them the resources to find out what they need to know; encourage them to experiment and learn on their own. If someone isn't willing to self-learn, don't expect them to progress beyond "acceptable" toward "excellence."


Just because I'm new to posting to this forum does not mean I'm new to teaching techniques. As I stated, I have trained my team with one on one instruction. And after running sound for over 10 years, I am proud to say that I am still learning.


Your post isn't much more than repeating what I've already posted. If you actually provided some resources it would have been helpful, otherwise it's just bloviating.


Thanks,


Kyle
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Brad Weber

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Re: Training a sound Team
« Reply #5 on: April 22, 2011, 09:12:13 am »

However, I have never trained a team that I do not know their level of skill. Nor have I done it in such a short time span. They are very desperate to get this done soon.


Does anyone have any suggestions for training programs that may be available? I am mostly self taught, but I can't train anyone with the amount of books I have read in just a few days.
Perhaps putting the cart before the horse?  Seriously, if you don't know their skills and may have limited knowledge of their worship, systems, communications paths, hierarchy, etc., then how do you assess and create an appropriate curriculum?  I'm not sure if they'd be open to it but it might be advantageous to have an initial meeting where you get to know them, and them you, and can get a feel for what needs to be addressed, after which you can then take a little time to put something together based on what you learn.  Maybe that is simply meeting one day and staying overnight to start training the next day or maybe you make the initial trip then spend a week or two putting together your thoughts before returning for the actual training.
 
In terms of what to teach and training resources, that is wide open without knowing what you are trying to teach and the resources and time that will be available.  Might the training need to have very specific elements such as how to use the particular mixing console they have or does it need to be more general?  Does it need to cover primarily technical aspects or more about the artistic aspects?  Is the focus on how to use their system or how to create a good mix?  How much time will you have?  How many people will you be training and may they vary greatly in skill, experience and knowledge?  Do you know their organization and what authority is given to, and responsibility expected from, the people you will be training and how that might affect what you present?
 
Off topic, you provided very little information regarding your background or the training session (expectations, length, etc.) and your apparently being paid to do this so everything relating to it should be handled professionally, thus you may want to dial back the attitude a bit.
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Nick Eide

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Re: Training a sound Team
« Reply #6 on: April 22, 2011, 07:09:58 pm »

Kyle,

Sounds like a cool opportunity. Here are some things I would consider, if it were me:

What is their vision for your visit? (this is a big one)
What is their vision for the sound team?
Who makes the decisions, who are YOU really working for? (I would probably have long conversations about the first two questions with the worship pastor, worship leaders, senior pastor, at least)

Also, be careful of the politics of the people. (the Church is run by people, and we are not always nice) It's probably better to not know the story, but when you come in and train some folks, you might want to know if you are stepping on any toes.

This may not be what they are expecting, but doing anything without those conversations would be assuming too much and you might be wasting your time and theirs. View this as a ministry opportunity. Pray about it.

One last note: I too like the look of the ownthemix.com stuff. The videos I've seen are well done, and there is a lot of stuff for future and continuing training.
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Walt Jaquith

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Re: Training a sound Team
« Reply #7 on: April 23, 2011, 05:46:33 pm »

In the training I've done, I've tried to teach sound teching as a three-legged structure.  There's the technical leg, which everyone is thinking about, and is the reason most sound techs get into this in the first place (ooh! Cool toys with lots of knobs!)...but is really only part of the job.  Then there's the part where no matter how well you know the gear, you're going to be a poor sound tech unless you have listening skills.  That's the leg you're not going to be able to teach in a few easy lessons; it can take years of concentrated effort to train your ears to really hear what's happening and know what to fix when its wrong.  One of the saddest things you'll ever see is a sound tech who knows and loves all the fancy gadgets, but has no apptitude or inclination towards developing a good ear--or just flatly doesn't know that theirs is made of tin.  Finally, there's the ministry leg, where the lonely sound tech is often stuck between the worship band, the congregation, and the church leadership, all of whom have conflicting and impossible expectations and wants.  Ever notice how the one person in the congreagation with the most senstitive ears always picks the power alley for their favorite spot to sit <g>?

Honestly, not every tech there has to completely understand why microphone cables have three pins, although it's good if someone does.  They can pick that stuff up over time...if they survive long enough.  If you can prepare them for the ministry end; the spiritual and political battles they'll face, and convice them to start actively developing their listening skills, you'll be doing well, I think.

Cheers,
Walt
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Jonathan Johnson

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Re: Training a sound Team
« Reply #8 on: April 23, 2011, 10:59:29 pm »

Maybe you already have this, but one resource that I think is indispensable is the Yamaha Sound Reinforcement Handbook by Gary Davis & Ralph Jones (Hal Leonard Publishing). It won't teach you how to mix, or exactly how to mic a drum kit, but it does an excellent job of explaining the technical aspects of sound reinforcement. Probably not something you'll use as a textbook, but certainly something your students can use for self-study.

Another book that expands on the above in an application-specific way is the Guide to Sound Systems for Worship by Jon F. Eiche (Hal Leonard Publishing).

Soundcraft has a pretty good YouTube Channel / Playlist that covers the basics of mixing live audio.
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Mike Ward

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Re: Training a sound Team
« Reply #9 on: April 25, 2011, 03:50:24 pm »

In the training I've done, I've tried to teach sound teching as a three-legged structure.  There's the technical leg, which everyone is thinking about, and is the reason most sound techs get into this in the first place (ooh! Cool toys with lots of knobs!)...but is really only part of the job.  Then there's the part where no matter how well you know the gear, you're going to be a poor sound tech unless you have listening skills.  That's the leg you're not going to be able to teach in a few easy lessons; it can take years of concentrated effort to train your ears to really hear what's happening and know what to fix when its wrong.  One of the saddest things you'll ever see is a sound tech who knows and loves all the fancy gadgets, but has no apptitude or inclination towards developing a good ear--or just flatly doesn't know that theirs is made of tin.  Finally, there's the ministry leg, where the lonely sound tech is often stuck between the worship band, the congregation, and the church leadership, all of whom have conflicting and impossible expectations and wants.  Ever notice how the one person in the congreagation with the most senstitive ears always picks the power alley for their favorite spot to sit <g>?



Great outlook.  I would only add one more.  The relationship between you and your musicians.  Unfortunately we are very dependent on our musicians to perform well.  The more we understand them, their toys and their language the more we can work with them.  Understanding music and musicianship is just as important as understanding what the difference between a parametric eq and shelf eq is.  I find myself heading to the stage and tweaking the sound my musician is sending me long before I ever touch a knob.

I would talk with the techs, the worship leaders, and the senior pastor and see if they are all on the same page.  If they are not its going to be really hard to succeed no matter what you teach the techs.

Best of luck.  I always recommend the basics.  Gain structure, signal flow and basic eq functions.  Also dont forget about the power of virtual sound checks for folks to learn the basics without having to deal with musicians.
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