Yes, I know December seems far away, and you might not be ready to start earnestly thinking about Christmas – but a little thought and planning now could make any upcoming Christmas tech plans go much smoother.
You can start benefiting from this preparation right now!
Here are seven tips to help you get started readying your worship technology for the upcoming Christmas season:
1) Learn From the Past
The best way to prepare for the future is to learn from the past. Think about your previous special events and services over the past year (Easter, Christmas Eve, etc.). What went wrong? What went right? What can you do to make this year better?
Make some notes and start mentally preparing yourself for the upcoming season.
2) Current and Future System Needs
Is your sound system in need of any minor or major upgrades? If so, then you better start addressing those ASAP. Don’t wait until the last minute to install a new console, hang new speakers, add some new microphones, or re-tune the loudspeaker EQ.
If new equipment is in your future, you need to start practicing with it and get familiar with the way your new gear works and sounds. Don’t wait until the week before your big event to learn that new digital console layout!
3) Budgeting for New Gear
If you are planning to get some new gear, do you have the budget for it? Is your church board or tech committee prepared to release the funds you need?
Don’t wait until halfway through the production planning process to tell everyone that you’ll need to replace a high-ticket item or add some new gear. Present your needs in a way that reflects on recent experiences and plans for future ongoing quality sound.
4) Preventative Maintenance
Make sure all of your gear is in working order. Take time to repair cables and mic stands. Organize and take inventory of your tech closet. Label boxes, cables, tools, and wireless mics as needed. And stock up on batteries, board tape, gaff tape, or any other items you’ll need over the coming months.
This will save time and reduce stress when you need these items in a fast-paced production environment.
5) Planning Your Workflow
This step is often overlooked as an early preparation item. While you may not know exactly what your special event needs will be this year, you should be able to at least prepare for the common requests and workflow challenges.
If you have a digital console, learn about your mute cues and scene presets. And even with an analog console you can start experimenting with group mixing and creative auxiliary or effects loop arrangements. Get used to doing things with your console that maybe you haven’t done before. Challenge yourself to learn something new.
6) Leadership Synergy
There’s nothing like a high-pressure special event to reveal tensions among a group of people. This same event can also bring a group closer together. The result can often depend on the history and familiarity of the group dynamic.
Get to know your leadership team. Take the initiative to be a problem solver and forward thinker. Nurture your relationships with fellow tech and non-tech leaders. Figure out the best ways to communicate with each other.
The foundations you build now will provide a more stable base for when you start adding more dynamics to the mix. Yeah, that applies to your people skills AND your sound skills.
7) Prepare Your Team
Is your team ready for the next special event? Do you even have a team?
Invest in the quality and confidence of your team (even a team of one).
If you’re used to running things solo, then start reaching out for those tech assistants or stagehands who can help you with a more involved special event when the time comes. Teach them how to wrap cables, change out wireless mic batteries, assist with mic placement/soundcheck, and help with setup/teardown duties.
If you have a sound team or need to grow your team, then start nurturing them and grow with them. Attend training classes together and hold regular team meetings. Get to know each other’s strengths and weaknesses. Learn how to depend on each other and communicate effectively.
Remember the real reason you are here. It is for a much higher purpose than playing with cool toys and painting your room with sound. Your dedication to preparation now will allow you to be “in the moment” through every stage of the coming season of celebration.