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How to Talk to Your Sound Tech


Lead with honor and respect when you learn how to talk to your sound techs.

In many churches, communication with the sound tech is a touchy subject. Most worship leaders can rattle off a list of offenses made by techs they have worked alongside. Likewise, most sound techs have countless horror stories of aggressive, diva musicians committing relational and technical fouls on stage before, during, and after church services. 

Worship pastors and leaders need to create a culture of honor, care, and respect for the people who serve our sound. The solutions are more relational than technical (although gear runs a close second). Here are a few constructive ways to engage your sound techs.

How to Talk to Your Sound Tech

Lead with honor and respect when you learn how to talk to your sound techs.

1. Become The Sound Crew’s Chief Encourager

People on the tech crew often get attention only when something goes wrong, and many have been shamed and ridiculed from the stage. Insecure musicians and communicators will often place blame on sound and media people.

Stop right now and ask God to reveal any techs you might have offended in the past. Text, call, or talk face to face, and make things right.

After every rehearsal and worship service, I strive to deliver a specific expression of kudos for the sound techs:

  •  “Thanks for always being on time. It really makes a difference for us.”
  •  “That kick drum sounded massive today!”
  •  “The vocals were spot on tonight. I loved how easy you made it.”
  •  “When you took time to help Sue with her bass amp, it really helped make the rehearsal go easy.”

Brand this phrase on your leadership heart: “what is rewarded is repeated.”

This one concept has guided my leadership style more than any other in creating positive and healthy relationships in worship ministry.

Insecure musicians and communicators will often place blame on sound and media people.Learn how to interact honorably and respectfully with your sound techs and express kudos rather than disdain. Click To Tweet

2. Ask “How Can We Help?” Vs. “Give Me This or That!”

Instead of thinking about the sound techs as your servants, ask how you can help them achieve the best sound. We are all serving Jesus on equal ground; this is not a customer/worker retail situation. Sound techs have dozens of variables involved at any given time, and you have only one or two.

Inviting their input will help build trust.

Teach your band this idea, too. Your players should be interacting with the sound techs with honor and respect, not yelling or demanding.

  •  “Jim, is there anything we can do to help you get what you need out there?”
  •  “Dave, when you get a chance, do you mind turning down the kick drum in my in-ears? Thank you.”
  •  “Julie, please tell me which setting is better for you.”

When something is not working on your end with the sound or monitors, instead of blurting out your problem, wait until the tech is ready and let them know your need in a calm, non-anxious tone.

Communicate more effectively with your sound techs when you learn the language of sound.

3. Learn And Speak The Language of Sound

Worship leaders who know the language of sound will be able to communicate better with their techs. Spend some time not leading worship. Volunteer for the sound team and learn your soundboard basics. Ask questions and become aware of what it takes to make a band sound good in your room.

Learn their language so you can communicate clearly.

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There is a lifetime of knowledge to learn in this area, but here are some basics:

  •  Gain – A microphone or guitar needs extra power to make the sound go from the instrument, through the cables, to the speakers. This amplification is called “gain.” Too much gain and the sound will distort; too little gain and the sound will be weak and hard to expand. If you notice the volume of your instrument going up or down in your monitors, the sound tech might be adjusting your gain.
  •  Equalization (EQ) – Most instruments and voices will benefit from raising or lowering certain frequencies on the sound spectrum. You can and should know what a good EQ curve is for your instrument(s) and voice.
  •  Balance – All the instruments and voices need to be in a well-balanced relationship with one another. Can you clearly hear the different parts of the mix while enjoying the whole mix? Getting multiple guitars, keyboards, and vocals to blend well will require a good exchange between the stage and sound.
Worship leaders who know the language of sound will be able to communicate better with their techs. Spend some time not leading worship in favor of learning soundboard basics. Click To Tweet

Here are some phrases I might use to communicate with a sound tech during a rehearsal:

  •  “Is there anything you need from us?”
  •  “Sam, my voice just jumped in volume. Are you adjusting gain, or is that something on my end?”
  •  “Jim, it sounds really good from up here. Thank you!”
  •  “How’s the stage volume from back there? If we turn up will it be OK?”
  •  “How well are the drums sitting in the mix from the congregation?”
  •  “How’s the vocal balance out there? Is Jenny cutting though?”

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If you spend more time encouraging your tech than correcting them, you will build trust for the journey— and that will allow excellence to flourish.

Learn how to produce a perfect online experience when you check out Church Tech Tip #19: Ways To Make Online Worship Seamless

This article has been adapted from an article originally featured in Ministry Team Magazine.

CTT Staff
CTT Staffhttps://churchtechtoday.com
ChurchTechToday is the #1 church technology website for pastors, communicators, and leaders. With the goal to provide insight into a variety of topics including social media, websites, worship, media, mobile, and software, ChurchTechToday aims to shed light on how church technology can empower and position churches for impact and growth.


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