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Introduction to Sound Production for Laypeople

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Most modern churches make their sound go loud with a PA system (Public Address aka sound system, which is not the one in the picture above – that’s a DJ mixer but it’s a cool picture).

Many churches also have a worship band playing music every Sunday so that the congregation can worship God through a couple of songs.

A problem now arises because due to the cool-ness of playing an instrument (guitarists-get-all-the-girls-mentality), there are many more musicians than there are sound operators to amplify their music and make it loud.

And there’s even fewer sound operators who can amplify this music and make it sound good. These people I like to call sound producers rather than mere operators (which connotes just flicking switches on/off etc.)

Now I’m no expert, but from my experience in the pulpit, as an MC, as a musician/worship leader, as an audio coordinator and as a production assistant for a couple of stuff, I’d like to offer a very basic introduction to sound production for laypeople (non-professionals like you and me).

 

So what’s the purpose of all this?

The purpose of sound production is to “support the upfront ministry and make it easy for people to worship God.” 

This definition is two-fold.

Firstly, sound producers (usually) sit at the back and support the upfront ministry.

Fairly simple, but it’s often not the perspective of volunteers in sound production. As a sound guy who always arrives first, has to pack up the mess and leaves last, never really gets to talk to people and always gets nagged at by the musicians up front that they can’t hear themselves… it’s easy to get frustrated and complacent.

But this is not the stance God calls us to have. Sound production ministry is just as important (if not more important) than the upfront ministry. We need to have a heart that really loves God and loves his people, desiring to foster healthy relationships rather than being ‘that stuck-up sound guy’ who nobody really feels comfortable talking to.

Secondly, as sound producers it should be our aim to make it easy for people to worship God.

When the congregation gathers to worship God, we want to minimise distractions and help people focus on Christ. And when God gives grace to his people (preaching, scripture, communion etc.) we likewise want to minimise distractions to help people focus on Christ.

When the drums are too loud, nobody can hear the lead vocalist, or you forget to turn on the preacher’s microphone, that’s not helpful for the congregation at all. We want to blend into the background and promote the glorification of God, and the blessing from God to his people. As they say, if nobody notices the sound guy, they’re doing a good job.

 

Soon I’ll be publishing another article titled ‘Basics of Sound Mixing for Laypeople’ but for now, here are 3 tips to get better at sound production:

  • listen to good music that is well produced (train your ears)
  • read/watch sound production articles/videos (train your mind)
  • volunteer at a big event in the production team (train your hands)

 

Click here to read the next article –> “Basics of Sound Mixing for Laypeople” (coming soon).

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