You Need To Monitor This...

The stage monitors were so loud that I wondered if the sound guy even knew that the main (house) speakers weren't on. What he was hearing was the muffled bounce-back sound coming from the back of the stage.

I'm just a girl you know and in the mostly male-dominated world of live sound engineering, I wasn't taken very seriously when I asked,
"Is the 'house' on?"
He looked at me like I had two heads.
I asked again,
"Sir, I believe what you're hearing is only coming from the back of the stage. Your monitors are so loud they're bouncing off the backstage wall and killing me.."
That was it. I crossed the sacred sound man line.

He stormed up to the stage from the back of the room like a trooper. This was going to be a difficult day.

Standing center stage with only my mic and bare-naked spirit, I asked the next definitive and daring question.
"I don't mean to be a nuisance, but just for fun, how 'bout we turn off all monitors. I think you'll hear and see that the house speakers are off. It's all stage monitors you're hearing."

He turned the monitors off. The house went silent. I held my breath. I was right. When he turned the monitors off it became deathly quiet. The curtain on stage rippled with relief, as if to say,
"Thanks so much, Sue. We've been trying to tell him this for months."

This could be such a great teaching tool for just about everything performance. Life even...

Most musicians and singers love to hear themselves. It goes with the territory. I even confess that I sing better when I know it sounds good to my ears on stage. I've even heard some say,
"Who cares what it sounds like out front, as long as it sounds good up here.."

But what hits me after this episode is:
What value is it to the audience if the house is never on? Better yet, who are we, thinking we're relevant or changing the world with our own speaking/singing/entertaining, when basically all we're doing is sounding good to ourselves? And what's really frightening, are we even aware of any of this?

Sit in your own audience once in a while. Check to see if your "mains" are on. For the pure sake of appropriateness and applicability (and maybe even purpose), you really need to monitor this...

Time for a total sound check - both technically and spiritually.

Psalm 139 (The Message) "God, investigate my life; get all the facts firsthand. I'm an open book to you; even from a distance, you know what I'm thinking. You know when I leave and when I get back; I'm never out of your sight. You know everything I'm going to say before I start the first sentence. I look behind me and you're there, then up ahead and you're there, too— your reassuring presence, coming and going. This is too much, too wonderful— I can't take it all in! ..."

1 comment:

Ed Walters said...

Love it Sue. thanks