Chris Blanton is a successful musician, artist, teacher, and home recordist in Athens, GA. He’s the sort of guy that we love to profile at HomeMusicGear – because he’s made a living out of music outside the stereotypical bounds of a touring rock group – all at home, using amazing gear and straightforward relationship and basic marketing.
Chris started teaching music 12 years ago – and still does out of his home in Athens, GA. He writes and records music that’s available on the web and iTunes, and he consults with businesses and non-profits about recording and audio setup – with skills gained from home recording.
He writes the following article about how he’s used recording and mixing skills to provide unseen (unheard?) value to his church and community. Here’s Chris…
We have many fine musicians in our fellowship, which affords them the opportunity to ‘hear what’s going on out there’ when they’re not on the rotation…. Recently during a worship set, I saw one of our guitarists walking around, pausing at various spots in the room. This was strange to me as I’d never seen him do this before. I’m pretty sure he was checking to see if it sounded different in different spots…
True: the mix will sound ‘different’ at various locations in your worship room.
True: even if your system is set up in an ‘okay’ manner, the mix should still be similar at those various locations.
True: musicians have a tendency to want to hear things mixed …differently than non-musicians.
Okay back to the story….on this particular day and on this particular song, the violinist was absolutely going for it, but sadly I couldn’t hear him. Oh, I could see that he was playing something wonderful, but there was no audio to match–the mix was Bass/Drums, with a little bit of Vocals thrown in….minimal Acoustic, minimal Electric, absolutely no Violin. Even still, many hands were raised, many voices were raised, many eyes were closed, and I saw a few tears too.
I love the Church…particularly the Athens Vineyard. I love the people. I love the response to the Spirit, the spontaneousness, and the diligence to seek the Truth.
But I must confess that many times (and at many different houses of worship) my ‘musicianship’ has hindered my ‘congregational worship-ness’. Yes, even with ‘bad audio’ worship DOES happen. But, what more could be happening with good audio?
I am simply reminding us that the skill-set of who we have behind the Board is just as important as the skill-sets of those who are on stage. The sound person’s level of humility and willingness to learn is paramount to what we musicians are wanting to accomplish week after week. To place a non-audio-discerning person at the helm of all those controls is …frustrating.
Yes, we will all of us, mix a band with different levels of volume and EQ application. But when a Sound Person cannot hear that a vital instrument is simply not in the mix, what do you do about that?
In our volunteer-based journey as both leaders and followers, we would do well to remember… Willingness-To-Serve is a wonderfully amazing blessing to the entire congregation when it is coupled with Serving-In-A-Skill-That-You-Are-Willing-To-Improve.
Ultimately, on this particular worship day, I had to tell myself that there was no violin. After I personally resolved to mismatch my eyes and ears, I had a great time singing to the King.
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