Do You Hear What I Hear?

When I lead worship for our Saturday night Focus service here at church, I use in-ear monitors [Thanks Jeff Lyon for the hook-up]. In-ear monitors are those headphone-type things you see a lot of famous musicians use. No, I'm not trying to be a rock and roll stud for Jesus. It's all rather practical. For those of you unfamiliar with how it all works, let me explain.

You need monitors to hear what your band is playing. Monitors are those speakers that you see facing the band on the stage. From those speakers, the sound techs give you a mix of all the instruments and vocals so everyone can hear each other and stay together. The problem we've been having with our Focus service is that having five or six monitors on the stage makes it extremely loud up there. In order to tone this down a bit, I've gone to using these in ear monitors, which take the place of one of these speakers, mixing the sound into those headphones. Our drummer Brian Coates [yeah, I gave you a shout-out] uses them as well. It's still loud on stage, but there are two less monitors up there blaring out music, so we're making inroads.

I've been struggling here and there as I've been getting used to using the in-ear monitors. Included in the mix, with all the vocals, drums, bass and electric guitars, is the sound of a click track that Brian uses to help stay on rhythm; it sounds a little like the ticking clock sound from the TV show "24." So with all that happening in your ears, you have to really concentrate in order to keep in sync [Bye, Bye, Bye]. For instance, during the past two weeks I've been in the middle of a song and couldn't hear the sound of the drums. This tends to freak me out because if you lose the drums, you can get way off and look and sound ridiculous. I know, I always look ridiculous, but that's another posting.

So last night, as we were practicing, I lost the drums again. I wanted to make sure we nailed so I immediately stopped the band and half-yelled to Jeff and John Handel, who were mixing the sound at the soundboard, "OK, guys. There it happened again! I CANNOT HEAR THE DRUMS PLAYING!" I turned around and looked at Brian who calmly said, "I wasn't playing. That's the part where the drummer doesn't play." Jeff and John back at the soundboard took it all in stride. They just smiled and laughed. They understand that I tend to yell like an idiot when things freak me out. And they still like me.

So thanks Jeff and John for putting up with me when you're mixing the sound. You take a lot of crap and do some incredible work. I'll try to keep my diva attitude at home on Saturday nights.