All week I've been giving advice to young sound engineers. The first three posts have dealt with our knowledge, attitudes and what to do when we make mistakes. Today (finally!) we get to talk about gear--well, sort of.
#4: Be Prepared And Know Your Equipment
This is a big one for me. While it's true that most sound boards have the same functions, the way they go about it can be totally different. Call me a geek, but each time I've started mixing in a new church, I've gone online, downloaded and read--cover to cover--the manual for the mixer. I also like to get with the worship leader and find out what the requirements for the weekend are. How many inputs, what type, monitors, special requests, all that stuff. I build input lists and make sure I know where and how everything is routed.
I don't care how many services you've mixed at your current church or venue; walking into a new setting requires a whole new level of effort on your part to get things going smoothly and quickly. If the goal is to take good care of the band, you had better know the gear and how to use it before you get there.
Most worship leaders I know would be happy to spend some time playing and singing for you during the week so you can get comfortable with the equipment. Take them up on that.
Show up early, line check everything and make sure the stage is read to go before the band arrives. Don't underestimate the possibilities of things going wrong and overestimate your ability to fix them.