If you are a performing musician or serve in house of worship or simply preparing yourself for a big gig, this article is suitable for you with the purpose of carry out an effective stage rehearsal. With a proper understanding, you can minimize a lots of problem that would arise during this stage. There are even some problem that you may not aware too. Follow these steps
Stage should be well prepared and wired by audio team before the rehearsal begin. It would be a great courtesy if musician can come earlier and help a little. Setting up a stage is no easy task and involve a lot of labor work and time consuming. If you are a drummer, simply come earlier to setup and tune your drum because you are the only person that knows your own setting. Same goes with others.
This work is to ensure all the audio input are connect correctly into respective mixer’s channel. In most cases, the crew can do this without the presence of musicians. Instruments such as keyboard, drum and microphone are easier to check but as for guitar, bass and any other extra input such as laptop, drum machine, D.I box are harder to check without its instrument. If musician are presence, they can help by providing them the sound source for them to do a line check. But please be aware that line check is not the same as sound check. As soon as the signal available, you must stop playing your instrument as the engineer now need to move on to check another line. Your silence will help.
This is the time where sound engineer will EQ your sound starting with drum. Each drum toms and cymbals are EQ differently according to taste, environment and musical style. At this moment, usually the drummer will be called upon to hit the drum one by one for engineer to tune. It would be a great courtesy if other musicians and singer to wait. Making noise by playing your instruments will only irritate the engineer’s work. Soon they will move on and your turn will come soon. If you still need to tweak your sound, you can do so at low volume. When your turn comes, ensure your sound setting is right. In normal circumstances, drum and guitar require more time while keyboard will need the least amount of time.
In most big stage, the work for ‘line checking’ and ‘sound checking’ will be repeated for stage monitors. This is to ensure that musicians and vocalist are hearing their own sound correctly with adequate volume. The work would be easier and faster if musician can communicate with sound engineer by telling them what you want. Would you like to have your monitor louder or softer? Or is your sound too muddy or too sharp? Vocalist who have a mic on hand can help to communicate by talking through the mic on behalf of musician who doesn’t have a mic. In most cases, the mixing console can be very far from stage. Even yelling wouldn’t be adequate. Remember, if musician and singer don’t tell engineer what you want, engineer will never know.
Now it’s time to play. This is the steps where your engineer will mix all the sounds that comes into mixer. Musicians and vocalist at this step must play and sing out. Do not hold back your volume. If you are holding back, the engineer will not able to mix your sound correctly. Band should focus on fine tuning your sound, ensuring your monitor is well mixed and making sure you can hear yourself and others. If you need any fine tuning, this is the time to raise your hand and fix whatever problem that arise.
Professional band takes very minimal time to sound check. It’s important to not worn yourself down for a long hour rehearsal and then become tired when performing. You want to be at your optimal during the performance. Therefore, your courtesy of giving hand signal, your play-through, your silence and your play-out is at the right time are really helpful not only to engineer but to other musicians and vocalist as well.
It does sounds a little technical here but that’s how it goes if you wanna do your rehearsal professionally. Stage work is still an awesome and satisfying job one can have and there are tonnes of enjoyment during the process. Be sure to enjoy.
11 Sept 2020