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A degree program to create you

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  • A degree program to create you

    If you could devise a B.A. program to create future worship technical directors, what would it look like? Would you include classes in set design, moving light programming, web authoring, power point? What should students learn about time management and pleasing the client(s), (Pastor, Music Minister, Congregation). If you could go back to school and take a course or whole course of study, what would it be. This is more than just an intellectual exercise. I took a sabattical from teaching scenic and lighting design at a state college to serve as media director for my church while we searched for a replacement for the guy who retired. We found a 22 year old graduate with a video production degree who had worked his way through school at a concert lighting and sound rental company. He essentially had experience in big sound, big lighting, and big video. He worked out well. I am now teaching at California Baptist University and am contemplating devising a degree program to shape future worship technical directors. I'm not sure there is a need or if there would be any interest from our students for such a program, but I thought I would go to the folks already doing it to ask if you had to create "you" in your capacity as technical director (all the things you find yourself in charge of day to day), what courses would you require.

  • #2
    We recently had to rewrite our job descriptions along with qualifications and stuff like that. I've recently thought about some of this.

    I think that experience is probably as important as anything as a TD. Hands on experience with gear seems to be way more important than book knowledge. That being said, knowledge of EQs, frequencies and all the other science involved is also a great asset.

    Also, I think it would be important to identify what you mean by TD. At our church, as TD, I am over all design, service production, audio, video, lighting, IT and stuff like that. Qualifications of a TD can be extremely varied.

    Just some thoughts.
    Travis Paulding,
    Production & Technology Director, St. Simons Community Church


    • #3
      degree Program

      I agree. In practice, the Worship TD or Media Director, or whatever the job title, the "work" is quite varied and spans a wide range of diciplines, from set design, lighting design, FOH mixing, video editing, systems design/setup/maintenance, etc. For the year I held such a position, I came to see the job as making everyone's (Music Minister, Missions Minister, Outreach Productions Director, Children's Choir Directors, etc) dream event come true.


      • #4

        I do not have a degree but I have a lot of God given talents. I am a Music Director at a church. I sing and play keyboard, organ, flute. I have an excellent ear for music. I have learned to adjust sound by singing and tweeking it to my needs. I have also learned to hear sound from listening to Michael W. Smith and Amy Grant. If you have ever gone to a Michael W. Smith concert, listen to his impeccable sound. It is crisp, clear and very easy to understand.

        If I were to have a class for worship technical people, it would be a new kind of sound technician class. As I said I never had a class so I don't know really what they already teach. But from what I have seen at most concerts and some churches that I've gone to this is what I would teach them from my experiences.

        It appears that people love bass. I love bass just as much as the next person. But when I am singing and adjusting the sound, there is a fine line for bass. I have a handheld mic and go to the back at the soundboard. If you put too much bass in, it can tend to throw your voice off a bit sometimes. My husband likes Nascar and I listen to them sing before the race. Sometimes there voices are off and I just think "ewww". Then I wonder, if they backed up the bass just a bit, if it would make a difference. In my experience with my singing that has been the case with me. I'd be interested to see if it would help in a case like that. Too much bass can sometimes also create a popping noise in the mic when you say your b's and p's. So put your bass in but then if you hear the voices being off key just a bit or you hear popping noises, back the bass up a just a bit until it sounds more natural.

        Also I would teach that noise doesn't replace sound. As a worship technician you shouldn't be trying to reach a certain "noise" level but you should be trying to reach a certain "worship sound" level. I know there are people who like ear piercing music but when it gets to the point where it ruins your ears, or where it is uncomfortable to listen to it takes away from what you are trying to do. I used to sing in a group. The guy who did our sound had a handheld device that measured the decibils of sound. As we sang, he would walk around the room and measure the amount of sound that was at different places in the building. This is part of how he determined where he would set our sound volume.

        You want a nice blend of bass and treble so you can still hear the words. Listen to Michael W. Smith sometime and hopefully you will understand what I am trying to explain. He just has a crispness in his voice where you can totally understand what he is singing. Even if he pumped up the volume, he still has the right mixture of sound, bass, treble, etc.

        I would also teach that the music should not be louder than the voices. As a worship technician you want to be able to hear the message that you are sharing. When the instrumentation becomes louder than the voices, I often wonder why they even need to sing if you can't really hear them.

        I do think that this kind of degree would be very beneficial. It would give the person a well rounded education on everything they would need in this area of worship technician. I would include the Power Point and in that class reinforce to be just a step ahead when changing to the next screen. I also see so many times when they don't change the screen until you are on the word and then you miss the first few words. That training would be good for this position.

        Anyway, as I said, I don't have a degree, but these are opinions of mine that have really helped in my music career, and I think if people used these ideas they could really help in their music too.
        Last edited by Wrapped in Jesus Love!; 02-28-2009, 11:21 AM.


        • #5
          From my experience, there are 8 major categories that a technical director usually functions in, or, they are able to "outsource" to achieve the objective in any of these areas:

          1. Sound reinforcement. This means possessing the skills necessary to mix many different styles of music, the related equipment, and, the ability to train others in this area.

          2. Lighting. This usually includes an understanding of DMX, light rigging techniques, and the many different types of lighting situations and equipment.

          3. Projection/Computer Presentation. A basic understanding of presentation software, graphic design skills for creating compelling designs or logos, and an understanding of aspect ratios/projector basics.

          4. Video Editing/Camera Operation. Final Cut, Adobe Premiere, or some kind of video editing suite training is necessary. Also, camera skills for live production and post production work is necessary as well.

          5. Web/IT. Learning the basics of website management and internal networking operations.

          6. IMAG and Live Camera switching/production. This area is very closely related to Video Editing, but, focuses more on the live production skills.

          7. Set Design and Construction. Learning about safety standards, rigging techniques, materials for construction, operating a lift, creative techniques etc.

          8. Leadership and Volunteer Management. How to train, equip, and schedule volunteers. Also, how to budget for specific ministries and find resources within the local community to make events happen (outsourcing).

          I also think that apprenticeship, or, internship is absolutely necessary. The longer the better. I am a worship leader, but, I work closely with our TD and many of our responsibilities are overlapping. These are the general areas I have found our church needs during any given week.


          • #6
            how long

            Originally posted by llyons View Post
            I am now teaching at California Baptist University and am contemplating devising a degree program to shape future worship technical directors.
            That sounds like it would be a very interesting, fun major. How long til you would start this as a major. I would love to do something like that but feel I am where God wants me to be right now so I don't know that I would do it because of the time, cost and distance from my home.

            But this would be an excellent major for my son.


            • #7
              Degree Program Start

              Thankyou for your comments. We are in the process of writing the curriculum for this new emphasis in the Communications Major here at Cal Baptist University, in Riverside California. The degree could be offered as early as Jan. 2010, but more likely in the Fall of 2010. Watch our websight at Calbaptist.edu for details.


              • #8
                I think a course on Worship Theology would be helpful too. You can learn all of the technical stuff but if you don't have a good, biblical view of 'why' you do what you do, you can tend to be unfocused.
                With a solid philosophy about biblical worship, you can go into any church setting and utilize whatever resources they have to create a fitting atmosphere for worship. JMO
                The Bible college my husband works at is expanding their Worship & Performing Arts program to include a worship leader program. I wish they'd make all of those future worship leaders take the technical classes too.