Walking up to the stage for a sound check is the start and base of your performance. Getting this right comes with experience, stage discipline, and correct preparation. We will discuss a few key aspects of how to prepare yourself and your band correctly for this process so that you can perform with confidence.
Before you use or implement any of the tips, please greet your sound engineer and his staff. Just being a nice person can go a very long way. They work with a lot of people and they remember the good musicians and the polite people they met. Being able to network well as a musician will pay off later in your career. I’ve met very rude sound engineers that changed their attitudes immediately once they received a piece of kindness, positivity, and feeling acknowledged. Isn’t this how we all would like to feel in our jobs?
With that being said, here are 9 tips to make your and the other performers’ experience a pleasant one:
9 Key Soundcheck Tips for Bands
- Be punctual for your soundcheck slot. The most important thing to understand is that there is a running schedule. Mostly it is a rush to get there and then wait for your turn.
- Bring extra instrument cables in case of cable scratches. If yours scratches, it needs to be replaced. Not all sound engineers have spare instrument cables.
- Tune your instrument beforehand. You will save plenty of time for everyone to get on stage ready to start.
- Listen carefully to the instructions through the monitors. Discipline is part of the game here and we all need to play together to get the sound levels to balance. Wait for your turn to play before you start strumming.
- Play with a similar intensity you would during your performance. Sound engineers usually start by checking the drums and it is important to play each individual drum with the same intensity as you will perform. Failing to do so will result in the drums outperforming the other instruments and vocals during your performance.
- Vocal check with ONE-TWO. The reason we check with one-two is that these two words contain all the vowels, consonants, and diphthongs needed for a sound engineer to balance the vocals between the highs, lows, and mid-range sounds.
- Have a sound check song ready. This is a song that the band feels comfortable in and where you have the confidence to perform. Make sure that all the levels sound good during this performance. Play the first verse and chorus; check that you can hear all the needed vocals and instruments on your monitor. You will leave the sound check with confidence and ready for your performance.
- The acoustic of the venue improves when the venue is filled with people. This is perhaps a small motivation to keep in mind when you are not 100% satisfied with the acoustic of a venue.
- Make no adjustments to your instruments or amps after the sound check. This could mess up the levels again and everyone looks to the sound engineer to improve the levels yet again, which could result in lowering the volume on the adjusted instrument or amp.
There might be some more technical details that we will go into during a later stage, but this is the core of sound check. Once you manage to implement these details into your pre-performance routine, you will be ready for any size of performance stage by sticking to the basics.
I hope that this will help you for your next gig. If you have any other important tips to share, please add them in the comments so that I can share them in a future post.
Until next time, Rock On!