A big value at North Point is Invest and Invite. We encourage attenders to invest in relationships and invite people to visit North Point out of those relationships. This philosophy has had a big impact on how we approach our services because you experience things differently sitting in a seat next to someone you care about that you want to make a great impression on. It’s amazing what you notice in these situations that you never noticed before.
Right before I left for vacation, I experienced an interesting twist on this idea. After the panel I sat on at WFX, I had to get back up to North Point because we had rehearsal that night. Without giving it too much thought, I invited all the other engineers from the panel to sit in on rehearsal. A favorite hobby of mine is to visit other church’s rehearsals when I’m out of town. It’s a nice way to find some new ideas on what to do and sometimes what not to do. So I figured maybe some of the guys would like to get a taste of what we do at our midweek rehearsals.
Inviting people to sit in while you’re building a mix is quite a different experience than visiting. Nothing focuses you like having a bunch of close friends and peers you admire and respect standing right behind you while you try and throw a mix together. Something that got talked about a bit over the course of WFX was how musicians can be a little insecure at times and ways we can help them as engineers. Having those guys there reminded me of how much of a musician I am at heart. The best analogy I can think of for this is it’s like walking your mix around the room in its underwear.
In actuality, the night was a good thing. I can’t say it really changed what I do as a result, but I guess I could say I was probably much more aware of all the stuff that I typically do intuitively which made it a good night to check my work. Plus this makes it really hard to phone in things I would typically hold off on fixing until virtual soundcheck or rehearsal on Sunday morning. The most frustrating parts of it were some of the little details I knew I would fix and smooth out the next day when I wasn’t under time constraints and could really isolate some things.
Don’t get me wrong, I could have done the service right after rehearsal if I’d had to, but having the time between rehearsal and showtime to listen back to things and refine things a bit is something I’ve really grown to appreciate over the years. The night was a great way to throw me out of that comfort zone, though, and those shakeups are always good from time to time. It’s just one of those things that will probably make me a better engineer as a result.
So, if you’re looking for an adrenaline shot to your mix focus, try inviting some guys you respect to sit in. One way or the other, it will make things interesting.