The Art of a Sound Check

Go beyond “check one, two!” Tips that help participants feel comfortable and sound their best

Many young musicians have never performed on stage in front of others and the experience can be overwhelming. Give you participants opportunities to discuss and practice seven tips to have an effective soundcheck. Topics include helping your participants understand the importance of being friendly, on time, prepared, aware, assertive, realistic, and respectful.  

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How to… 

Before a performance, schedule a soundcheck rehearsal to discuss and practice the seven tips below. Use your personal performance experience to discuss why these proper etiquette during a soundcheck is important and how it will ultimately benefit their performance and sound. After the discussion, run practice soundchecks to help participants understand what makes an effective soundcheck. Help reduce stress and make the process fun until everyone is comfortable with their sound.  

Seven Tips for an Effective Soundcheck: 

  • Be friendly: No egos. Everyone is learning, trying their best, and wants you to sound your best.
  • Be on time: Whether you’re part of a band or solo act, there may be others waiting for you to check. 
  • Be prepared: Do you have all your gear? Are you in tune? Are you mentally prepared?  
  • Be aware: Watch the front of house sound engineer for any instructions or questions.
  • Be assertive: Can hear yourself and others? Having other issues? Speak up (in a nice way). 
  • Be realistic: Don’t be shy! Perform like it’s the show – this helps engineer get accurate level settings. 
  • Be respectful: Don’t distract others while they are sound checking by talking or playing an instrument.

Specific soundcheck tips for the band: 

  • Singers: 
    • Want to sound your best? Sing an actual song (don’t just repeat, “check 1, 2…”)
    • Sing close to the mic (the sound engineer will turn your volume up or down when needed) 
    • Please DON’T tap the mic! 
    • Pointing the mic at monitors or speakers will cause feedback 
  • Instrumentalists: 
    • Set your stage level volume on your amp/instrument so that you can hear yourself
    • Please don’t adjust knobs or levels when you’re done checking (unless asked)
    • Sound engineers will make you louder/softer for the audience as needed
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