Chaos can occur in a multitude of settings. It pops up when a group of players attempt to play together or when a group approaches a craft or new technique from various levels or angles.
Everyone learns from different directions or angles. Some folks are visual and need to see examples. Some take in the information by hearing, while others do better reading instructions or lessons. Others who have been working at a craft for some time may be faced with relearning some proper basics, especially if they are self taught. Others may be learning the craft for the first time and are not encumbered by bad or inhibiting habits.
Another form of chaotic ensemble I have encountered, during my tours as a musician, is the wide variety of folks who are assigned to me. Since the most important thing for me is to accomplish what I need in order to give a solid performance and not contribute to the chaos, I do enjoy working with those who are experienced at sound and set up because we speak the same language – so to speak! If I use particular terms regarding sound, such as discussing eq’s, DI boxes, house sound mixes, or product placement for a show, it is a relief that I am understood and things generally go smoothly since we’re all on the same page.
But sometimes I find myself in settings with some very enthusiastic but inexperienced folks who are new to the business of running a concert series and everyone approaches me from a different angle. They want to do their jobs, but I feel I am listening to several languages at once!
During these occasions I must be the educator and also be very aware there might be sensitivities involved with issuing directions, particularly if I am in a time crunch. Most of the time there are no big issues and my method of proceeding in a flowchart fashion works best. Hopefully those involved can observe, learn, and use this approach in the building up of their series.
As I share insights about good speaker placement, sound mixes and levels, lighting schemes, ways to complete an effective sound check, providing a table and volunteer for the artist’s products, appropriate house sound music prior to the show and intended set lengths, I do so because I want to pass along what I have learned.
The goal is simple. The experience becomes a professional and enjoyable evening of music without stress, worries, or catastrophes.