Stop the fight between music & tech

Podcast Episode 1 (Listen Above)

If you’re like most people who have served at a church, either on the music team, or on the production/technical team, you have witnessed the tension and even hostility that can exist between music and tech people. Unfortunately, in many contexts, this unhealthy divide is left unchecked and teams are rendered ineffective, or worse, people serving in those contexts become the collateral damage from this conflict.
Yet many people we’ve spoken to have resigned themselves to this as fact, feeling as if they cannot overcome the seemly polar opposites between these two teams.

In today’s podcast episode, we have a conversation with the team about this topic. Each person has a different perspective and a different role on these various teams. Music people, tech people, creatives and engineers; we sit down to discuss just how you work through these problems.

Here are a few takeaways:

- It’s really more about types of people than different functions. Left-brain-dominant people simply process the world differently than right-brain-dominant people. When we fail to understand these differences, and instead insist that everyone think like us, we have trouble.

There are a few dangerous mindsets that people can fall into, regardless of which type of person they are:

“I’m more important than you”
I’ve seen this played out in several scenarios, with the mindset going both ways. I’ve seen musicians feel that they should have the ability to dictate because they are the “on stage talent” or because they outrank the tech on the org chart. I’ve also seen the tech display this using their view of themselves as more knowledgeable, more sacrificing in time, or a number of other ways. When either side thinks they are more important, there is trouble ahead.

“We’re on different teams”
Though this is sometimes the case, using it as a way to say “I don’t have to listen to you” or “this is your work, not mine” creates a hostile environment. The more often we can create a connection between these people (understanding there are different personalities and mindsets that will always create some differences), the better. Often one of the best ways to create this is through serving together. Encourage the band to help with setup/teardown if possible, encourage the tech to join a rehearsal or creative conversation. Create an environment where open feedback both directions is welcomed.

“You don’t have logic”
Mostly, this tends to come from tech to music. Engineers and left-brained people tend to always think in terms of black and white facts. If they can’t see the benefit in something, the other person is just wrong. Tech teams should be developed to have awareness of this in themselves and understand that sometimes logic isn’t the only factor.

“You’re here to serve me”
Mostly, this tends to come from music to tech. Circumstances can sometimes create a message that says tech should serve musicians all the time – they leave stuff out and assume tech will put it away. They communicate in a demanding manner that communicates that they should be served. And yes, that is often the function, but many actions can be taken to change the mindset. A general awareness of how they could help out, clean up after themselves etc can go a long way.


- Much of this comes down to good communication. The more effort you can put in to clearly and kindly communicating with the whole of the team, the more issues you will avoid.

- Relationships are key. Take every opportunity to build relational connections with your team.

- Don’t get mad on principle. Learn the environment you serve in. If you are strong at organization, but your music counterparts are not, don’t purposefully wait and put them in a position to fail. Be willing to be the others missing parts

- Respect the other’s time. Showing up late, not using time productively, setting up when you should have been ready and making people wait, etc communicates that you don’t care about the others time.

- Mutual trust. Know that changes are inevitable. Be willing to trust the other if they say a change is necessary. Be willing to trust the other if they say no and mean it. Be willing to see the other’s point of view.



What do you think about this topic? Does your team struggle with in this area? We’d love to hear from you in the comments!


Meet the contributors to today’s discussion:

Jon Cook
Worship and Creative Arts Director

Jeremiah Halstead
Team Development Coordinator

Kyle Kinda
Technical Director

Dan Kinda
Lighting Designer
(Dan doesn’t tweet)

Lauren Parker
Projects Coordinator

Brandon McClinsey
Public Communications Coordinator

Chris Kish
Broadcast Coordinator

Jon Griffiths
Live Events Coordinator

Peter Arcara
Lead Designer

Author: Jon Cook

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