Training Assistants


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One of the reasons that the local community theatre group brings in their own engineer for running wirelesses is my theatre had a bad run of audio people for several years. These guys were the sort that need a feedback destroyer inserted on the mains. Over the past two years I think I've started to regain their trust. I want to keep it that way for the years to come. The only way I can do this is through careful training of my succesor and setting some ethical standards.

This is what prompted me to write The Sound Engineers Guide to Training an Assistant. I wrote the introduction and stopped. Since 95% of what I know is self-learned, I don't know where to start since I've had little formal training in the more advanced things (ie. EQ, compression, FX). Where do you guys think I should go with this? I would like to include some of the basic physics, which seems like it should go first, but what should I put after that?
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Training good audio techs is really hard to do. There a skills you can teach basic proficiency in, but there is a level of art that has to be learned by doing. Unfortunately, its the things you can't really teach like attention to detail and having a good ear that make the difference between a mediocre tech and a great tech. It's 1/3 skill, 1/3 art, 1/3 work ethic. While I agree that a good "how to guide" will help the training process, it's hard to teach those most important traits of a good tech from a book.

I guess my only helpful thought is to start your manual talking about the character/personality traits of a good sound technician. Then do your detailed training manual. Then conclude your book with all the hands on practical advice you have to offer about developing your art... the apprenticeship chapter. Good luck and be sure to post you results we would all love to see what you come up with.
Training assistants (or replacements) by written documentation is hard... very hard. It's difficult to know what they already know, what they think they know and what they have no idea about. The best recommendation I can make is to be involved with them in their training in a very hands-on manner. If you are looking for other well-written, informative resources, check out [URL='"]"The Sound Reinforcement Handbook"[/URL] by Gary Davis and Ralph Jones. This book does a GREAT job explaining the physics, technology and practice that goes into everyday sound reinforcement.
I should have been more specific. This is not something for someone to read and be able to mix. It's a guide to assist the experienced engineer in training his assistant, sort of a teacher's version of a textbook. I've read the Sound Reinforcement Handbook cover to cover several times, but I don't want to make a synopsis of it.
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yes this would be a great thing to have

I myself am about to undertake the challange of teaching sound to someone
sounds like a great thing
I wrote a book similar to this back in College. Most of my book was about the equipment, how to hook it up, and how to use it in a basic idea. I also created check sheets for me when I was showing people how to use the equipment. The problem with teaching sound is that it is very subjective. Each person hears something different. The best way is to have them do a couple of shows and stand next to them showing them what you would do and letting them do it. Sound is one of thoses things that you just have to do it to learn it.
Hughesie89 said:
I myself am about to undertake the challange of teaching sound to someone
sounds like a great thing

So am I, it's looking like it could be quite a challenge.

The hard thing about this is that some of the people I am going to be teaching also have no musical training to use as base knowledge.

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