Behind the Scenes - The Sound Check

Sherrill Fulghum By Sherrill Fulghum, 29th Aug 2014 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL
Posted in Wikinut>Celebrities>Music

An insight into what goes on before that favourite band goes on the stage.

The Sound Check Song

Every music fan knows about what goes on when their favourite artist or band hits the stage – an awesome performance!

But how did that show get to be so awesome?

There's an old musicians joke that asks how do you get to Carnegie Hall? The answer; practice man practice. IT all begins with the practice; but once the practice becomes one song, then two songs, and then a bunch of songs; it's time to play...and even perform.

While performing is sometimes viewed as the best part of being a musician; what goes on in preparation of that performance can be a wild blast.

Before the first notes are sounded on the stage and the crowd arrives, the instruments, amps, microphones, and various other equipment must be set up and tested to make sure it all works and works correctly. This test is called a sound check. Some musicians view this time as some serious business, working to get the sound mix and levels just right.

But...for others it iis time to have some fun playing around with licks and riffs. After each person and instrument has been checked, the final phase of the sound check is for the entire group to play together for a minute or two to make sure the sound levels all come together right. The “sound check” song may be just that – a song dedicated to checking the sound, it may be a song that is planned for the show, or it may be an all out jam that gets the job done with a lot of fun included.

To an untrained observer watching a sound check in progress, it may seem like organized chaos with a bunch of mucking about...and in a sense they would be right. But the chaos really is organized, each move has a purpose; as does the mucking about. So why not have a spot of fun while working?

For an artist or band on tour the sound check could otherwise easily become boring and mundane; so some levity is necessary to make the task less boring.

And who knows...all that mucking about could be the beginning of the next big hit song.

If a rock star's microphone doesn't sound just right, it is probably because someone else did the sound check on that microphone – big rock stars don't do their own sound checks.


Bands, Musicians, Performing Music, Sound Check, Soundcheck

Meet the author

author avatar Sherrill Fulghum
Sherrill is an award winning journalist with a speciality in music and entertainment. She is also a photographer.

Sherril is a writer for thedailyvoice

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author avatar Retired
29th Aug 2014 (#)

Real singers don't need all those gizmos. A properly trained opera singer can reach the back of Carnegie Hall without any amplification at all, and over the top of an orchestra as well.

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author avatar HacBao
31st Aug 2014 (#)

I agree with your comments .

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author avatar Sherrill Fulghum
31st Aug 2014 (#)

1. Places like Carnegie Hall are built for musical performances and have better acoustics than a general use venue.
2. Opera does use mics but they are boom mics hidden up in the rafters - and also require a sound check.
3. Even "real" singers like Barbra Streisand, Johnny Mathis, and Andrea Bocelli need sound checks, they just have someone else doing it for them.

I wrote this article after watching a band getting ready for a show at a local venue.

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