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Download The Heart of Technical Excellence epub

by Curt Taipale

Download The Heart of Technical Excellence epub
ISBN: 0979200512
ISBN13: 978-0979200519
Category: Science
Subcategory: Physics
Author: Curt Taipale
Language: English
Publisher: Taipale Media Systems (2007)
ePUB size: 1135 kb
FB2 size: 1831 kb
Rating: 4.2
Votes: 241
Other Formats: mbr lrf mobi doc

I have read a lot of Curt Taipale's material on the web, and though he clearly has decades of experience (and depth of knowledge), his writing style is easy-going and his heart shines through.

That is the key to this book: it addresses the heart of the matter. Non-technical folk need not worry: there is nothing technical here, so don't let the title put you off.

While I am a multi-instrumentalist and vocalist, I also head up the sound ministry at my Church, so I know both sides of the tech vs. musician issues. Being on our worship leaders committee, I am also privy to the concerns that come to the fore when trying to make sure that vision, preaching, and the arts are aligned. Through his approach of addressing the heart, Taipale helps to bring into focus how we should deal with the issues of the heart.

Careful and honest reading of this book will lead to deep introspection: how have our words and actions impacted others? We are all emotional beings, and artists (whether performing or in production) often wear their hearts on their sleeves. If we serve ourselves first, then our service to Christ will be merely incidental -- we should serve Christ above all.

This is a book about sound ministry, so obviously sound is core to its examples. Taipale's approach is applicable to far more than just sound, however, and his practical tips (of which there are many in the book) can easily be adapted to other areas.

That said, I don't agree with everything he recommends as being best practice. For example, musicians can only expect to arrive to a fully set up stage and then leave it like that if the production team (which could be one person) is being paid for it, i.e., if the production team are employees. In most Churches that is not the case, and they shouldn't be surprised if people quit because they have to be there an hour before and an hour after the musicians. As this includes services, it would mean that the sound tech seldom interacts with the rest of the Church community, as when they are sharing over a cup of coffee, s/he is busy rolling cables, packing away equipment, etc. During the week they attend the rehearsals, so often don't make it to a cell meeting. Bear in mind how few sound techs there are relative to musicians, and you see the problem.

In my case I simply put my foot down, and taught our musicians how to set up the stage, how (NOT) to roll cables, etc. As a result, they have a far better understanding of how things work, and many help with basic trouble-shooting instead of standing around, helpless. When everyone arrives on time, we can go from a completely empty stage to basic sound check completed for 6 musicians in about 30 minutes. That is only possible if everyone pitches in. It does an amazing job of building team spirit if those who complete sooner (e.g. vocalists) help those whose set-up is more complex.

All-in-all, I am glad I bought and read the book. My prayer is that our pastors and the rest of the worship leaders will do the same.
One of my favorite descriptions of an ideal approach to the technical aspects of Worship Ministry comes from a supplement to a message series preached by John Piper about two decades ago. Here is his explanation of his great term "undistracting excellence":

"We will try to sing and play and pray and preach in such a way that people's attention will not be diverted from the substance by shoddy ministry nor by excessive finesse, elegance, or refinement. Natural, undistracting excellence will let the truth and beauty of God shine through. We will invest in equipment good enough to be undistracting in transmitting heartfelt truth."

I love this concept, and the heart behind it. As a worship pastor, I want to guide our church to avoid the opposite errors of overemphasis on technical excellence—many churches put on such an elaborate production that the gospel can get lost in all the "show"—and lack of emphasis that produces what Piper calls "shoddy ministry"... which, sadly, describes far more churches than those guilty of "excessive finesse."

But how to accomplish this? How do we get the idea of undistracting excellence from philosophy to practice? There are plenty of technical manuals which focus on the "how to" of technical production, and most books on worship philosophy include some token reference to the importance of media ministries, but there aren't a lot of resources out there which "connect the dots" between technical excellence and heartfelt worship in a way that is useful and appealing both to technically-minded media workers and to artistically-minded worship musicians.

Enter Curt Taipale.

This small book has proved to be a great resource for me, as I seek to give leadership in an area of worship ministry in which my skills and experience lag far behind my musical expertise.  Taipale's writing style and obvious heart for worship make it easy for a guy like me to absorb the necessary technical jargon that will help be better communicate my vision for our church's worship ministry with those who work in the audio, video, and lighting areas. And his decades of expertise working with churches of all sizes and levels of media production give him a unique perspective to communicate a pastoral vision of media ministry to those workers in a way that no technical manual can.

The best parts of the book are his chapters on the relationship between the Worship Leader and the Sound Guy. I'm grateful to have Ray Stephens, our church's Director of Media Ministries, as my "wingman," and am glad we were both able to read this book recently. I pray this book will help us strengthen our relationship, and, in turn, to strengthen the overall media ministry at FBC Powell in a way that leads us toward undistracting excellence week in and week out.

If you're a pastor, worship leader, or church media technician, I highly recommend grabbing a copy of this book.
Great Read for anyone dealing with Church sound systems
I have long wished that this book were available new via Amazon, as it fills a void in the understanding of both church leaders and technical staff and volunteers about the role of technical support for modern church services. It successfully introduces the policies, procedures, attitudes, habits, and knowledge that are necessary to establish and care for a technical ministry. Few authors are more qualified to write about this subject than Curt Taipale, as he is one of the original church technical directors, and is now a consultant who helps to establish and train technical ministries, as well as properly design worship facilities and their mission-critical systems. For decades now, Curt has been one of the leading educators in this field, through making live presentations, writing articles for print magazines and various websites, and through hosting the largest online community for church technical folks, Church Soundcheck.

The book in question is NOT a technical manual, but rather a management and spiritual growth handbook. While in places Taipale tiptoes around issues that I would prefer be stated more directly and authoritatively, he nevertheless succeeds in making the reader aware of common leadership mistakes in the technical side of church operations, and in helping nontechnical church personnel to see the needs of those who directly serve and advocate for the worship experience of the congregation.

I would not hesitate to recommend that this book be read by every pastor, music director, creative director, and technician who serves in a church, anywhere. While it is usually only available via Amazon Marketplace as a used book, it is readily available from the author's website.