You know that amazing feeling of turning up on a gig and finding you’re working with an old friend? Imagine that feeling when you are the other side of the world from home! What a fantastic end to the year. Our New Year’s Eve concert this year was a Broadway Gala. Conducted by the legendary David Charles Abell and sung by Simon Keenlyside with Jodie Jacobs with the Prague Philharmonia Orchestra. As much as I love the diversity of productions here, it was great to hear some familiar musical theatre songs. It brought back lots of happy memories from the West End and touring.
This time of year we naturally look back upon our past experiences. A large emphasis during my teacher training was on reflective learning. I was required to keep a reflective journal and keep notes from every lesson that I taught. This was a tall order given the huge amount of lesson planning involved! As tough as it was, it set me off at a great pace into my first teaching year. I found that this intense reflective process meant that I picked up on ineffective teaching habits quickly. I could make assessments of my pupils learning and see how my actions during that lesson helped them- or not!
Back in the world of sound, these same techniques can be applied. Given it is the start of a new year, why not give it a go? You could keep a journal or just take time out of your day to think about how you performed. Here are a few examples:
At the end of a show ask yourself, ‘What went well?’. Don’t go overboard. Just pick two or three things that you were really pleased with and make sure they are specific. For example, you might have been really pleased with the way you EQ’d a particular instrument.
Even better if… This can be dangerous if you are like me and are over critical! So you need to limit yourself to one thing you could improve on. For example, I need to improve my knowledge about dual compression for my next show. Having said that, we are all different. I often meet people who think that they ‘nail’ every show they do. There is always something we can improve on!
Get talking to your colleagues. What do you think they do particularly well? Have you told them lately? Again, make sure you are specific. It’s nice being told that you are ‘great at your job’ but at what precisely?
Find a mentor
I am very lucky to have worked with some very talented sound engineers that have had a very supportive role in my career. One friend in particular has stuck by me through bad and worse. You need these people in your life! In return is there someone you could mentor? Pass on the knowledge.
Reflection is by no means about beating yourself up about what you can’t yet do rather a way to structure self improvement. A pretty nice alternative to New Year’s Resolutions! Happy New Year!
‘Without reflection, we go blindly on our way, creating more unintended consequences, and failing to achieve anything useful.’
Margaret J Wheatley
Clare Hibberd: Clare is a Senior Sound and Broadcast Technician at the Royal Opera House, Muscat. Her blog will focus on resilience and adaptation as a woman in the sound industry including past and present challenges with working abroad.
About Clare: Clare gained her first class bachelors degree at Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. Her career has taken her all over the world, working on some of the most successful (and not so successful) musical theatre productions to come out of the West-End. With the added bonus of recently completing a post graduate teaching certificate, she is now looking to implement teaching and learning programmes for Omani technical trainees as part of a wider Omanisation strategy.