You know one of the most important things I've learned over the years is to never stop learning. The moment you think you know everything is the moment you become obsolete. Especially in the world of live sound. There is always more to learn, new technology, new skills, and other ways of doing things.
I want to tell you a little story about how always being open to learning helped me improve my mixing skills dramatically overnight.
Several years ago I was hired to take over as FOH Engineer for the Legendary rock band STYX. The now late and dearly missed Gary Loizzo had been mixing STYX for as long as I had been doing sound, well over two decades and he was ready to retire. Gary had also Produced and Engineered most of STYX recordings over the course of their career.
A little side note here- STYX was one of my all time favorite bands when I was growing up so this was a dream gig for me!
While Gary was handing over his mixing duties to me, I had the glorious opportunity to spend a few days working closely with him.
It’s not very often that I get to work side by side with other engineers of equal or greater caliber. So this was a special treat. We talked about our own particular techniques and observed how as the approach may be different, the result was the same- a great mix. But the best part for me was being able to watch, listen, and really learn from an incredibly talented engineer who was more than happy to share his knowledge.
I learned some fantastic new and easier ways to do things that I been doing for years. I also developed an even stronger capacity for critical listening, which allowed me to really fine-tune my mixes. In three short days, my mixing skills improved far more dramatically than they had in the previous three years!
Had I been a much younger engineer, still honing my craft and insecure in my abilities, all of this would have been lost on me. I would have been too committed to proving myself and my skills, that I would have not even seen the incredible knowledge being handed to me.
The point of all this is that there is always more to learn. If you keep yourself open to opportunities when they present themselves, you can make some considerable improvements to your skills and knowledge rather quickly.