Friday, December 9, 2022


Road Signs – Get ready


By Mike Sokol
As many of you already know, I’m an adjunct professor at Shenandoah Conservatory, where I teach live and recorded sound production. Classes begin again next week after spring break and an interlude from the blizzard, and I’m busy working on syllabi and schedules, as well as doing sound system installations for my own business.

While I’ll mostly have juniors and seniors this semester, I’ll have at least a few freshmen and sophomores for the first time, and they’ll need an attitude adjustment when it comes to how early they need to show up for a gig.

My basic rules are as follows:
  • If you’re on time, you’re late…
  • If you’re early, you’re on time…
  • If you’re late, you’re fired…
Seems simple enough, doesn’t it? I was taught very early not to waste other people’s time because time was a precious thing. So being late for a gig was about the worst thing you could do. Even being on time wasn’t good enough since it often meant you were slowly ramping up and slowing down the process. And I especially hate setting up a sound system and troubleshooting a problem in front of a client. Nope, I like to be early, many times by an hour or more. That way I can take my time to get everything set up, do a leisurely system test, and be 100% ready to go when the band hits the door. If I’m done an hour early without any issues, then my computer is ready for me to catch up on some paperwork or I can just chill out. But if something goes wrong I have an extra hour to sort it out before everything goes sideways.
Nope, I like to be early for one very simple reason … It makes me look good. While I’ve certainly navigated my share of sound system failures broadcasting to millions of viewers with seconds to go, I don’t trust my technical chops THAT much. I see this same sort of “last minute” attitude in many of the churches where I teach audio production. The praise team rolls in 5 minutes before they need to start. There’s last minute copying of lyrics and chord charts. And nobody even knows what a sound check is … they just start playing. Getting ready for any gig is serious business, and being on time (early) shows that you respect both the crew and other musicians. So please, try to be the first one there next time, and set a good example by being completely ready to play. Maybe some of your early timing will rub off on the others, and that’s certainly a good thing.
Mike Sokol (not usually late)

Copyright Mike Sokol 2015 – All Rights Reserved

Let’s play safe out there….

Mike Sokol is an electrical and professional sound expert with 40 years in the industry. Visit for more electrical safety tips. His excellent book RV Electrical Safety is available at For more info on Mike’s qualifications as an electrical expert, click here.


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Phil Atterbery
4 years ago

So all your volume knobs go to . . . TWELVE. I enjoy your electrical articles. Keep up the good writing.

4 years ago

great advice!!

4 years ago

This article has absolutely nothing to do with road signs….