Accidents and mistakes. They are an unavoidable and oftentimes painful part of practically any endeavor. As a infant, one of the first major things everyone has to do is learn how to walk.
Before you can walk (and eventually run) you must stumble and fall. You must crawl off the ground and pick yourself back up until you get it, which can sometimes take you a long and uncomfortable time. Becoming a sound engineer is the same thing.
I’ve struggled at a jazz sound event because I couldn’t get the front of house and monitors to sound right under pressure. As an assistant engineer, I didn’t know my place, made unsolicited suggestions to an outside producer and was excused from the rest of their sessions because of it.
These are just a few examples of painful and downright embarrassing events in my still developing sound career. Sometimes something reminds me of one of those events and I STILL shudder from it. The good news? I’ve learned from it. I’m better for it. And I know better for next time.
The biggest part of growing as a sound engineer is just being able to get back up. As a toddler learning to walk, you don’t have any shame. You don’t feel self conscious about not being able to walk right away.
As an adult, you do feel the sting of failure, and other peoples words get back to you, making it so much harder to overcome. Keep in mind, even the most celebrated engineers have made monumental mistakes and had to try again. What separates them from the others is the ability to learn and overcome.
Go out on a limb. Stretch yourself. Fall down, but learn from it. It’s the only way to get where you want to be.