Day 3

Movember Day 3

The mo is starting to grow a bit now - still looks a bit like a shadow but I will post some pictures over the weekend to keep a visual track on how things are going!

Move for Movember

movember

The cycling distance is up to where it needs to be and is currently at 24.6 kilometers (just over 15 miles).

The effect of this has not yet been felt in terms of lifting mood or giving more energy but to be honest it is a Friday evening after a very long week.

I have enjoyed having the target to work to and I guess that there has been some positive impact on motivation.

Feel free to contact me if you want to talk about things - no matter how things are going, there's always time to chat. Feel free to pop over to my Movember page and sponsor me if you would like to support this amazing cause.

November becomes Movember

The month of November is a time when I have the opportunity to annoy those closest to me, but also to raise some important funds to help with men's health through the charity 'Movember'.

This year I have taken on the challenge of growing a moustache. After all, this the most important requirement for those wishing to take part in raising money for this cause.

Movember - The Cause

The Movember cause is a global organisation that aims to provide help and support for testicular cancer, prostrate cancer as well as mental health and suicide prevention.

By 2030, we’ll reduce the number of men dying prematurely by 25%.
A pledge made by Movember

To help the cause this year I have decided to grow a 'trucker' moustache and have pledged to move for Movember. My aim is to use the exercise bike I have to cycle a total of 150 miles over the month of November (This is equal to 5 miles per day). As someone that doesn't usually move a great deal, this is quite a hefty challenge. But the point behind it is going to be far reaching for me, and hopefully, for others through the posts I create in this blog.

I am going to look at the effect of regular exercise in terms of mood, motivation and energy levels. Exercise does of course have a large number of benefits in terms of weight loss, but there can be so many other benefits to mood and a feeling of well being.

Please feel free to add any comments relating to this post below, or contact me personally to talk. Feel free to add your donation to my MoBro page!

Move for Movember

Movember help men suffering with mental health problems and support men from dying too young from suicide or other mental health problems.

So after my full, clean shave on November 1st 2017 I have begun the process of exercising and growing my Mo!

movember

Distance travelled - the beginning!

movember

Distance travelled - end of session 1!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The distance travelled is measured in kilometers, and 1km is equal to 0.62 miles. So after day two, my total milage is currently 8 miles. Two miles short but well on the way!

Time to Prepare!

Time to prepare!

Having a brand new instrument and not really playing it is a bit frustrating. I know that it is important to prepare, and as the old adage goes

"to fail to prepare is to prepare to fail" (invented possibly by an Ofsted inspector to wind up teachers...)

I know that the idea is that we are not supposed to start things until 9th July. However, I can’t help myself as I just want to get on and play it! I have refrained from having a go at it. I've stopped myself from doing everything apart from the basic setup and putting the instrument together. At least this way I can hit the ground running when I start on 9th July. This is for a great cause and I want to make sure that I raise some much needed funding to help support the great work Home Start do.

So far I have done the following things:

  • bought a viola
  • installed the bridge
  • tuned the strings
  • got some rosin onto the bow
  • downloaded trinity grade 1 specification
  • bought Abracadabra Viola (it has all of the grade 1 pieces and is a tutor book too)
  • worked out what scales and arpeggios I will need to do for the exam

I have also looked at a few free tutor books online for any help/guidance I can use when I start to play for real.

How things Feel

I love learning new instruments and this one is so different to what I am used to. I am a little bit nervous about playing it for the first time in front of someone as I have no idea what the sound that comes out will be like. Is watching videos on YouTube about bow hold before July 9th cheating?

In terms of making sure I play regularly and develop good intonation I think it is going to be important to play along with another instrument or multitrack my own playing. I've created the beginnings of a practice schedule so that I make sure I get to the right level - I am of course after a distinction for my Grade 1!

I am checking that the instrument is holding its tuning and that it settles down well. I am not sure if most people will borrow an instrument for this challenge as I know some instruments are very expensive to buy. Also, what musician needs yet another instrument in their house? I already have a couple of trumpets, trombones, euphonium, tuba, ukuleles, guitars & bass guitars to name but a few. I now have a viola to add to the list!

The Schedule

So the timetable for completion on this challenge is as follows:

 

 

Date Week Number Tasks
July 9th Week 1 1st group lesson in Oxford & Complete step 1 and step 2 in Abracadabra
July 16th Week 2 Complete steps 3 & 4 in Abracadabra
July 23rd Week 3 Complete steps 5 & 6 in Abracadabra & G Major Scale
July 30th Week 4 Complete step 7 in Abracadabra & D + G Major Scale
August 6th Week 5 Complete steps 8 & 9 in Abracadabra & D + G Major Scale
August 13th Week 6 Complete steps 11, 12 & 13 in Abracadabra & D + G Major Scale & Edelweiss
August 20th Week 7 Complete steps 14 + 15 in Abracadabra + D + G Major Scale + Arpeggio + Edelweiss + Edelweiss, We’re off to see the Wizard and Summer is icumen in
August 27th Week 8 Complete steps 16 & 17 in Abracadabra & D + G Major Scale & Arpeggio & Edelweiss & Edelweiss, We’re off to see the Wizard and Summer is icumen in
September 3rd Week 9 Complete steps 18, 19 & 20 in Abracadabra & D, G & C Major Scale & Arpeggio & Edelweiss, We’re off to see the Wizard and Summer is icumen in
September 10th Last Day! Grade 1 Exam in Oxford & 1st Concert in Oxford

I am not sure how I have ended up having 9 weeks as I am sure that there is only supposed to be 8 weeks to do this challenge. Maybe I will need to relook at things if I need to reduce it all to just 8 weeks.

Prepare for the Future

I am already beginning to contemplate the idea of trying to do the same with grade 2. I wonder if that could be done in 8 weeks too? Could this mean that there is the potential of being able to play at grade 5 standard (not just three pieces learned well) within just 40 weeks?

I know that does appear to be a little forward looking and quite optimistic in terms of the time i have available to practice and play. Surely this is all part of the challenge of learning an instrument as an adult. It's also a good way to remind myself of the challenges that my students face on a daily basis. How is it possible to carve out the time needed to work on playing an instrument when things are already so very hectic?

Hopefully, I will find a way through this. More importantly, I'll be able to provide a better answer to my students that struggle to fit in practice time. My usual answer is ‘well, I’m very busy too and I know it can sometimes be tricky, but the only way to get better is to make the time’. Although this may be true, it isn’t very helpful for a 10 year old and especially unhelpful for an adult!

To donate for the wonderful charity Home Start, please visit my MyDonate page.

Creative Confidence

Creative Confidence

shaun-humphries-creative-paintingHuman beings have evolved and developed at an alarming rate. When you consider that we have only existed for such a small amount of time on this planet, things have changed and developed significantly. This is due to the creative ability of the human mind.

We have the ability to think, learn, adapt and change. Human beings can think creatively, we can complete very complex motor tasks and invent a variety of tools to help us do things more easily. People can learn to drive different vehicles, communicate in different languages, have emotional responses to music, pictures, poems and other art forms. We can describe, with some degree of eloquence, how we feel or how something makes us feel.

Yet so many people feel that they are not creative, or have little creative capacity. How can this be so? Why does it seem that the highest achievements in artistic creativity can only really be afforded to so very few? Why is it that many are happy with a life where their creative ability is something to be shunned, embarrassed of or thought of as not good enough? How, as a race with potentially amazing and unbelievable creative achievements, can we still be in a place where colour of skin or sexual orientation causes problems? Creativity and tolerance is surely what humanity should have developed to aspire towards?

Creative Evolution

shaun-humphries-creative-world in handsSo, I am not suggesting that human kind should have by now evolved into a utopia of tranquility - that would surely not be a very creative environment either! But there must be a middle ground where care, concern, belief and hope can prosper above hatred, segregation, persecution and suffering. Can this be avoided through discussion and creative thinking?

Now there is obviously a need for balance. Things must co-exist in a somewhat uneasy dichotomy. Where there is joy, there needs to be suffering. You simply can't really have one without the other, how do you know joy unless you have experienced suffering?

Maybe the middle ground exists within us all. The problem isn't that we haven't the capacity for creativity, understanding or empathy, maybe the problem is that we are becoming insular and focused on immediate cause and effect.

We often spend much of our time focusing on the small stuff and this small stuff can become all encompassing. So much of modern day involves so very little of worth. For example, walk down any street in most towns of the UK and you will see a plethora of people glued to a small phone screen. They may well be checking social media, texting, playing games or even actually talking to someone. But this is a way of connecting to a virtual existence and removing the mind from an actual existence.

Virtual Existence Versus Actual Existence

shaun-humphries-creative-mobile technologyWhen I pick my children up from their primary school at home time, the number of parents that can be seen looking at and checking their mobile phones and blithely ignoring what their children are telling them about their day is alarming.

Why has it become normal to think of someone's projection of the best bits of their life on Facebook as their actual life?

Now, please don't get me wrong, I am not trying to say that everyone should get rid of their mobile phones or close down all of their social media accounts. That is a pointless argument and won't really solve anything in the long run anyway. The mobile phone is an incredibly creative and inspiring device and social media has done lots of good for so many people in terms of building lost connections and communicating a variety of ideas.

The problem is actually people...

The Problem?

The real problem is that people have begun to lose that inner middle ground, that inner filter and the idea that it is actually possible to interpret and think for themselves. The news is now reported with such bias and political leaning that it is tantamount to telling us about what is happening, how we should feel about it and who we should be blaming for everything.

At the minute the big things are Brexit and Trump (not necessarily in that order). But to my mind, the real world issues are much to do with the loss and suffering in the middle East than any of that other nonsense. What about this as an idea? The major elected figures in the world could stop postulating and pontificating about the small stuff. They could actually start to listen, think, adapt and change in a way that would be significant to so many people.

I fear that this endemic of insular and self-contained societal awareness comes from education, lack of understanding of the real purpose of technology and human advances.

Creative Education

Schools teach children facts and things as well as how to socially conditioned to fit in. There is a real focus on academic achievement and this is of course a good thing. It is important to study maths, language and humanities. Also, there is a real need for the study of art, music, drama, dance and PE. Not just the actual doing of these subjects, but also the appreciation of things.

shaun-humphries-creative-creative keyboardThe appreciation and awareness of things seems to be sorely lacking within lots of the population. For example, the number of people you can probably think of that say that they hate Classical music. Can they really mean that? Do they actually know that they hate all Classical music? Are they aware that some of what they refer to as Classical music is not really Classical? Do they realise they're referring to music of the Renaissance, Baroque, Romantic and of the 20th/21st centuries? Do people really hate, or not understand, modern art or sculpture? Is the mind really that closed to creative beauty or esoteric design?

Creativity, Appreciation & Understanding

The status-quo of the population is to shut down and believe that they are not creative. To feel they don't have the capacity to understand something new or challenging. Modern day focus is on easily achieved instant gratification.

People have the ability to be kind, caring, compassionate and considerate. There is the ability to be self-contained, insular and distant. Sometimes these things choose us. Sometimes we allow them to manifest our personality with little awareness of what has occurred.

Human kind has managed to adapt and evolve a mobile device originally intended to talk to people on that can:

  • surf the web
  • send text and pictures
  • take really good pictures
  • communicate with a watch or a car
  • be a pedometer
  • a games machine
  • etc.

Following that, then invent machines to build the device so it's easy and cheap to make with good profit margins.  Why is it then that the mobile phone is so often being used in a dull, non-informative and uncreative way?

So, Where now?

Maybe, with a little creative thinking we could adapt and develop into a creative society. Maybe, there might even be the possibility of human kind acting with an awareness of humanity...

Practice Schedule

Your 30 Minute Practice Schedule

shaun-humphries-clock-scheduleHere is a useful infographic to help schedule your practice time. Scheduling your time will give you the chance to make your practice really effective.

Sometimes it can be difficult to fit in regular practice. Life can simply just get in the way. Following a schedule will make your time more productive and will give you a real sense of achievement. The more you feel that you have achieved the more value you will be able to place on the time that you have spent.

This is, of course, only a template. The real specifics for your schedule are completely under your control. Work out what you want to achieve and when you want to achieve it by. This will then lead you to focus on the things that really matter to you.

As Emmet Fox once said,

What you think upon grows. Whatever you allow to occupy your mind you magnify in your life.

 

Daily PracticeSchedule by Shaun Humphries

Which goes in first – the milk or the water?

shaun-humphries-life-coach-thinkThe age old question that seems to have so much importance in the office, or when entertaining - which goes in first when you’re making a cup of tea? What do you think? There are so many ways of explaining and describing how you make your most perfect cuppa and I am not even sure if there really is a definitive answer that is proven to be the best.

I have to ask, however. Does it really make that much difference?

Now all of the tea making fraternity and aficionados may well be going in to a complete meltdown, but to be completely honest it probably makes very little difference to the end product and even the most discernible palette would probably struggle to tell the difference between the outcome of either method.

So what then is the point in asking I hear you cry?

Simply because this highlights a problem that can so easily creep into every day life leading to any (or indeed every) action, task or job becoming heavy, laborious and another little thing that makes the day feel as though it is out of control.

What really matters?

In the grand scheme of things, a good, or even a bad, cup of tea can make little or no difference to our day or it can become the most unbelievable pinnacle of a debilitating meltdown. Surely these two opposites can not be caused by just a cup of tea?

Well, no of course not!

However, the way in which we perceive, think about or view things can have the most profound effect on the way in which we can live our days, weeks, months or even years.

Mindset can make or break every situation and the smallest or most banal thing can become the catalyst for a day of great disappointment, or (if you allow it) something that can bring a feeling of joy and gratitude. Our mindset is something that we can develop and learn to work with*.

Often it is natural to assume the worst of any situation or other people and indeed it can be a way of avoiding disappointment or give a feeling of surprise or a lift when things turn out far better than expected. But surely this is not the most satisfying way to live. Believing that the worst will happen will also generally put the worst option at the front of the queue. If you believe that bad things will happen they generally happen as your behaviour will be inline with your way of thinking or belief.

On the other hand, if you expectation is that things will turn out well and that a situation will be all you want and more it is much more likely to turn out as you anticipated. Of course, there will be times when you may get disappointed or let down but surely this must be better than feeling downbeat about things?

Think about it: A Bad or Good thing...

shaun-humphries-life-coach-thinkMost things happen for a reason. Getting a new job may be as much a cause for a celebration as not getting a job which is just not right for you. Getting a pay rise may seem like a great thing, but then not having additional responsibilities, increased paperwork and great expectations from employers may also be equally as good.

Try to think about a few situations that you have been in lately that caused you to react in a particular way. What could you have changed about your thinking that may have been more useful? How could you allow yourself to see the positive benefits from something that initially looks as though it may have all gone wrong?

This change in thinking can lead to many more positive experiences and a way of developing a range of new opportunities.

Remember, don’t sweat the small stuff.

Have a bad cup of tea and enjoy it - especially if someone else has taken the time and effort to make it for you.

Shaun Humphries

If you want some immediate help, please check out my hypnotherapy tracks for relaxation and developing mindset. All tracks are free of charge - do contact me if you would like anything more specific and I can create, record and send you your own personalised hypnotherapy session.

 

*Of course if you are suffering with a clinical mental health issue this is something you will need to develop inline with your doctor and/or counsellor. Although this article will provide useful comments or insights it is not intended to be used as a substitute for personalised, medical support by a trained practitioner.

Gratitude – the 5 Ws!

Developing the Gratitude Feeling...

shaun-humphries gratitudeBeing aware of and acknowledging gratitude is something that has become very popular. Keeping a gratitude journal or diary can provide a really powerful experience. Some people have found the process of thinking about the things in their own lives that they can be grateful for have given the a chance to focus on something positive. This positive focus doesn't just exist at the time the diary or journal is completed, but can also provide a really positive experience days, weeks and even months later.

If you have thought about keeping a gratitude diary, but didn't really know what this involved, here is a quick guide using the 5 Ws why, when, what, where an how.

The thing that you will obviously need to bear in mind when you decide to do this is that it is important to commit to keeping the diary going regularly.

The First W - Why?

It has been said many times that it is much better for you to be thankful for the things that you have rather than to focus on the things that you don't have. However, gratitude can go a lot deeper than this. The above quote focuses on tangible and physical things and there is so much more to life and living than just things.

There are many important things such as love, the feeling of safety, belonging and self-awareness to name but a few. These things are often over looked and forgotten about in the overly consumer based society we live in. Especially as we approach Christmas and there is such a focus everywhere on advertising and getting the latest toy, gadget or must have thing.

Being able to see the joy in everyday things that already exist can give a really settled feeling and can help you to feel so much more grounded. This can lead to a greater sense of calm and allow you to feel so much happier. This feeling can improve your day and make you feel so much more positive about the things you do, the things you don't do and the way in which you interact with others.

Of course this does not negate the fact that you may well want to get new things and improve you standard of living. However, it does make sure that the focus is on what you have and not only the dreams of the things you would like, but the journey toward achieving those things. This thinking can help to enhance not only the feeling of owning, completing or experiencing the things you really want, but also the process of achievement.

The Second W - When?

shaun-humphries gratitudeIt is a really good idea to do this regularly for the effect to actually work. Some people find journaling every day a real chore and it just doesn't sit well with them. there are obviously lots of different ways around this, but the key thing is to do what works best for you. There is lots and lots of advice available, including downloadable templates and so on but if you find this difficult to work with on a daily basis then it may be worth looking for alternatives.

It may be that you want to look at this from a little more distance and write something once a week. As long as the process is completed regularly you should find that the benefits of completing a Gratitude Diary completely outweigh any initial concerns of fears of being able to commit to writing things down.

If the thought of having to work on this for a long time is something that really puts you off, then it might be worth having a go at a 30 day Gratitude Challenge. A template for this is available here. This is a completely free template and is to provide you with something to start with. Often getting started seems to be the most tricky part. If you would prefer to have this in .pdf format, please click here.

Try to set a time aside every day to do this. If you make this part of your daily routine, you will find that it can become a habit much more easily. When would be the best time to start? If you are thinking of starting a gratitude diary, then the right time is probably now!

The Third W - What?

What you store in your Gratitude Diary and the things you decide to be grateful for are entirely up to you. It is a really good idea to make sure that you start off with the easy things and allow yourself to grow into the process over time.

You might initially write things such as:

  • I am grateful for my wife and children.
  • I am grateful for my job.
  • I am grateful for my home and the safety it provides.

It is important to make sure that you avoid writing the same thing twice in the diary so after a few days or week you may feel that things become a little harder, but the process of working through that is really where the true value of keeping a diary lies.

The Fourth W - Where?

shaun-humphries gratitudeThere are so many ways of recording, writing down and storing your Gratitude Diary. You could use a physical copy of something that you print out and write on, you could use a notebook or a notepad. Some people enjoy the process of writing things and stepping away from a tablet, phone or computer.

You could use the templates on the computer and type out things. This keeps everything stored electronically and can help you to keep things private. Programs such as Word, Pages, Excel, Number and Acrobat Reader allow you to password the file to increase security and keep it away from people that you don't wish to read what you have written.

There is also a massive range of Apps that you can download to your tablet or phone that can be free, with paid options or ones that you may need to pay a small charge for. Many of the apps give you a chance to follow a set pattern of questions (that can be customised) and also to share your diary with other applications such as dropbox or Evernote. This means that you can synchronise what you write about across different devices and can access things more easily depending on where you are.

I personally use an App that I can have on my iPad and iPhone that I can sync with Evernote. This is very useful for the way in which I prefer to do things. The choice is obviously completely yours, but be prepared to go with it and make changes the way in which you work. If it doesn't feel quite right, then it probably isn't. It is always better to allow yourself some space and room to make changes. After all the purpose of writing a Gratitude Diary is because you want to, just for you. The time and space you make for yourself to do this is yours - you can choose to make it inspiring and fulfilling!

The Fifth W - Who?

This is really easy, when you think about it. The purpose of doing this is very simple. Remember that this diary will give you an enormous amount of pleasure when you read back through the things you have written, and evoke powerful and positive memories.

Not only that, the process of keeping the diary will give you a chance to have some time and space just for you in which to be reflective and develop your self awareness. All very important things in this busy, hi-tech and at time relentless society in which we can find ourselves.

Final thoughts...

shaun-humphries gratitudeHopefully this has inspired you to begin your own Gratitude Diary, or even consider alternative ways of recording those moments in your life where you know things are just as hey should be - even if only for a moment.

The act of Gratitude is very powerful and can allow even the slightest, seemingly insignificant, events you experience to become truly life changing and totally inspiring. How a go at the 30 Day Gratitude Challenge and make a start today! (Click here for a .pdf version to print) Make a comment below to let us know that you have made a start and how it's all going.

Shaun Humphries

Develop your delivery – tame the microphone!

Microphone Fear

Many people wSpeakerho are a little less experienced when speaking in public often worry about using a microphone and feel that it will cause more issues than it solves. However, generally speaking with the use of a microphone has many positives that really outweigh any concerns.

Developing good microphone technique is important and can really help you to sound at your best. There are a number of things to be aware of that don’t require lots of specialist knowledge or the need to have the understanding of a sound technician!

Microphone Technique

It is a good idea to know the microphone you are using and have had experience using it before making your speech. Try to get some time in the room before your audience arrives just to try out the microphone and make sure everything is working as it should.

Dynamic MicrophoneThere are a wide variety of microphones available and they can all produce very different results. The two main types that you will most likely come across are dynamic and condenser microphones. Very generally speaking, dynamic microphones are great for close up work and can often take quite a large amount of sound volume (signal).

 

Condenser microphones are a little more delicate and areAKG C451B great for picking up sounds from more of a distance. There are two types of condenser microphone and they are small diaphragm and large diaphragm.

 

Holding a microphoneWhen you are using a dynamic microphone, it is a good idea to hold the microphone around 6-8” from your face. If possible, it is best to use a stand or lectern. If you are reading a speech this will most likely be the most preferred way of working.

 

Make sure that if you are using a powerpoint or display on a computer you are situated so that you do not need to keep turning around as this can look quite unprofessional. Aim to have a remote control presenter and pointer as this will allow you to move freely from the computer, highlight important things and really focus on delivering your amazing content. However, if you are planning on moving around, then it would be best to have a wireless microphone. These can be handheld microphones or have a Lavalier or clip on microphone.

ATLav Microphone

Using a wireless mic will allow the freedom to move around a lot more which is very useful if you are not using a script. If you want to use your own, you can get a single frequency setup for around £35. This is obviously an entry level package but should work perfectly well.

When using a clip on microphone it is important to make sure that you wear suitable clothing that the clip will attach to well. Also, it should be able to be clipped somewhere that will not have fabric or hair brushing against it as this will cause a great deal of noise and reduce sound quality.

If you are having to set up the audio equipment yourself, you can try the following ideas for getting a good sound. Place the microphone at a distance from your mouth. A good way of getting the right sort of distance is to push your chin into your chest and allow a minimum of the space of your fist. In very general term, the best way to set up your volume is to have the gain turned down to around 50% to 60% and then the volume adjusted up or down as necessary. then adjust your EQ (if available) by altering high frequency, mid frequency and low frequencies.

Common Problems and how to avoid them:

Sibilance - this is the horrible hissing sound you can get from saying the ’s’, ’t' and ’z’ sounds. They can often be quite piercing and uncomfortable to listen to. Usually this problem occurs at the 5kHz to 8kHz frequency range. You can help to reduce this issue by moving a little further away from the microphone. You could also aim the microphone down a little so that it points towards your throat.

Plosives - this is the explosive sounds that are produced from ‘p’ and ‘b’ sounds. This can be reduced by moving the microphone away a little more, reducing the gain (not the volume!), adjusting the squelch (if you are using a wireless microphone) and pointing the microphone toward the bridge of your nose.

Microphone BlogPoor EQ - The speaking voice has different frequency ranges. Understanding how these work can help you to understand how the EQ can be altered to make the best of the sound of your voice. Vowel sounds usually happen between 350Hz and 2kHz. These sounds have the most power and energy. Consonant sound usually happen between 1.5Hz and 4kHz. These sounds are really important to help people understand what is being said.

It isn’t really possible to give a definitive guide that will work for everybody and every environment and it is important to use your ears and go with a best fit at the time. Please remember that if somethings works really well once, there is no guarantee that it will work brilliantly again in different circumstances.

- A good start to adjusting EQ would be to turn down the low frequencies a little bit. This will remove the boominess of the sound. It is important not to take off too much as this will remove the depth of the sound.
- If you want to add further clarity to the sound you could turn up the 1Khz to 5KHz range.
- If you want to increase the brightness of the sound you can turn up the 3Khz to 6Khz range.

Feedback - To avoid getting a feedback loop, aim to place the speakers in front of the microphone that you are using, or at a good height above the microphone on good microphone stands. Always avoid pointing the microphone directly at the speakers and make sure when you hold the microphone you keep your hand away from the metal guard at the top. It is best to avoid cupping the microphone as this can cause lots of noise in the treble register which can be very uncomfortable for your listeners. Adjusting the gain settings (or squelch with a wireless microphone) will also be helpful for reducing the signal input.

Distortion - If you are noticing that the sound of your voice is distorting it could be a problem with the microphone being to close to your mouth, having the gain turned up too high or problems with leads/speakers. The best advice when facing any audio problems is to start with the easiest things to fix and then move through a list. Firstly, check the distance of the microphone to see if this makes things better. Then check the gain levels to see if this resolves the problem. If this does not fix the problem, look at checking to see if there is a problem with the speakers by playing a CD or audio from a computer or phone. If this works well then you will know that the leads and speakers are all working fine and that the issue lies with the microphone equipment that you are using. If this doesn’t work well then there could be a problem with the leads or speakers. If you are using a venue where this is all installed, it is time to speak to the person in charge of the audio equipment - if you damage the equipment you could be liable for repair or replacement so it’s best to leave it alone. If it your own equipment, check the leads by replacing one at a time. If the speakers are damaged, the only way to fix this will be to replace them - not great if you are just about to start you speech or presentation!

When thinking about needing to adjust or change settings, the most important thing you can remember is the brilliant saying,

‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it'

More problems can be caused by over tinkering or adjustment so generally speaking it is always best to leave well only!

What experiences have you had in the past that you really learned from?

Shaun Humphries