The other morning I played for a men’s trio in a Sunday school class. The class met in the church auditorium so the men used the microphones. As soon as I started the introduction, I realized that the piano monitor was not on. This meant that I could not hear the vocals through the monitor either. Thankfully, I could see the men enough to read their lips as they sang. Also, I played considerably softer in order to hear them as much as possible.
My natural tendency when I cannot hear the piano through the monitor is to play louder and harder. That physically hurts my hands. My first priority is to follow the vocalists; adjusting the volume of the piano helps to accomplish that goal.
The song went fine and I think we stayed together. The men said they could hear the piano through their monitor. Amazing how a little sound (or the lack thereof) can affect the pianist and vocalists!
Do you have any stories involving sound systems/equipment? I would love to hear them!