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Tip #4: Clickety Clack Click Track

Up until recently (within the last few years), my worship team did not utilize a click track during worship services. We had been to a few conferences in which various people recommended using them, but the logistics of actually making it happen seemed a little unattainable for us at the time. Our church spent a long time without a building and so we were playing the old set up/tear down game each Sunday. We didn't want to have a lot of complexity with our band setup since complexity usually equates to lost time. In addition, some of the members of the team had bad experiences with click tracks in the past and didn't seem super excited about going there again. Because we didn't play to a click track, we relied on the drummer to keep us moving a long. This was fine except for when we were moving from a very fast song to a very slow song or God forbid a song with a different time signature. I have to chuckle thinking about the times when the band started a 3/4 song as if it were 4/4 and then tried to sing the lyrics. Our tempos drifted around quite a bit despite our best efforts. I can remember a couple of songs that started really fast, but then moved into half time sections followed by really fast sections. By the time we reached the end of the song, it felt like we were moving in slow motion because we weren't able to jump back into the original tempo. At one point, I realized we could have our click track by connecting a metronome as an additional track on our sound board and then making it so the click could only be heard in our ear buds. This is another reason why having the in ear systems is important. It's difficult to use a click track with old fashioned speaker monitors (you don't want the congregation to hear the click track). Initially, I just hooked up the metronome during practice so people could get used to it. We all struggled a bit, but in a short time everyone was playing with impeccable timing. At this point, we started using it during services. I remember one Sunday, this guy I knew to be an excellent Jazz drummer came up after the service and gave great compliments to the band. I had to laugh knowing that in this guy's mind "Good = Consistent Timing," so I knew the click track was there to stay. This is another place where we make use of ChordMaestro since it can produce click tracks for whatever song is on the screen. This is nice because we just set the tempo for each individual song and then create a "Set List" for Sundays that have the songs in the appropriate order. For us, the drummer starts the click track for each song which isn't super difficult since they just have to hit the space bar on the laptop. Once the band is used to playing with a click track, then you can use ChordMaestro to record the timing of page transitions so you don't have to manually control the page changes with a foot pedal. This frees the band up during services since they know the right lyrics/chords will be on the screen at any given time.

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