We started about 2 years ago to shift towards utilizing click tracks in our worship services. It started during rehearsals for an Easter production and has been a staple ever since. I have to admit it hasn’t been the easiest transition for us to make but looking back, it has been one of the best moves we have made as a worship band. The click track is a humbling beast that makes the best musicians feel like rookies at times. I remember sitting at my piano as a kid with that wooden triangle of doom clicking at me as I practiced for my recital. We have not always had the greatest success with the click but it has become a comforting friend more than the nagging foe it use to be. I have come to love the many benefits of playing with a click track.
5 Reasons Why Worship Bands Should Use Click Tracks
- It keeps the band together. Worship bands – ususally – do not have the opportunity to play together as much as they might like. And we all know the more you play together the tighter the band is. But the click track can help this problem. For the same reason a click i used in the studio, one should be used live. If someone is slightly in front of or behind the beat, it can muddy up the mix – and remember a better mix starts at the stage.
- It controls the tempo. You may say duh! That would be the definition of a click track. But when a band becomes very familiar with a particular song, they can easily speed up the tempo of that song. It can become less of a challenge or boring when you are so familiar with a song. But after watching performances where tempo felt right, it was clear that it was way too fast. Remember the congregation, they need to be able to be comfortable with the song.
- The advent of Visual Worship. As visual worship becomes more and more prevalent in churches, bands will need to be able to meet the call of technology. Timing creative videos with live music is something that connects both aurally and visually thus allowing the worshipper to engage in a new and exciting ways. If your band can stay with a click track, you can open up new possibilities for your worship service and congregation.
- It allows for loops, lo-fi drum samples, and if needed filler instruments to provide sounds you normally cannot provide with a live band. If you are morally oppose to having instruments other than live (and I can understand that argument) then this is not the point for you. But if you need pads, strings, horns, or even the occasional staple instrument then playing with a click enables you to do this with pre-recorded tracks and loops.
- It makes you better musicians. We need to continually sharpen our skills and strive to be better at our craft. Playing and practicing with a click will do just that, ask any studio musician. It only benefits your ability to feel the beat and stick with it. Again, remember the best musicians in the world can at times be humbled by a click track.
I hope you found this helpful. There are some minor pitfalls and common misconceptions about playing with a click track. I will address them in a later post. For now I hope you are encourage to venture in to new areas of worship music or are encouraged in the path you are already taking. Playing with a click track is something I have come to view as vital to our worship services. Do you play with a click? If so was it a challenge getting your team to play with one? What disadvantages do you see?
The tempo is the suitcase. If the suitcase is too small, everything is completely wrinkled. If the tempo is too fast, everything becomes so scrambled you can’t understand it. – Daniel Barenboim