29 Worship Tools for Under $29, Part 2
By Jon Nicol
#4: Worship Backing Band
I’ve started actively exploring loops in worship. You might believe that you already use loops in worship as you think about your whack-job worship team members. That’s where I was a couple years ago. I found out it wasn’t referring to the mental and emotional health (or lack thereof) of my musicians.
“Loops” are kind of a catch-all term (depending who you’re talking to), that could mean a backing track with instrumental enhancements, a guide track with voice instructions or just a click.
Over the next weeks and months, we’ll talk more about using loops and defining these. But if you want to know more NOW, go check out Loop Community. But a warning—if you’ve never used loops before, it’s a bit overwhelming. You’ll want to bring your befuddled brain back here to read the rest of this.
I’ve been using drum loops for years to create scratch recording of songs I’ve written and reference recordings for my team. When I discovered that most of my favorite worship artists used loops and guide tracks to get the live sound they were getting, I became intrigued and started to dig into it.
My early explorations led me to believe I needed Ableton Live, a MacBook, a midi foot-controller, and a band that could play spot on with a click. The latter led me to almost give up. But I found there are several other options that will help me (and my team) ease into this level of loop use.
One of the coolest options is Worship Backing Band. Marie from Musicademy was kind enough to let me try out the full version of it. Within two minutes of playing with it, I realized this tool has multiple applications:
Use it as a practice tool for musicians to learn their parts.
With a push of a button or slide of a fader, you can isolate or accentuate any of the instrument or vocal tracks. Not only will this help people learn their parts, it will clearly communicate to your “over-players” that they are, well, over-playing.
Use it as an instrumental enhancement for a full band.
Got drums, bass, piano, a couple guitars, and the vocal parts covered. But what about that cool synth pad in the background? Cut all the other instruments out and leave that one in.
Use it to replace missing instruments.
Bass player’s wife is having a baby. He’s out for at least a couple of weeks. Rather than force the keyboard player to abuse her left hand pounding the low end, use Backing Band.
Use it just for the guide and click tracks for a tighter sound on Sunday.
You can remove all the instruments and just use the click track (or natural click, which is a light shaker) and the voice cue.*
Use it to teach your team how to play with a click.
If your team has never played with a click or metronome, this a stellar tool to learn on. It’s not as harsh as a electronic metronome pumped through the sound system. And the voice cue can help keep everyone going to the same place.
So that’s what you can do with it, now here are two more pieces of good news: the price and the “ease of use.”
The Worship Backing Band Player is only $19. I demo’d it before I realized how much it cost. When I saw the less than $20 price-point, I was blown away.
The Backing Band song library is pretty extensive. They have over a hundred songs – many are on the top of the CCLI list. At this writing, they run $8.99 a piece. For many church budgets, that might seem expensive. But seeing what goes into each recording, it’s not bad buy.
If cost is an issue, consider just buying one or two songs to get your team used to Backing Band. Once they get turned on to it, your band members will probably offer to buy additional songs.
Ease of Use
The Worship Backing Band Player is a browser-based program, but you don’t need to be online to make it work. I’m running it at this moment on Google Chrome while I blog in Firefox.
The interface is straight forward. If you can operate iTunes, you can run Backing Band. Each instrument is set up with stereo fader controls. This allows you to mix the instrument either in the house, the monitors, neither, or both. And each track has a mute and a solo button (which plays only that instrument) for even greater control.
So let’s bottom line this, for less than $29, you can get the player and have enough left over to pick up a multi-track song.
And to make it even better, Marie Page at Musicademy has given me a discount to pass on to you. You can get 10% off your Worship Backing Band player or song purchases if you use the code WORSHIPTEAM. This is limited to the first 100 customers and only good until the end of February.
Check out this video for an overview, and head over to WorshipBackingBand.com for even more info.
*I love the voice cue. It’s an “English chap” counting in and cueing the changes. Apologies to my British friends, but you have to understand that when we Americans hear a British accent, we usually begin to think of Monty Python bits or 007 movies. Please forgive us. We know your country has so more to offer than Holy Grail quotes and cheesy Bond-quips. But we are certainly grateful for those two British imports.
February 2, 2012Tweet