Summer is an interesting time in the life of a church. Between seasonal activities and vacations, you just never know who is going to be around! In trying to schedule music and tech teams each week, sometimes I have to get a little more creative over the summer. (I actually like this because it means people are taking time to rest and get away!) This past Sunday was one such week. But rather than see it as an obstacle, we took an opportunity to try something new.
We use click tracks virtually every Sunday with our music set. In our context, this is an audio file, either purchased or made by me, which has a metronome in the left channel and some pads, strings, or other extra instruments in the right. The metronome is routed to the drummer’s headphones and my in ear monitors. The side with the enhancements is then treated like any other instrument and played in the room. This setup not only allows us to keep things in tempo, but we can sync with video elements and/or add extra parts that I cannot play from the piano while trying to lead the song vocally. It’s rare for us to use prominent instruments in the click track, but that’s exactly what we did this past Sunday.
I didn’t have a drummer or electric guitarist available this week. With a fully acoustic set coming in a couple weeks, I wanted to try a new iPad app which I had recommended to our Celebrate Recovery ministry for adding specific instruments. We used the “Worship Band In Hand” app via my iPad to add some electric guitar and drums into the mix. Could we have led worship without those sounds? Absolutely. But I wanted to see if we could add a little extra enhancement to the mix.
So, what was the verdict? I actually thought it worked well! I would never want to use it as a replacement for an actual person, but it definitely added a little more energy and interest to the overall mix. We had to change the key and format of some of the songs used because the app doesn’t allow much flexibility in those areas, but we’re used to being very precise with format because of already using click tracks each week. I can see this being especially beneficial in smaller gatherings like a prayer meeting.
Actually taking risks (no matter how large or small) and doing this type of experiment is far more important to me than the actual results of this particular case. It’s so easy to play it safe and stay within the familiar. Whether they work out or not, I like these experiments a lot more once I’m done with them!