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12 Tips for Using Click Tracks in Worship

Or, how my team survived aural water-boarding…

A few weeks back I wrote about The Most Loved (And Hated) Member of My Team: the click track.

I won’t go into all the background of how we got to the point of using it all the time, but here’s a quick review of why:

Since “the band” every Sunday is actually a different combination of rotating instruments, we don’t have the luxury of putting in the hours and days and months it takes to get tight.

I went on to say that,

If you have rotating musicians, you know that creating a tight sound is tough. The first step in playing tight is playing in time. We leverage the click to keep us all together.

The carpenter uses a level.metronome

The baker uses a measuring cup.

The accountant uses a calculator.

Even the freehand of an artist paints within the confines of a canvas.

Our tool for tightness is the click track.

So I wanted to follow up that post with 12 practical tips for using a click:

1. Start simple. 
Just use a metronome that has a headphone jack out and the the ability to subdivide (we’ll get to that in a minute). Don’t try to learn Ableton or other loops based stuff. Just learn to play with a click first.

2. Sell the right people.
There will be a backlash (See #10). So as you’re starting down this path, get key members of your team to buy in and help support the decision to use a click.

3. Learn this mantra: “Better to be together than right.” 
I’m not sure it’s the exact words of the venerable Carl Albrecht, drummer extraordinaire with Paul Baloche and others. But I heard him say it at a worship conference as he was exhorting drummers to turn off the click if the band gets too far off. His point: You can stay with the click and be “right,” but it won’t sound good. Just get back with the team and hold to the tempo as best as you can.

4. Learn how to bail. 
Because of #3, the person operating the metronome (most likely the drummer) needs to know how to shut if off quick in those moments of irreversible dragging and rushing.

5. Subdivide. 
It is SOO much easier to stay on tempo if there is a subdivision of the beat. For most songs, having the eighths in is enough. For really slow songs, sixteenths will give you that extra connection between downbeats that you need. Most modern digital metronomes do this.

6. Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep.
Warning: the beeping of most metronomes can cause the loss of one’s sanctification. And if the volume is too loud in your in-ears, that aural water-boarding turns into a sonic icepick traveling horizontally through your head.

If you can find something that makes a more natural woodblock sound, great. However, the click does need to be a high enough pitch so it won’t get lost in the mix.

Just a side note: I actually prefer my iPhone’s $4 Tempo Advance metronome app’s click sound to one on our far more expensive Boss DB60.

7. Make individual practice a priority.
If the team practices with a click on their own, the learning curve will go so much faster. And don’t forget to “strongly encourage” your singers to practice with a click. They don’t like to admit it, but vocalists are some of the biggest culprits of tempo issues. Many are used to the fluid flow of a choir, or the accommodating accompaniment of the lone piano player.

8. Use only in rehearsal (at first).
Don’t push your team too far, too fast. Start in rehearsals where train wrecks are far less fatal. But don’t stay in practice-mode forever. Have a ‘go live’ date and stick to it.

9. Require everyone on in-ears to turn up the click.
Occasionally, I plug into another team member’s Aviom (personal monitor mixer) and wonder what in the world they’re singing/playing too (other than themselves). If a player is on in-ears (and that’s my whole team now), they’re strongly urged to turn up the click in their ears.

10. Be prepared for emotional outbursts.
Yes, really. For the uninitiated, playing to a click is akin to hearing your voice recorded for the first time. Most of us don’t realize how poor our timing truly is. The click track is this full-length, unforgiving, magnifying mirror that shows every last tempo blemish and blackhead.

Its ugly.

But that’s why people need to practice on their own.

11. Put tempo markings on your charts.
If you want people to practice on their own with a click, you’d better add tempo markings to the charts. And don’t be afraid to stray from the original recording tempos. Find what feels right for your team.

12. Keep after it.
When you go live for the first time, don’t get discouraged that you had to turn it off in the middle of EVERY song. That’s OK. Keep working on it at the next rehearsal, and try again the next Sunday.

I don’t remember when the first Sunday was that we finally didn’t have to turn the click off. But now, we’ve been doing it long enough that I don’t remember the last time we had to stop it in a service.

I’m telling you, the click track has really made us better, and better than we actually are. The experience of playing with a click has given us all a better sense of time. And the unifying factor of the click really does make us tighter as a band.

For discussion – how have you migrated to using a click? Any other points and tips for using a metronome or click with your team?

If you’re just starting down this path, any questions this post didn’t answer?

(This article was originally posted on WorshipTeamCoach.com. Used by permission.)

Turn WorshipPlanning.com into a Desktop App

The below is a great post by one of our awesome users – Chad Smith!
Chad is Worship & Media Pastor of Bethany Church, a multi-site church with 4 campuses in Northern NJ. You can find out more about them at www.bethanychurch.tv and www.facebook.com/BethanyRecords

If your worship ministry is anything like mine, you spend a great deal of time on WorshipPlanning.com. With multiple campuses, teams, & services it seems I’m visiting WP dozens of times a day for various reasons. It’s not hard to imagine that for many of us, it stays open as a tab in our browser pretty much all day long.

But with several open tabs, covering several sites, and needing to access the site so often, WP can sometimes get lost in the browser white-noise. Further, with features that work more like an app than a website, it would be great if the features of WP could be accessed like a stand alone app.

That’s where Fluid comes in (Mac OSX only). Fluid allows you take WorshipPlanning.com )or any other web application) and essentially turn it into a native desktop app.

Here’s how easy: Enter the site URL (www.worshipplanning.com), give it a name, and finally give it THIS WP icon. Click “Create” and, faster than Chris Tomlin can sing a high G, you’re done.

Using Fluid to create a WP app

You can place the new WorshipPlanning app in the dock and it’s ready at hand when ever you need it. No more sifting through browser windows, tabs or even separate desktop screens.

One benefit I didn’t expect: I use WP on my laptop a great deal and with the limited screen real estate, I cherish every pixel I can give to my apps. WP running as a Fluid app gives me back all of the browser toolbar real estate I don’t need for WP so I see more names, services, etc in my templates or in my workflow than as a web app within the browser.

WINDOWS users: I’m told you can use Google’s Chrome to do the same (But I have no way to verify this…let us know in the comments!). Here’s how: with WorshipPlanning.com open in Chrome, click the Wrench or Settings at top right of the browser window, then Tools->Create application shortcuts… (NOTE: This feature seems to be missing from the OSX version of Chrome).

Huge thanks to Chad for writing this helpful “tips & tricks” instruction post!!

New Version 4.3 – File Access Reports and Remembering Notification Messages

May 22, 2013 Leave a comment

WorshipPlanning.com Logo v4.3.0

This version of WP brought a couple of features that will not only save you time with your scheduling process, but it will also help you get an idea who is coming to rehearsal prepared!

File Access Reporting

WP is now keeping track of who is accessing files you have uploaded.  This is important for two main reasons:

CCLI Rehearsal License Reporting

If you have a CCLI Rehearsal License, you are required to report the number of unique accesses (stream or download) of song files covered under the license.  To make this super easy, we’ve created a page that allows you to easily see download counts, per song, for a specific time period.

CCLI Rehearsal License Reporting Screenshot

This can be accessed from the Library >> Files Library menu option.  Click on the File Access Reports sub tab and select your date!

General File Access Reporting

The other File Access Report we created, called the “General File Access” view, will list all the files accessed, including the user that accessed it, the date/time of the access, and how they accessed.  You can even filter the search for results by time period, user, related song, and file name.  It’s a great way to slice-and-dice the data to see who has accessed what!

Song File Access Reporting

And finally, we put the File Access Report info on the Song Details window.  So, if you really want to know which members of your worship team have streamed or downloaded the important files in preparation for rehearsal, you can easily see this by clicking on the song title in the worship flow (or anywhere in the site), then clicking on the File Access tab.

File Access Tab

File reports are only visible to Planners with security level 1 (worship editors) or higher.

Remembering Text from Assignment Emails

Several weeks ago, we added a “previously sent messages” selection field for sending messages to people from the Worship Flow page.  With version 4.3.0, we added that same capability on the People Schedule page.  We know that many people have been using Notepad or other text editors to copy/paste standard messages they send to various teams.  With this feature, you can keep Notepad closed and just select your previously sent message!

Previously Sent Messages from Schedule Page Screenshot

New Updates – Version 4.2.3

March 12, 2013 Leave a comment

WP Logo version 4.2.3

We wanted to share with you the details of a few updates we just applied to WorshipPlanning.com.  Enjoy!

Email Response Options

Email response options

Recipients of assignment notifications and reminders will now have the option to respond right in the email.  If the email contains multiple assignments, there will be just a single “respond to assignments” button.  And if the assignment has already been accepted or declined, assignment response buttons do not show.

We think this feature will really help with getting responses from Helpers, as it reduces the number of steps they need to follow to keep you informed!

Facebook Notifications

Although Facebook still has this functionality in Beta, we’ve hooked into their native notification system for 3rd party apps.  Once your team members have the Facebook App Installed, they’ll start receiving notifications in Facebook of when they are scheduled to serve.Facebook Notification

Spotify Alert

Spotify LogoWe really love Spotify, but we are not very big fans of their choice in advertisements.  To help shield you and your team from less-than-desirable ads, we added a pop-up message that offers a few tips that might help.  They include options from disabling Spotify integration with your WP account to upgrading to the paid version of Spotify to remove all ads.

Spotify Integration is Here!

June 19, 2012 Leave a comment

Spotify Logo

We are excited to announce that version 4.1.3 of WorshipPlanning.com has been released, which includes integration with Spotify!  For those of you wondering exactly what Spotify is, it is a free music streaming service that provides on-demand access to over 16 million songs.  That’s right, 16 million songs, on demand, for free. You can learn more about it (and sign up for a free account) here: http://www.spotify.com/us/about/what/

We at WorshipPlanning.com are big fans of Spotify, and thought it would be a huge benefit to worship teams if they could easily access Spotify songs right from WP!  Many of you are already familiar with the links to the YouTube music video and Amazon MP3 purchases pages.  We have extended these resources of songs to include links to Spotify for on-demand streaming.  So you really don’t have to do anything special to start seeing the Spotify links. But in the event you don’t, or if you are curious for more integration details, read on.

Top Songs List

Many of you have seen, Planners can add songs to their library by browsing our Top Songs list (around 350 songs).  We have updated our top songs list and are in the process of expending it to 1000 songs.  For most of those songs, we’ve found the Spotify link and included it with the Top Songs information.  Keep in mind that as you add a song manually, WP tries to match your song title against our Top Songs list and gives you the option to automatically add data we’ve collected about each song (author, copyright info, YouTube/Amazon info, and now the Spotify link).

SongSelect SongsSong Menu with spotify link

If you’ve taken advantage of our SongSelect integration, many of those songs in your library are already link to Spotify and ready for you to use, right now!

Manually Adding or Editing Songs

The places where you add or edit song details has a “web” tab that contains the Stream Web Address and Purchase Web Address fields for you to specify where your team can go to watch the YouTube music video or purchase the MP3.  It is on this tab we’ve added a field for the Spotify link.

add song window with spotify field circled

Copy Spotify URI menu option It’s easy to get a Spotify link by right-clicking on a particular song in Spotify and selecting the Copy Spotify URI option.  Then just paste it into the appropriate field in the Add/Edit Song window. But remember: This link will usually be automatically fill if you select one of the songs matched from our Top Songs list.








Not Ready for Spotify in WP Just Yet?

If for some reason you’d rather not have these Spotify links showing up in your church’s WP account, you can turn this feature off in the Church Settings page.  With security level 3 (account admin), go to Account >> Church Account Settings >> Edit This Info button.  It is a setting at the bottom.

Thoughts? Feedback? HELP!

Feel free to post a comment on any feedback you might have.  If you need a hand with anything, feel free to log a support ticket with us over at our Customer Support Center.

Happy listening!!

Spotify is the registered trade mark of the Spotify Group.

Can’t Remember Last Easter’s Service? WorshipPlanning.com does!

April 2, 2012 Leave a comment

Guy trying to remember

With just a few days left to finalize your Easter service plans,  hopefully you already have the details of your worship flow and song arrangements.  But perhaps during the planning stage you were trying to remember what the worship service looked like last year.  No need to scrounge around your archived emails or send your search dog after year-old Word documents.  If you were using WorshipPlanning.com back then, you could access that info with just a couple of clicks.

Since we are all tight on time this week, I’ll cut to the chase:

  1. Once logged in to your WP account, go to Services >> Manage All Services
  2. Click the “Show Past Services” button on the far left

That’s it!  You might have to make sure you are sorting by the date and adjust the number of services that show per page, but it shouldn’t take you long to find the right service (Easter was on April 24 last year, by the way).  And, if the service has “Easter” in the message topic, you can find it even faster by typing Easter in the search text box.

The folks here at WorshipPlanning.com hope you have a highly blessed and low stress Easter.  As we tweeted earlier today, we pray that you aren’t so busy doing the work of God that you forget to seek the presence of God.

Printing Schedules the Way You’ve Always Wanted

March 1, 2012 Leave a comment

Print-Excel-icons

We are excited to introduce some great improvements to the printing and exporting tools for your people scheduling.  You may notice the new Printer and MS Excel icons on the people scheduling pages.  Each of these will open a window that will give you a variety of options for outputting your assignments, via printer or spreadsheet.

To start with, the new printout panel allows you to print any number of teams, services, and status responses, with following print formatting options.

Print Dialog

  • Services with roles grouped by team
  • Table of assignments with either the roles or the people names on the far left column
  • Sign-in sheet
  • Status icons
  • One service per page
  • One team per page

And the spreadsheet export dialog is just as slick.  We’ll put a few more screenshots below so you can see the kind of options you have, as well as some samples screenshots of what these prints/exports look like.

Print-table-roles

Print-table-people

Excel Sample