Click Track

Click Track Magic

I’ve discovered one of the secrets to why the big megachurches have (usually) great music. And it isn’t necessarily because they have money to hire pros (although that is sometimes the case.)

It’s the click track.

I’ve seen firsthand how click tracks can turn ordinary, amateur players into something quite special. Why? Because one of the biggest problems with the typical praise band is they’re rhythmically sloppy. The songs will sound clunky. If your drummer has lousy timing your musical ship will sink before it will have even left the dock (your band will sound bad if even the most professional of players are in a band with a drummer that’s not steady.)

If you present the idea of a click track to your praise band and they squeal with joy count yourself blessed. Cocky amateurs will often throw a fit when presented with the idea of a click. If a drummer refuses to play with a click track then I know he’s not someone I’d want on my team. You’ll hear excuses like – a click kills the feel, it’s too stifling, blah blah blah, but what they’re really saying is their timing is so bad they can’t keep up with the click.

If you’re in a band that plays the same music night after night then fine, don’t use a click. I’m talking here about the quickest and easiest way to get a revolving door of amateur players to play new music week after week with the finest musicianship possible. And that’s accomplished with a click.

Once you get your band used to the click all kinds of fun can start happening – you can add sonic icing like drum loops, orchestration, vocals and sync video.

DJ, our video guy, got the idea to film me playing a pipe organ then syncing the video to my Christmas Fantasia pop orchestra piece for our Christmas Eve service. He’s also filmed soloists and a kids’ choir and will intersperse this video with live shots during the service. All this is possible with a click. Watch the video .

We started using a simple click (with great resistance) about three years ago when worship leader Steve Smith first came to Brookwood. You have to crawl before you can walk and it took time before the band became comfortable enough with the click to even add a drum loop. Now things have progressed to the point where we can sync with video and orchestration.

Continue reading: Starting with Click Tracks

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