You’ve probably at some point used stereo tracks (accompaniment tracks) in your worship and maybe even click tracks. The next step is multitracks.
It used to be that only the big churches and techie worship leaders were using multitracks – now they’re within reach of the average church, and stems can be run from ipods, ipads and smartphones as well as laptops.
Multitracks (also referred to as “stems”) are simply individually separated tracks – usually in WAV or MP3 format. Each track is a different instrument – a track for keyboard, drums, guitars, bass, etc. If your bass player is sick, simply play the bass stem for your song. Spice up your full band with loop and synth stems.
Last Sunday I enjoyed worshiping with the Trinity of Fairview praise team near Asheville, NC. Like many churches, worship leader Ed Frisbee has trouble maintaining a full band during the summer months and finds multitracks to be a life-saver. He used my new free multitracks for All Hail the Power and I played along on the piano with a guitarist and bass player.
Multitracks require that your band be using a click track with in-ear monitors. Read these WorshipIdeas articles to learn more about click tracks:
- Click Track Magic: I’ve discovered one of the secrets to why the big megachurches have (usually) great music.
- Starting with Click Tracks: Here’s a list of 3 evolutionary click track steps from my own experience – from easy to high tech.
- In-Ear Monitoring Systems for Worship: An introduction to In-Ears.
- In Ear Monitoring 101: Will Johnson talks about an inexpensive way to get started with In-Ears.
You can find a few worship multitrack websites on the net – some try to lock you into a particular software and prices are all over the board. Since the concept is fairly new for worship you’ll generally find only the most popular praise songs.
As a one-stop shop I like the multitracks at PraiseCharts.com mainly because they make sure their sheet music, charts and orchestrations follow their multitracks. Many churches are integrating multitracks into their bands, not necessarily using the multitracks in lieu of a band, so I think it’s important to have charts for your live musicians that match the stems. Watch their above video to get a visual idea about multitracks.
PraiseCharts multitracks are a little less expensive than other sites, each song has two key options and their MP3s are a higher bitrate of 160kbps (meaning they sound better). Their stems are flexible – produced and intended to be used cross platform in any software.
Try out my new, free multitracks for my arrangement of All Hail the Power. Download multitracks in E, F and G, import them into Garage Band, Protools, Logic, Sonar or your software of choice. Please comment below if you have any questions or suggestions.