How to transition when using click tracks and loops #sundaysetlist #sundaysetlists #WorshipSet

There’s a problem in lots of churches when it comes to worship participation — there’s lots of standing around waiting to be led in worship. You know what I’m talking about.  There’s that 16 measure rippin’ electric guitar solo, the 12 measure outro that’s the same as the intro, the 2 second pause between songs, and then the 8 measure needed intro to establish tempo/key/feel.  That’s a lot of ‘waiting around’ for worshippers who are used to more of the ‘sing only when directed to’ type of format.  More charismatic influences use these times to allow the song and worshipper to breath.  But it’s a problem in my churches who do not follow that more charismatic/free worship structure.

The solution is to turn these non-participatory moments into participatory ones can greatly increase the tracking of worshippers.

Here’s what I mean…

The most difficult part (and crucial part) of any musical worship environment are the transitions from song to song. Once you establish a key, maintain tempo, get a groove, and begin singing — a song can virtually run itself.  However, once the song is over, getting to the next song can be a challenge.  There may be a tempo difference, difference in key, a mood/texture shift, or even needing room for something else to happen (pray, scripture reading, video, etc.).

Using click tracks to create “transition click tracks” can create a smooth flow from song to song.  This means there are clicks/loops for the songs, but also click tracks and loops that guide through the in-between times.  These loops can create a smooth live feel that link songs into a more seamless set.

Worship Set from mymusicwriter.com

For example, this past week we had these three songs in a row.

Sweetly Broken (B)
New Doxology (E)
You Shine (E)

Began Sweetly Broken with the full intro (to establish key/tempo/feel). When we got to the end of Sweetly Broken, we simply played an Eno3 chord on the final word — leaving a deceptive/unsettled feel.  It’s typically OK to leave a song hanging at the end on a dominant (V chord) or subdominant (IV chord) if it sets up the next song’s key.  For example, if a song is in the key of B…the the deceptive chords to end on would be either an E or F# (subdominant and dominant respectively).  The *Eno3 chord played at the end of Sweetly Broken sets up the beginning of New Doxology (Key of E).

*no3 simply means the chord doesn’t have the third played in it, so you’d play an E and B…or sometimes called open fifth

The more tricky transition is going from the New Doxology into You Shine. Yes, they are the same key — but they are drastically different in both tempo and style.  The solution here is to sing a SLOW version of You Shine’s ‘pre-chorus’ in order to denote that we are transitioning to a new song.  This means after the last note of New Doxology, while still stirring the last Eno3 chord — a NEW click track would count off into You Shine’s pre-chorus at a slow tempo.  Once the pre-chorus is completely sung at that slower tempo, another click track triggers for the actually You Shine song.  Also, the proverbial 8 bar intro into You Shine is stripped down to simply two measures of Eno3 vamp to launch into the first verse.

It sounds complicated, but all these transition loops are automatically built into the click tracks & loops available at mymusicwriter.com — so all the work is done.  Figuring out transitions can be daunting at first.  It takes time and fore-thought.  And if you are using click tracks, the live timing and feel are critical for the end result for worshippers who are following.  Minimizing timing distractions and working out flow in advance can increase the opportunity for worshippers to be in an environment that guides them smoothly.

And as for those electric guitar solos or extended piano intros, try displaying Bible verses that keep the worshipper engaged.  It will point their eyes to God, and maybe take them off the stage for that moment.

Here was our line up…

  1. ___ TEST AND SOUND CHECK TRACKS BELOW
  2. Test – click LEFT and loop RIGHT
  3. Sound Check – Full Band
  4. Sound Check – Vocals
  5. ___ WORSHIP SETS BELOW
  6. Set 1 – Beautiful One, Jesus Messiah
  7. ___ PAUSE click here (cue)
  8. Set 2 – September 14, 2010
  9. ___ PAUSE click here (cue)
  10. ___ END click here (cue)
  11. ___ SINGLE CLICK TRACKS BELOW
  12. Beautiful One – loop and click 126 BPM
  13. Jesus Messiah – loop and click 86 BPM
  14. ___ PAUSE click here (cue)
  15. Sweetly Broken – loop and click 93 BPM [Bb]
  16. > Invite to Stand
  17. New Doxology – loop and click 86 BPM
  18. You Shine – loop and click 128 BPM
  19. > Greet & Move Table Cue
  20. ___ END click here (cue)
  21. ___ FULL SONGS BELOW
  22. Beautiful One (A)
  23. Jesus Messiah (A)
  24. Sweetly Broken (Bb)
  25. New Doxology (E)
  26. You Shine (E)

Incorporating a Chicago-style horn section #sundaysetlist #sundaysetlists #WorshipSet

Chicago horn section

This morning was another “not normal” morning for our worship environment. Yes, we used our normal two synchronized bands, click tracks and loops library, singers, and the like — but we added one different element that gave the style a spin.  It was a simply Chicago-style horn section (Trumpet, Sax, Trombone).  Chicago-style, meaning like the popular band Chicago back in the 70’s and 80’s.  Who knew that Chicago would be “second only to the Beach Boys in terms of singles and albums, Chicago is one of the longest running and most successful U.S. pop/rock and roll groups.” [1]

Here is one email received today, immediately following the morning.

On Sun, Sep 12, 2010 at 2:18 PM:

Great job with worship today!  I’m an old brass player, and although I am usually not too fond of brass in worship, apparently it’s because no one has shown me how to do it right until now.  You were perfectly balanced and really complemented the vocalists.  I’m guessing you wrote the brass parts?  It reminded me of why I loved the group Chicago back in high school.

Keep it up!

[name withheld]

Here was my response…

Thanks for the encouragement (name withheld).  I’ll certainly pass it on to the musicians.

I’m with you — I’m usually not a fan of how brass is incorporated into worship bands (from past experience), but some of my favorite groups from my younger years are Chicago, Tower of Power, and Earth, Wind, and Fire.  However, if the brass parts are written in true “horn section” style — it can work.

Wish I could claim I wrote the brass arrangements, but they were all purchased from praisecharts.com.  They were the horn parts taken straight from the full orchestrations, but they work as stand alone horn section parts.

The balancing act was kudos to the sound operator — they can make us sound worse than we really are, just like we are, or better than we really are.  The sound board is the most important instrument in the entire house, in my opinion.

By the way, let me know if you ever want to break out your instrument — would love to have another like-minded brass player in our ranks.

Bryan

Yes, it takes extra work to put together elements. A volunteer had to assemble the sheet music for the horn section.  We edited down the music to fit the roadmap to the loops and click tracks. We had to pipe down the horn section with the synchronized band in the Lower Auditorium from the Main Auditorium.  The horn section had to be available for the rehearsal and weekend.  Extra mics and platforms had to be setup.  The stage needed to be reconfigured.  Certain songs had to be picked — and then cross your fingers that the arrangements work with Hillsong, Baloche, modern hymn arrangements, and Redman songs.

Are these extra elements really worth it in the end? As long as you can keep a balence (don’t burn out from it or overuse the elements as to diminish its value) — yes, it is worth it.  It creates variety from week to week, uses the talents God has assembled, and provides an added challenge to both musicians and techs.

And here is the full setlist…

Setlist from September 12, 2010

What I don’t know #sundaysetlist #sundaysetlists #WorshipSet http://bit.ly/bVkgM2

We do some fancy stuff at our church, like lots of churches do. We synchronize two bands with loops and click tracks, we do a light show in a 3-story building with live musicians, we write some of our own kids music.  And we aren’t in the top tier — ’cause there’s lots of churches doing way more creative stuff than we are.  The point is not the fancy stuff — but what effect (if any) the fancy stuff has on the kingdom of God.

Beyond the fancy stuff, there’s a lot I simply don’t know and haven’t done. One of those is guitars — even though I lead with one the majority of the time.  Being late to the guitar game, I’m amazed at how a simple change in instrument creates interest.  Up to this point I’ve used a Variax 700, but am using a loaned American Telecaster with humbucker pickups.  In the last two weeks I’ve had more questions and comments about the guitar.  It’s funny, cause I really don’t know that much about it — but obviously there are people out there who really care.

I care about quality. Yes, I care about good guitar tone.  Yes, I care about playability.  Yes, I care how it looks and feels when you play.  But I simply don’t know enough history in guitars to know what people are into.  Case in point, up until last year I thought the guy who invented noiseless pickups had the last name “Humbucker” — until someone pointed out they simply “buck” the “hum” and are noiseless, thus called humbuckers.  Who knew?  I didn’t.  Five years ago I didn’t know what pickups where.  If you are reading this and you don’t know either, welcome to my club.

Setlist for August 22, 2010

  1. ___ TEST AND SOUND CHECK TRACKS BELOW
  2. Test – click LEFT and loop RIGHT
  3. Sound Check – Full Band
  4. Sound Check – Vocals
  5. ___ WORSHIP SETS BELOW
  6. Set 1 – August 19, 2010
  7. ___ PAUSE click here (cue)
  8. ___ Spacer (10 minute silence)
  9. Set 2 – August 17, 2010
  10. ___ PAUSE click here (cue)
  11. ___ END click here (cue)
  12. ___ SINGLE CLICK TRACKS BELOW
  13. GREETING This Is Our God (INSTRUMENTAL) – loop and click 81 BPM
  14. Come Thou Almighty King – loop and click 135 BPM
  15. You Shine – loop and click 128 BPM
  16. As the Deer (funky) – loop and click 90 BPM
  17. ___ PAUSE click here (cue)
  18. The Power of the Cross – loop and click 68 BPM
  19. Your Grace Still Amazes Me – loop and click 65
  20. Majesty (Passion) – loop and click 75 BPM
  21. ___ END click here (cue)
  22. ___ FULL SONGS BELOW
  23. Come, Thou Almighty King (E)
  24. You Shine
  25. As the Deer (funky)
  26. The Power of the Cross
  27. Your Grace Still Amazes Me (C)
  28. Majesty
  29. This Is Our God

New #loops at MyMusicWriter.com for #worship Hillsong music #sundaysetlist #sundaysetlists

Coming off of two week hiatus on stage — you can feel the rust falling off the guitar strings. It’s bad enough to have people ask, “So what DOES a music guy do full time at a church?”  A simple smile and stating, “Well, the songs are usually picked in the car on the way to church.”  That usually produces a nice stare.

There are now two more loops available at MyMusicWriter.com for some Hillsong music that have been striking a chord with our worshippers lately. We’ve already been singing This Is Our God — and I’m planning on trying out Our God Is Love and Forever Reign (hoping for it to connect with the majority of worshippers at TBC).  This brings up a point that the musicians/techs and I talked about several weeks ago.

There are times a lead worshipper must select songs which may not resonate with the him/herself. You see, it’s our job to lead worshippers in the direction God wants — using the methods His spirit it guiding us to use.  So, there are probably times that His Spirit (I’m not trying to be mystical here) might prompt us to do something we really don’t want to do.  You might say, “God wouldn’t work that way.”  Really?  Check out plenty of Bible stories where God used completely opposite methods to move people where He wanted them to be.

So when it comes to worship songs — I may not like a particular choice stylistically. However, if they connect with the worshippers and God is using the song as a method of connecting with those He loves…then by all means, sing on.

One area I’m not willing to compromise are the lyrics/words. Gotta be honest here.  If the words are most important, I’ll ditch the song if it is weak.  If it’s a strong lyrical song, I’ll try a different style if the style doesn’t work for me.  But the words have to nail it.

Setlist for August 15, 2010

  1. ___ TEST AND SOUND CHECK TRACKS BELOW
  2. Test – click LEFT and loop RIGHT
  3. Sound Check – Full Band
  4. Sound Check – Vocals
  5. ___ WORSHIP SETS BELOW
  6. Set 1 – August 12, 2010
  7. ___ PAUSE click here (cue)
  8. ___ Spacer (10 minute silence)
  9. Set 2 – August 14, 2010
  10. ___ PAUSE click here (cue)
  11. ___ END click here (cue)
  12. ___ SINGLE CLICK TRACKS BELOW
  13. Everlasting God – loop and click 116 BPM
  14. You Are Good – loop and click 130 BPM
  15. ___ PAUSE click here (cue)
  16. Hungry – loop and click 86 BPM
  17. This Is Our God – loop and click 81 BPM
  18. O For A Thousand Tongues To Sing – loop and click 109 BPM
  19. ___ END click here (cue)
  20. ___ FULL SONGS BELOW
  21. Everlasting God (A)
  22. You are Good (A)
  23. Hungry (Falling on My Knees) – Key of C
  24. This Is Our God (E)
  25. O for a Thousand Tongues (D)

When a new #worship song really connects #sundaysetlist #sundaysetlists #loops

Have you ever been in a worship setting where a song simply connects with you? While the words are always the most important, there are times when the words, music, style, and setting simply make it converge to connect with you.  While this doesn’t happen with every song, or every time with the same song — we know when it happens.

That song (for me) this past week is “This Is Our God” (Hillsong)listen. When I was finishing up the loop for this song, the lyrics began to speak to the heart.  His grace is more than we need.  A prayer to draw us closer to God.  By the power of His word, we are restored.  Bam!  That’s great lyric writing.  The chorus is our response to these facts…we will fall at His feet.  Something that will happen, too, after this life.

If you are looking for the full setlist, it’s just below these lyrics…

THIS IS OUR GOD
(Hillsong)

Verse 1
Your grace is enough
More than I need
At Your word I will believe
I wait for You
Draw near again
Let Your Spirit make me new
Chorus 1
And I will fall at Your feet
I will fall at Your feet
And I will worship You here
Verse 2
Your presence in me
Jesus light the way
By the power of Your word
I am restored
I am redeemed
By Your Spirit I am free
Bridge
Freely You gave it all for us
Surrendered Your life upon that cross
Great is the love poured out for all
This is our God
Lifted on high from death to life
Forever our God is glorified
Servant and King rescued the world
This is our God
© 2008 Hillsong Publishing (Admin. in U.S. & Canada by Integrity’s Hosanna! Music), Reuben Morgan, CCLI Song No. 5060834

Setlist for July 25, 2010

  1. ___ TEST AND SOUND CHECK TRACKS BELOW
  2. Test – click LEFT and loop RIGHT
  3. Sound Check – Full Band
  4. Sound Check – Vocals
  5. ___ WORSHIP SETS BELOW
  6. Set 1 – July 22, 2010
  7. ___ PAUSE click here (cue)
  8. ___ Spacer (10 minute silence)
  9. Set 2 – July 22, 2010
  10. ___ PAUSE click here (cue)
  11. ___ END click here (cue)
  12. ___ SINGLE CLICK TRACKS BELOW
  13. Sing to the King – loop and click 116 BPM
  14. Made Me Glad – loop and click 82 BPM
  15. Holy Holy Holy – loop and click 77 BPM
  16. How He Loves – loop and click 51 BPM
  17. This Is Our God – loop and click 81 BPM
  18. ___ PAUSE click here (cue)
  19. ___ END click here (cue)
  20. ___ FULL SONGS BELOW
  21. Sing To The King (D)
  22. Made Me Glad
  23. Holy, Holy, Holy! Lord God Almighty
  24. This Is Our God (E)
  25. How He Loves (A singable)

Do you like setting up pins? #sundaysetlist #sundaysetlists #worship

Many people are good at bowling, but they don’t like setting up pins. That’s why God created machines to setup the pins.  The machines do it quickly, efficiently, and correctly.  However, if it weren’t for that machine that sets up the pins, the bowler couldn’t bowl.

Every church has bowlers and pinsetters. Some bowlers are inappropriately placed as pinsetters and vise versa.  But when the right people are in the right place doing the right thing at the right time — it’s amazing to see how God has put it all together.  Here’s how it played out this past week at TBC.

If you came this past weekend as a worshiper, here’s what you would have seen.

  • Worship band
  • String trio accompanying the band
  • Scripture narration by a British gal
  • Message in monologue format

The part that no one saw that was most thrilling. That String Trio was completely put together by one of our un-paid musicians (all our musicians are un-paid).  Carrie Davidson stepped forward and said she’d like to spearhead a small string group.  Not only did she spearhead it, she wrote and arranged the music to Praise Adonai.

Here’s how she did it.

  1. Met with leadership to establish the vision and some guidelines
  2. Recorded the individual violin parts into Audacity (free digital audio editor)
  3. Transcribed the violin parts by hand
  4. Learned how to code in printed music using Lilypond (free music writing software)
  5. Coordinated rehearsals and Sunday with the trio

As the leader, I could have done all of that — but it would have robbed Carrie of the experience.

When you give vision to someone (like Carrie) it could result in that someone (like Carrie) working hard to pull it off. She was the right person for the task.  She learned a lot in the process.  The end result was witnessing the result of God using people’s gifting.  That’s what God wants — He desires leaders to set up the bowling pins, then step aside to allow star performers to take the ball and roll a strike.

The British gal (Gill Gabelmann) who read the scripture — she’s the one that pulled it off. She didn’t need coaching.  She simply needed an opportunity.  We called her and asked if she’d be willing, and she said yes.  She’s the one that pulled it off.  No one went to her and said, this is exactly how it should be done.

I could have read that scripture.  But that would have robbed Gill from the experience — and the worshipers from that nice British accent.

And the monologue for the message, was put together by one of the sons of our senior pastor.

The point here is as the church “talent broker” — the worship pastor’s job is to set up the pins for others to knock down. While the leader has virtually nothing to do with actually doing the message, narration, or string trio — setting up the pins is the job of the leader.  Allowing others to knock them down is the thrill.

Sunday, July 18, 2010 Setlist

  1. ___ TEST AND SOUND CHECK TRACKS BELOW
  2. Test – click LEFT and loop RIGHT
  3. Sound Check – Full Band
  4. Sound Check – Vocals
  5. ___ WORSHIP SETS BELOW
  6. ___ PAUSE click here (cue)
  7. ___ Spacer (10 minute silence)
  8. ___ PAUSE click here (cue)
  9. ___ END click here (cue)
  10. ___ SINGLE CLICK TRACKS BELOW
  11. Hosanna (Hillsong) – loop and click 78 BPM
  12. There Is a Fountain – loop and click 74 BPM
  13. ___ PAUSE click here (cue)
  14. Ancient Words – loop and click  70 BPM
  15. ___ PAUSE click here (cue)
  16. Jesus Paid It All – loop and click 76 BPM
  17. Prayer – 30 second spacer
  18. Praise Adonai – loop and click 96 BPM
  19. ___ END click here (cue)
  20. Take My Life – loop and click 92 BPM
  21. How He Loves – loop and click 51 BPM
  22. ___ FULL SONGS BELOW
  23. Hosanna (E) – Hillsong
  24. There Is a Fountain
  25. Jesus Paid It All
  26. Praise Adonai
  27. How He Loves (A singable)
  28. Breathe (A)
  29. Take My Life

Ever try a Country Music #worship environment? We did. Here’s how it went. #sundaysetlist #sundaysetlists

We’ve all been asked the question before, “What kind of music do you like?” Music preference gives someone individuality. Some like country music. Some don’t. Then there’s the difference between modern country and Country & Western. (If someone can clearly define the difference between the two, please comment.)

The fact is, everyone is wired differently when it comes to music — which makes designing a worship environment all the more difficult. What works for Person A may or may not work for Person B. At any worship environment, we’ve got everyone from A to Z. So how do you plan for it? One solution is to periodically pick a genre of music and go to town on it for one week. There are pros and cons to doing it this way.

Pros

  • Those that enjoy that music preference, really engage that morning
  • Others who may not enjoy that music preference may come to connect with one or two songs
  • There’s a little bit of ribbing and joking that goes on, that can be healthy for a church
  • It gives your musicians something to chew on and expand their playing/singing

Cons

  • If someone simply dislikes the music or has a very bad association with the music style, they can simply be too distracted to worship
  • Not all of the church’s musicians can pull off a particular style of music
  • It takes a lot more planning to pull off a music style not typical to your church or region

If you are wondering if “Country Music Sunday” was successful this past weekend — the best question to ask is, “Did worship of God happen?” It’s the most difficult question to answer. Why? People, really, one can’t tell. You can see bi-products (singing, hands raised, movement, no one sleeping, etc.). But whether or not they are do those things because their heart is actually worshiping — that’s between the “worshiper” and the “Worshipee” only.

Musically it was successful for a number of reasons. We added a pedal steel guitar and violin to the band. Adding these instruments is almost a must if Country & Western music is being played. Playing the style of country is more of a challenge — there’s different changes and turns to learn, and most did a good job of owning the charts before rehearsal.

Technically it was successful for a number of reasons. The lyric backgrounds were “country-ish” — so that helped. And the audio engineer spent several hours perfecting the mix and EQ from Thursday’s rehearsal (recorded from DAT and played back on Saturday). It took work, but it paid off to hear my wife say, “good mix” later on.

Spiritual success — that’s something too difficult to evaluate here. But would be beneficial to attempt sometime. That’s for a whole other time.

As expectations shift from “let’s worship God” to “what’s the coolness factor / are we going to like it” — our worship becomes less focused on the One we are really there for.

The trick, though, is that the bar gets raised when we pull off a “theme” weekend of music. We’ll most likely do Country Music Sunday again in the future.It means that worshipers might expect a variety of styles. The only problem is we can get into a consumer mentality. A consumer mentality says, “What are you going to WOW me with this time?” As expectations shift from “let’s worship God” to “what’s the coolness factor / are we going to like it” — our worship becomes less focused on the One we are really there for.

So let’s keep changing it up, as long as we avoid changing it up solely to make people happy, smile, or be the “church that can do any style well” and potentially lose focus on Who came to worship.

Setlist from June 27, 2010

  1. ___ TEST AND SOUND CHECK TRACKS BELOW
  2. Test – click LEFT and loop RIGHT
  3. Sound Check – Full Band
  4. Sound Check – Vocals
  5. ___ WORSHIP SETS BELOW
  6. Set 1 – June 22, 2010
  7. ___ PAUSE click here (cue)
  8. ___ Spacer (10 minute silence)
  9. Set 2 – June 22, 2010
  10. Greeting – revised Ring of Fire
  11. ___ PAUSE click here (cue)
  12. ___ END click here (cue)
  13. ___ SINGLE CLICK TRACKS BELOW
  14. I’ll Fly Away (Country) – loop and click 100 BPM
  15. Joyful Joyful (Country) – loop and click 104 BPM
  16. You Are My King (Amazing Love) Country – loop and click 70 BPM
  17. Anywhere with Jesus (Country faster section) – loop and click 100 BPM
  18. Revive Us Again – loop and click 98 BPM
  19. ___ PAUSE click here (cue)
  20. ___ END click here (cue)
  21. ___ FULL SONGS BELOW
  22. I’ll Fly Away (A)
  23. Joyful, Joyful (We Adore Thee) (D)
  24. [Amazing Love] You Are My King (D)
  25. Anywhere With Jesus (C)
  26. Revive Us Again (E)