Blog | Should Your Worship Team Start Using a Click Track?
Should Your Worship Team Start Using a Click Track?
Every worship pastor wants their band to sound tight, consistent and precise. But how do you get there? The answer might be a click track. So what exactly is a click track and why should your team consider using one? In this post, I’ll discuss the pros and cons of using a click track with your worship team so you can make an informed decision on whether it’s right for your church.
Is a Click Track an Option for You?
The first question to ask yourself is whether or not your church has the technology and AV infrastructure to support the band using a click. If your band uses floor monitors – often referred to as “wedges” – then click is likely not an option. In order to use a click, you’ll need your band to be using in-ear monitors (IEMs). The draw for IEMs is that your band is able to have their own monitor mix sent to their headphones, effectively isolating each individual’s mix, making it easier for instrumentalists to hear themselves and the rest of the band. Typically speaking, each musician has a different “mix”, so they hear only what is important to them.
The beauty of this set up, is that you can add things to the headphone mix that is not heard in the house. For our purposes, the band will have the click track, or metronome, in their ears, but your congregation will never hear it.
If you think switching from wedges to IEMs is the right move for your church, there are a TON of great options, ranging from simple and inexpensive, to extremely robust and powerful with an equally robust price tag. We’ll discuss good options for this in a future blog post.
Why Switch to Click?
The ultimate draw for using a click is precision. If you’ve got band members who all have a different “internal clock” you may find that you spend a lot of time fighting each other when it comes to tempo. A drummer may have a tendency to slow down over time, while a singer pushes the tempo. Having a constant, steady click track can keep the band in the same ball-park. Using a click track can help increase the consistency and precision of the band performance. With everyone playing along with the same beat, there’s less room for mistakes or missed cues. This can also help ensure that energy levels stay consistent throughout each song—no more dragging verses or rushed choruses!
Another reason you may want to switch to click may be the style of music you’re playing. If your church plays primarily modern, pop-style music, a click may be a game changer for you. Most modern music is created and adjusted using a tempo grid, so replicating these songs well often requires similar precision.
Why You Shouldn’t Use a Click Track
For all of it’s benefits, there are definitely some great arguments against using a clock track, and as always, it depends on your circumstances.
As we already discussed, your sound system and AV technology may not allow it. Beyond that, your church may primarily play a style that doesn’t really benefit from the tight grid of a metronome. If your style is more folksy, or you have a choir with a piano accompaniment, you’ll likely want to avoid the click. In these cases, the best creative choice for the music is to let the tempo ebb and flow with the dynamics of the song.
Another reason to avoid click would be that your musicians struggle to stick with it. There are a few reasons why your team might have trouble with the click. It may be a talent or practice issue, or it may just be long-formed habits that make adjusting difficult.
Which brings me to another point. If you’re interested in making a change like switching to a click track, buy-in from your team is extremely important. Many musicians hold very strong opinions for or against using a click track. I’ve met many musicians who would consider themselves “purists”, and are opposed to using the click as a crutch. If this is the primary mentality in your band, you’ll want to consider whether the uphill battle is worth it in the long run.
All in all, whether or not your worship team should use a click track really depends on your specific situation and preferences. If you are looking for more consistency and precision from your team then this could be something worth exploring further. But if you prefer an organic approach then this might not be something that works best for your team dynamic. Ultimately only you can decide which direction is best for you and your team!
About the Author
Josh Tarp is a multi-instrumentalist, singer-songwriter, and worship leader from Minneapolis with over 15 years of experience in church & worship leadership. Josh serves as the Director of Marketing at Motion Worship, helping to write various blog posts, managing social media, designing graphics, and handling customer service.