If you’re tired of your band speeding up and slow songs and slowing down on fast songs or speeding up and slowing down on any song, get ’em on a click.Most of the pros play to a click. Every great worship band plays to a click. Pianists and other classical musicians have played to clicks (metronomes) for centuries. If you want your band to go to the next level, you should start playing to a click, as well. You’ll wish you’d made the switch a long time ago.
- A click keeps your band from speeding up on those slow songs or slowing down on those fast songs.
- A click keeps your band’s tempo steady through the entire song.
- A click track helps keep the band tighter.
Cheap. The cheapest way is to just get an App for your iPod or iPhone. Be sure you use one that a set list mode. Then set it up, plug in some earbuds and have your drummer put in one earbud to listen to the click while the other ear listens to the monitor mix.
Middle of the Road. Run the iPod through the sound board and back to your drummer’s monitor mix. Since you don’t want anyone else to hear the click (i.e. the audience), you’ll need to get a Rolls PM50 personal monitor amp and a good pair of over-the-ear headphones.
Expensive. Get everyone in your band using IEMs (in ear monitors).
It’s really hard for drummers to get used to playing to clicks. They’re used to being the one in control of the beat. This takes it out of their hands and is kind of a blow to the ego. Make sure your drummers are on board with it and give them time to get used to it. Encourage him/her to see the end goal and the benefit it’ll bring to the overall experience for both the band and the people.
If everyone in your band uses IEMs and you decide to send the click to everyone, you’ll find that not all of them want it. You’ll also find that you may end up fighting each other. If the drummer gets off by one beat, the band will feel like they’re all on track but as soon as you come to chord change or a change in dynamics, you’ll realize you’re off from each other and you’ll have a hard time getting back on track. You may end up deciding to just run it to the drummer.
However, there is a solution to that problem. Digital Vocal Cues. Yes, you can send pre-recorded vocal cues such as “Intro, 2, 3, 4”, “Verse, 2, 3, 4”, and so on to each person’s IEM mix. This is an amazing tool for keeping your band on tempo, tight, and musically dynamic. It also reduces your rehearsal time because you don’t have to spend half your time helping everyone remember where they come in, how many times you repeat the bridge or chorus, or how to end it. It’s fantastic! “How can I get this tool?” you ask. It’s called Ableton Live. Watch for my next post to learn more about it and how we use it.
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