Using a Metronome in Worship
The drummer is the “bus driver” for the band. Setting the right tempo for a song is extremely vital for the entire band to follow. This is the job of a drummer in any band. The drummer should set and play at a tempo that is comfortable for the rest of the band and for a song to flow smoothly / consistently.
I started playing the drums at the age of 5 but it wasn’t until 2007 that I started to use a metronome. It was probably after using a metronome that I realized how my internal time clock wasn’t as consistent as it should be. As a drummer, we are vulnerable to speed up during builds and slow down during a high energy fast song. The only solution to that problem is to practice along a metronome or playing live with a click track. A metronome will definitely keep you on track with the tempo of a song regardless of intense builds, busy fills and syncopated time signatures.
Playing along with a metronome could be a challenge if you have never used one before. I had a lot of struggles with it when I first started to use one. There was a constant fight in my head between my internal time clock and the metronome or the click track I was playing along with. Often times I would get off the metronome since I pushed it or pulled back on it too much. I had to force myself to laying my beats with the clicks and watching not to push it or pull back on it. However, trust me, once you start using a metronome, you never want to play without one again. Playing with a metronome makes you’re drumming consistent, solid and in the pocket. It takes your drumming to a professional level. I say, that a DRUMMER’S BEST FRIEND IS A METRONOME; “if you ain’t got tempo, you ain’t got beats!” If a metronome is not your best friend yet… make it yours today!
Adjusting to a Metronome
Turn on the metronome at a medium tempo and play your regular worship songs to it. Play until you feel comfortable and in the pocket with that tempo. Then increase the tempo and play along with that. Try to be flexible and comfortable to play a song at any tempo. On top of that, practice your fills to different tempos. Often times, drummers tend to speed up or slow down during their fills, which eventually would throw you off from an original tempo. So, practice your fills with a metronome from slow to fast tempos in order for your fills to sound clear and dynamic.
I recommend that you would purchase a metronome with a headphone option for your live playing. I use a TAMA rhythm watch for click. When I do not have the option for in ears and have to use wedges, this equipment comes in handy. Simply connect a headphone to the metronome and have one ear in to listen to the click and the other to listen to the wedge monitor. You could also use the same technique if you own a computer and have the ability to run click. If you do use your computer, Ableton Live is the best software for running click.
Using Loops in Worship
One of the greatest tools today in Christian worship is the ability to use loops. However, if you, the drummer cannot play to a metronome, one might have some struggles playing with a loop.
Most of the loops usually have a track for click, which makes it easier for the band to play along with the pre-created beats and synths made in the loop. Therefore, if you are comfortable with playing to a click track or a metronome; you would have no problems playing along with a loop.
Most Churches have the availability of in-ear monitors, in such cases; using loops for worship would be an easy deal, since the band members have the option to run a click track in the ears. However, if you do not have the option of in ears but want to run loops from your computer and want the drummer to hear the click in his/her ears, here are a few blog posts about using loops without in-ear monitors. It’s very easy to do.
Give it a Try
If you’ve never played with Loops or a metronome (click) before, the best way to get started is to just give it a try! There are tons of Loops available on LoopCommunity.com that have everything you need – including a click and guide track. In this video, Matt McCoy shows you the easiest way to hook up loops to your sound system using an iPod or iPhone! Loop Community offers a free worship loop every month, so be sure to sign up for the site and make use of this valuable resource to your church. Using clicks and Loops will help take your worship ministry to the next level and help you bring excellence in your times of worship.