Archives For Clicks + Vocal Cues

People often tell me that they don’t have in-ear monitors at their church. If you’re wanting to use loops and are trying to figure out how to get the click to the drummer, check out this simple diagram for sending a Click and Monitor send to your drummer. Hope this helps. Matt

simple_headphone_diagram

Loop Transitions

Jake Stemo —  January 30, 2013

If you are new at using loops in worship or maybe you have been using them for a while, you have probably noticed that there can be awkward moments between songs.  Like when you hit the stop button and it kills all sounds everywhere and its just dead silent.  Or the loop ends and you are trying to get into the next song that is in a different key.  This post will give you just a couple ideas on how to improve your loop transitions.

1. Swelling Pad- If the song you are transitioning into is in the same key then you have the ability to have a swelling pad sound in the background of your loop.  Through ableton or your midi controller you can set up an expression pedal to control the volume of the ambient swell.  If you are looking for some great ambient swell sounds check out http://karlverkade.bandcamp.com/album/ambient-pad-bases he has created some killer sounds.  I have also used these to transition into different keys. You can also use the Keith McMillen 12Step Pedal and a virtual instrument in live to play a Pad live to help with transitions.
2. Overlap your loops-  This is kinda like the way a dj would be mixing in a club.  I have one loop running when I am getting to the end of the song I can trigger the next loop as the last one fades out.  To make this happen you have to create open space underneath each clip in the next scene (Essentially, a blank scene).  Then right click on the clip slot, and remove the stop button.  This also works really well transitioning into songs with the same key.
3.  Automation-  This is probably one trick that not many people know about. You can actually tell ableton to automatically trigger the next loop at the end of the song.  So you could have your whole set programmed to flow one song after the other, with just one trigger.  I use this alot with different parts of a song or an intro. You can accomplish this by using “Follow Actions” in Ableton on clips. Find these settings in the Clip Overview window. Please note though that Follow Actions do not work with Scenes. In other words, you cannot tell a scene to automatically play after another. You can only trigger different clips automatically.
4. Use Arrangement View – You could use arrangement view to layout your entire worship set in order. Then hit play and let it go through all of the songs horizontally from Left to Right. Add any fades or volume automation that you need.
Hope these ideas got you thinking.  Share you comments or concerns below.
About the Author:
Jake Stemo is a worship leader from Wichita, Kansas. Go check out his band In All Things Love

Giving Up Control

Jake Stemo —  January 16, 2013

As worship leaders we all want control.  Control is the thing that keeps the band tight, the thing that keeps everyone on task.  We strive for it and some of us are even chasing after it.  When you have control how do you get to a point when you can give it away?

The past 6 months have been some of the craziest but most rewarding days of my life.  My family and I have been in multiple places and I have led worship at serval different churches, youth groups and camps as well as doing some recording with my band In all things Love. In the beginning of July I moved my family to Wichita Kansas to become an associate worship pastor at Newspring Church.  It has been a crazy journey to get here but I am extremely grateful to be at an amazing church and to see how God brought us here. Hopefully the worship leaders reading this post can resonate with where I am at since a lot of you have been in similar transitions or are currently transitioning.

When I started working at Newspring I had to give up control of triggering loops. I did not give up control because I had to but because it was what I needed to do to help focus my energy in other areas of our worship experience.  This has allowed me as a leader to focus on engaging the people in our church and intentionally leading them in worship. This has given me a great perspective as a worship leader to think through transitions and become more of a producer of all the elements coming together. I cannot lie, it is something that was hard for me to let go of and it still kills me everytime it takes to long for whoever is controlling the click/loop to kill it or go on to the next song.

This has caused me to over communicate the direction of the song.  One of the biggest lessons I am learning is about transitions between the elements in your services.  Communication with your worship team is huge.  If you can learn to communicate with each other it makes for a very smooth experience for everyone serving on your team.

I was able to give up control of this area of our worship experience because I took the time to teach someone else how it works and clearly communicate the transitions of the service.  Maybe this is your week to teach someone else how to trigger your loops/click.

Join the conversation.

About the Author:
Jake Stemo is a worship leader from Wichita, Kansas. Go check out his band In All Things Love

Band Transitions

Jake Stemo —  October 16, 2012

 

I want to explore what a good transition is. I want to learn about what is working for other worship leaders and how you transition your band. You might be able to get through a song and everything went great but if the transition bombs it throws the whole mood of the experience. Sad to say but people get distracted very easily.

Just last week I was leading worship at our High school service and I had one of those awkward transition moments. You know the ones I’m talking about where it feels like an eternity before the song starts. Our band had just come out of a super seriours monologue skit and we were transitioning into How He Loves. The whole transition was depending on me because I was starting the lead part on electric. So the keys player started playing a nice pad sound(Compliments to Seeds Resource for the free reason patches) and I was ready to come in with my part and my guitar just wouldn’t work! Something happened with my pedal board and I had no sound (I’m sure you all have been in this position at one time or another). So I tried to signal the leader to start the song and he waits for a while and then BAM!!! My guitar regains its glorious tone filled sound and the awkward waiting transition is over. The only reason this was not a completely off the chain awkward moment is because the Keys where playing underneath the band while we transitioned into the next song.

You need to work very hard in your rehersal times to make the transitions great. I spend time each week making sure all our transitions make sense and flow together. If you have questions about transitions or have some great ideas on how you transition you band please leave a comment.

About the Author:
Jake Stemo is a worship leader from Wichita, Kansas. Go check out his band In All Things Love

As I’ve been using Loops, MultiTracks and Ableton over the past ten years, it’s been amazing to see more and more churches adapt the use of music technology in their worship services. You don’t typically see just a Boss TU-2 Tuner on the ground in front of the worship leader anymore. Now you see all sorts of gadgets and electronic music wizardry – laptops on stands, bright LEDs, foot controllers, MIDI keyboards, iPads, audio interfaces, wireless transmitters, a pile of XLR cables, etc. Lots of fun stuff… right? #SmilingBig

I was talking with a producer the other day and he said that he believes that the laptop computer will be to this upcoming generation what the acoustic guitar was to past generations. I agree with him 100%. The acoustic guitar will definitely always be around, and there will always still be “that kid” at youth group sitting in the corner playing to the girls. But this is a new day, and what kids can do on computers now is amazingly affordable and accessible. Computers and software are their instruments… and they are electronic music producers.

One of the main reasons I use loops is because I really enjoy “playing” them. I see them as another instrument that I’m able to play while leading worship – which I find really enjoyable. An endless possibility of fresh sounds and creativity at my fingertips (or feet).
Loops and MultiTracks are also a very effective and simple way to tighten up the sound of your worship team – whether your church is big or small. It’s something that ANYONE can do with the right tools and training. That’s one of the reasons I started LoopCommunity.com – to resource the church and provide worship leaders with the tools they need to take their worship services to the next level.

However, I have a nightmare – and this is what it looks like:

Worship leader Joe from Spring Valley Church is up on stage getting ready to lead people in worship. He’s been leading for a long time, however it’s his first time using loops during the weekend services. He proudly has his laptop, new foot controller and audio interface all configured and laid out at his feet. Service begins and Joe starts fumbling around with his feet trying to trigger his Loops – but he keeps hitting the wrong buttons and the loops are misfiring. Whoops – Joe also forgot to wake his computer screen from sleep before they started! So he bends down in the middle of the song and starts fiddling with his computer. All the while, the band slowly starts to fall apart and people are staring at Joe wondering why he is checking his Facebook during service. I think you get the picture… instead of focusing on leading the congregation into God’s presence, Joe is focusing on all of this technical equipment.

The primary role of the “worship leader” is to do just that – lead people in worship. Not be completely distracted by a bunch of electronic music gadgets. Here’s my heart – the last thing that I want is for worship leaders to start buying all the latest technology and implementing it into their worship service on Sunday morning just because it’s the “cool”, “hip” thing to do. It would be a sad day if all of a sudden worship leaders were neglecting their primary responsibility of leading people in worship, because they have transferred their focus to their computers and loop rigs instead of the Glory of God. If that sounds like your story, we have failed you. LC is here to help enhance your worship service. Don’t let technology become a wall between you and the congregation. I feel the same way about music stands, but that’s another post for another day.

Now hear me out – I am NOT saying that people shouldn’t use loops and technology in worship. Not at all. In fact, I believe that we can (and NEED to) raise the bar of excellence in our worship teams and music creativity. Loops and MultiTracks are an easy and highly effective way to do this. We most definitely have to give our all and BEST in our musicianship, continually growing and learning our instruments… never staying stagnant in our musical development. But what I am saying is that before you start using Loops and technology in worship, make sure that you’re comfortable with it before you get up in front of 300 people to lead. That is another reason why LoopCommunity.com exists – to train and resource worship leaders how to use technology in their worship services. It should be something that helps you, not distracts you. We are here to make it EASY for you and are committed to that.

As worship leaders, we must remember that our primary responsibility is to lead the people God has placed in front of us. It is a huge responsibility every Sunday morning and we need to really feel the weight of that. Sunday morning is not the time for our own personal worship time (eyes closed), or our time to play with MIDI controllers and computers. Those 30 minutes are precious – so lets make sure we’re making the most of it and leading people into the presence of God.

Loops and electronic music are a blast, and I believe the future of worship music. Let’s just make sure that we’re still focused on what really matters.

SOME TIPS AND SUGGESTIONS:

1. If you’re new at using loops, use the resources and training at Loop Community to prepare before you start using them in your church service. We have an active forum of people who are more than willing to help, as well as Ableton personal training. It’s easy, and once you get the hang of it – you’ll be rocking in no time. Practice makes perfect.

2. Before using new technology in your church service, try it a few times in your band rehearsals. That way, you can iron out all the wrinkles before you stand up to lead on Sunday morning. Just like you would practice singing a new song or guitar chords before you lead, Loops and MultiTracks should be treated the same. Be prepared.

3. Never let technology take charge of the worship service. Remember that its there to enhance and improve your music sound, but should never dictate or take away from your primary leadership responsibility. It’s a tool to help you, not rule you.

 

About the Author:
Matt McCoy is a worship leader and songwriter from Chicago, IL. He is also a founder of LoopCommunity.com