Pro’s / Con’s of the Worship Leader Triggering the Loop?

Lets start with some pros to the worship leader triggering the loop.  Many people have asked me, “Why do you want to trigger the loops? Don’t you have enough going through your head?”. Well yeah, you’re right – but on the same hand I think God has gifted worship leaders in this way to process all this stuff at the same time.  Think about this: When I am leading the weekend services, I have spent my whole week thinking about the flow of the set, each arrangement and how everything is going to come together.  I’ve specifically built or purchased a loop for the arrangement I am using.  Having the worship leader trigger the loop gives him the ability to kill the loop and click if you get off and he is usually the first person that knows the band is off.  But on the other hand, it could it be distracting to the CHURCH when the worship leader is trying to stomp his foot at just the right time to trigger the next part of the loop and then he accidentally triggered it early and then has to kill it.  Or take this for instance: Lets say you just ended a song and you read a scripture verse and then you pour out your heart before the people about what God is teaching you and you can just feel the presence of the Lord. Then you shut your bible and go to hit the button for the loop and it didn’t work! So you press it again and still no loop… finally the third time it goes.  Yeah that happened to me a couple weeks ago.  So yes there are down sides to the worship leader triggering the loop because it can be very distracting to both the leader and congregation.

 

Pro’s / Con’s of Having Someone Else in the Band Trigger the Loop?

Having someone else in the band trigger the loop can have great advantages.  This is a very non-distracting way to run a click and a loop. You can have everything all set up for the drummer or keys player to just hit the button at the right time. Another “pro” of having the worship leader run the loops is that no one knows the flow of a song / set better than the worship leader. It forces the worship leader to be prepared ahead of time as well – arrangements are clearly thought out, as well as transition points. There are some disadvantages to having someone other than the worship leader trigger the loops. If the band get’s of the click, the drummer or keys player may not kill it because they don’t have a free hand or don’t notice it. Then your band may keep playing and fighting against a loop that is a measure ahead. This can cause great confusion and distract from the worship experience.  The learning curve is a big disadvantage to having someone else trigger the loop.  It takes time to get use to triggering each part of the song and when you don’t have that much time during your rehearsal, you need to spend your time wisely.  I suggest if you want to have someone else in the band trigger the loops start out by having them trigger the click during a service when your not using loops so they can get a feel for doing multiple things during the worship set. You may also want to meet with them ahead of time during the week to practice.

 

These are just some ideas. If you have any questions or comments, let’s continue the conversation on the blog. Comment below!


16 Comments

Josh Wagner · November 10, 2011 at 3:20 pm

I’m kinda in the “other musician do the click” camp. My reason being, the worship leader should be worried about leading more than a technical detail going off as planned. Right brain/left brain contrast. If something happens to the loop (say it doesn’t fire) then the leader can cover without having to switch mindsets from “leader” to “troubleshooter” in a few blinks. Takes him out of the flow. The other musician can work on it in the background and once it works, the leader can jump right into the song.

Jake · November 12, 2011 at 1:45 pm

Hey Josh

Thanks for the comment. I totally understand where you are coming from. But I would say that in the worship service I am worried and thinking through every aspect of that service I am the Leader and the Troubleshooter and yeah it might not go off perfect every time but I am going to do whatever I can to make it the best I can. In most situation I am the one running the click and loop but if I do have someone who is confident and knows what they are doing yeah I would let them run it instead. It is going to be just as awkward or flow breaking if the leader is running the loops and it doesn’t fire as much as someone else running the loop and it doesn’t fire. Hope this helps you understand where I am coming from. I definitely dont have it all figure out.

Josh Wagner · November 14, 2011 at 8:09 am

Yup, I know exactly where you’re coming from. If I were leading, I’d probably want that in my hands regardless! And I don’t have it figured out either. I just like playing both sides. (That and I’m the keys player in my band who is used to running click/loop!) Iron sharpens iron. 🙂

Just found this site a bit ago, and really excited to keep an eye on it! Thanks!

Andrew · November 16, 2011 at 9:56 am

Hey guys,

As the drummer for our worship team, I’ve been creating, programming, and triggering all of the loops our team uses each weekend. During rehearsals, the whole band gets the vision and understanding for the flow of the worship set. As each one of us are more than just musicians, we are worship leaders in our church and we are leading just as much as the front person on Sunday mornings. It is definitely less of a distraction however, if I am doing the loop stuff, and it gives our front person a LOT less to worry about and they can focus a little more on the spirit in the room, while I take care of the technical details. This is just my experience, however. Different things work in different situations.

Jimmy · November 17, 2011 at 3:23 pm

Andrew,

I agree with your take. I am the worship leader and we talk through flow and feel in our practices so the drummer knows just as well as i do how the service should flow. Also, if it doesn’t go exactly as planned we need to remember the congregation doesn’t know exactly how we planned it. You will never get someone saying “the set was good except that 2 second lapse between songs.” It’s more important that we focus on engaging the people in worship than worrying about those details during a service.

Jimmy

Jake · November 17, 2011 at 5:29 pm

Josh

We are glad that you you found the site to!

Corb Felgenhour · November 18, 2011 at 6:55 am

Glad to see someone else writing about this. You are wrting what I’ve been thinking. Principle I have learned with running the click is “He who runs the click runs the rehearsal.” Done this both ways and found this principle to rule the day. So I have chosen the better solution (although ultimatelty not best) to run it myself. Unfortunately, by me “hogging” the control of the click, this does not encourage a sharing of responsibilities of the practical matters in leading worship. The result is that my team is unable to use the click when I am absent since no one is trained to use it. All the negatives to this you mentioned earlier–right on the money–very true.

Jake · November 19, 2011 at 9:25 pm

Andrew & JIMMY

First off thanks so much for the feedback. I think the number one goal of this post is to start up a conversation of how people are triggering loops in their worship environment and you guys both bring very valid points to the conversation. Everyone’s worship band size and quality of musicianship is different so there are a lot of variables that play into who runs the click and loop. If I know I have a week where I don’t have that strong of a drummer and I really want him to be focused on what he is playing and where he is going then I would not want him distracted by running the loop and click. I guess I am more pulled towards running the Loop and click myself because every time I am leading I am running it or when I am just playing in the band I am still running it. If I wasn’t we probably wouldn’t have any loops because people are just not that experienced, but that is just the beauty of Loop community and having these conversation, to build up and help worship leaders who might not know how to use loops and give them some things to think about and some resources to try it out. thanks for the comments.

Jake · November 19, 2011 at 9:32 pm

Corb

I really like that saying. “He who runs the click runs the rehearsal” I have also found this very true. Just wondering how you run the Click and loop when you are leading (do you lead from keys, acoustic or Keytar?) I would love to here how some other people are running loops especially as the worship leader triggering the loop and click. Thanks for furthering the conversation.

Matthew Black · November 19, 2011 at 10:51 pm

My personal opinion is that the Worship Leader should not have rights to trigger the loop. He/She needs to focus on Playability,Singing,Stage Presence. If you know one person in the band is just good at staying on tempo and maybe was in Marching band in HS than I would give it to them cause they probably have an ear for tempo, Buts that’s not always the case. Either way, If you don’t have anyone like that than just give it to the drummer cause he listens to his In-Ears and try’s to stay on tempo with that so he will probably the first one to notice that the band is off tempo.. And if the loop won’t play..than the drummer should just count the band off..which all needs to be discussed before the show.. Also, if you’re able to get a hold of loops and are that much into Worship/Music that you probably have a good set of Musicians that won’t get off tempo. 🙂 thanks for letting me share my opinion..tell me what you think about it and tell me if you just totally disagree! Thanks!

Matt McCoy · November 22, 2011 at 12:54 am

I personally prefer to run the click myself because I know when I want to launch or disable the click. I suppose this is something that could be given to the drummer pretty easily, and honestly, might be kind of a nice thing to let go of. One thing I’ve noticed is that by me controlling the click, sometimes the drummer get’s thrown off a little at the beginning. Since he didn’t trigger it, it takes him a little longer to jump on it to start the song. But for most drummers that I’ve played with for a while, they have it down with no problem. This is a great discussion and I’ve really enjoyed reading about how different people run click in their worship set. When I run loops, I run individual loop parts / sections. Because of this, it makes more sense for me to run the click / loops. If I only used full arrangement tracks, I would probably have the drummer trigger them.

Michelle Weger · December 2, 2011 at 9:55 am

I have the drummer triggering our stuff. To me, if you don’t have a drummer who is competent to trigger, you probably shouldn’t be using loops. If you are using loops/click with a drummer, the drummer should be skilled enough to be the first to know when you lose the one. Timing is his/her job. As worship leaders we have to be willing to spend the time with our musicians that is required. The worship leader shouldn’t know the service flow better than anyone else in the band- everyone should be equally apprised, focused and prepared. Putting in the time to train and coach a drummer to be exactly what you need him/her to be is worth every second. I know we are all working with different skill levels and what have you, but if we are putting hours of energy into building loops and arranging electronic instrumentation while our drummer isn’t confident enough to run it- I wonder if we shouldn’t reevaluate where our time is going.

Jake Stemo · December 11, 2011 at 8:57 pm

I guess one of the huge factors that I have been leaving out is… If you are using full loop arrangement tracks all the time or if you are triggering different parts. When I am leading I am triggering lots of different parts most of the time. It may be a swelling pad in the bridge or tamb, shaker, or hithat part that is only for a a couple measures. I do use full arrangement loops with a vocal cue and trigger them. This is how I prefer to do this but I do see the value in someone else triggering the loops. It is probably something I should let go of when I can.

Preston · February 11, 2012 at 9:19 am

Pro’s and Cons to this.

Pros – I am our worship leader and I like having control of the loop. I like having control of it to because I launch a pad underneath of our songs that I can have keep playing after we have finished the song. I also like the opportunity to stop the click if we are off. Also, the way that we have the loops setup, i like to switch when I feel it is necessary.

Cons – You are sometimes forced to be more attentive on the music aspect instead of leading. As the worship pastor, when you get off most people don’t realize it in the crowd, but that 2-3 seconds before you turn off the click feels awful. You could be in a very worshipful moment and have to do a really quick turnaround.

I think for us, I will be transitioning out of triggering the loops. I have one guy who is really dedicated to our services and he can basically run the band and I can completely focus on whats going on as far as leading goes.

I would like to learn more though about automatically starting the next clips, but I will keep learning.

On another note @Matt McCoy, I work with Aaron VanFleet. He told me he use to know you from his time at Willow. Aaron is our Youth Pastor here in Georgetown, KY.

Matt McCoy · February 13, 2012 at 7:28 pm

really good input, Preston. Thanks. I’ve done it both ways. Having someone else trigger them is nice because it allows you to really focus on leading worship. But it’s also good as the worship leader to have the control because you know exactly where you want to go during the set, especially if you decide to change something. Aaron VanFleet is a good man. I miss him.

Greg Naugher · February 17, 2012 at 10:39 am

I’m the co-band director and bass player – we use a talkback system where either I or the other director (through the in-ear monitors) talk the band through songs including starts/stops/segues, help cue vocals, etc. Drummer starts and stops click in Ableton but we may change that to have me do it with a foot controller as we start using more loops with the click (drummer’s feet are already pretty busy). We use several vocal worship leaders and I follow their cues musically to direct the band so they don’t have to think about all that stuff. Works well – we usually stick to plan for timing purposes as we have two services back-to-back, but when we do go off plan a little I usually can tell where they are headed and just give instructions as needed. Works pretty well for us.

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