In the previous post, we saw a few ways to lead worship without music. But, what if you still want to use music without musicians?
Then, the solution you'd want is backing track software.
Backing tracks have been around for some time now, but in recent years, the tech to use them has advanced substantially—so much so that it’s quite easy and convenient to set things up quickly and start leading worship. There are many worship specific backing tracks software out there—I have mentioned Band-in-Hand before; then there’s Worship Backing Band made by the cool folks at Musicademy, Fly Worship etc.
In this post, we’ll look at WorshipSong Band—a versatile, cross-platform and flexible solution to setup and use backing tracks in worship. You can install it in on almost any kind of hardware/OS—iPAD, Android tablets, Mac and Windows machines. And, it’s also totally affordable ‘cos it’s available at the price of FREE!
Let’s take a look at WorshipSong Band's features
Watch the video for an overview of WSB:
- Supports 12 tracks with a separate click track and ambient pad feature to playback pad loops between songs
- Tracks can be mixed (presets available), pitch shifted, and looped in any order
- Ability to spontaneously move between sections of a song with a foot pedal (looping, song flow, dynamics and song order can be controlled)
- Chord charts can be integrated and distributed to the entire band and also transposed on the fly
- You can also project lyrics to an external monitor—WSB can therefore double up as a church projection software too
A standout feature is the open file format that’s used by WSB freeing us to use backing tracks from various other content providers like WorshipSong.com, PraiseCharts.com,WorshipBackingBand.com, Multitracks.com, LoopCommunity.com. This gives us access to a wider selection of songs. If you want to use your own tracks, that’s possible too!
I’ve been playing around with WSB for a week now and totally like what I’m seeing so far. Mark Snyder, who runs WorshipSong Band was kind enough to provide a coupon code, which allowed me to download and test it with many songs in different keys, tempos and styles. Though I am using a very basic Android tablet, it still managed well enough.
The only issue I’ve encountered so far is with the store to buy tracks. Twice after the purchase, the download links failed because of connectivity issues at my end and forced me to buy the songs again and get new download links. If I were not using a coupon and had to actually pay for it, I would have had to pay twice! Hopefully, this will be fixed soon. Mark subsequently confirmed that he's changed the settings to allow multiple download attempts, how's that for customer service!
I also hear that a new feature to change the tempo of a song is also on the way along with an integrated metronome. According to Mark, "With this, for many resources, you will be able to use it as a built-in click track. In this case, you could buy something like a Praisecharts Rhythm track (for $2 each if you buy in bulk) or any other split track, then play the built in pads and the built in metronome, and have a great resource for very little money per song with access to a huge library. You would lose individual instrument control but for the price that's a good tradeoff. And you could mix and match these with full multi-tracks. The technology is really designed to make backing track software affordable everywhere." Considering the high price points of backing tracks, this would ease the burden for smaller ministries.
If there’s an additional feature I’d like to see in WSB, it would be the ability to add vocal cues, which works nicely in Worship Backing Band. That apart, WorshipSong Band is excellent at being the band when there is no band! I’d happily recommend it to anyone looking to get started with using backing tracks for worship.
What’s your favorite worship backing tracks software?