In this Getting Started article, we are going to answer the biggest questions and concerns around using Tracks during worship:
What are Tracks?
Tracks are audio stems from the original song that can be used to accompany a live band. A MultiTrack purchase from MultiTracks.com includes an individual audio track of each instrument in the song (each guitar, keys part, etc.) available to use in our iOS Tracks app Playback or as a computer download. Tracks on MultiTracks.com come in a variety of options, from a single audio file to a full MultiTrack.
For example, here is the full list of Tracks available for Jireh by Maverick City Music.
Notice that the MultiTrack for Jireh includes 10 instruments separated into individual audio tracks (drums, percussion... choir), as well as a Click Track and a Guide.
What is a Click Track?
The Tracks from a song are exported directly from the original song itself, which locks those tracks into a specific time. Similar to a metronome, a Click Track is an audio track audible to only the band that helps keep everyone playing in time with the Tracks. The Click Track that accompanies a song's Tracks is created to be perfectly in sync with the tempo of the song (including tempo changes).
For bands and musicians who have never played alongside a Click Track, getting used to the sound of a metronome can take some time. We encourage practicing with a Click Track before introducing Tracks. This will help your worship team acclimate to playing in time and with in-ear monitors before introducing
Tracks and a Guide Cue.
What is a Guide Cue?
The Tracks of a song are built to follow the song's exact arrangement and song sections (verse, chorus, etc.). While a band can memorize and learn the arrangement of a song by memory, the Guide is a vocal cue that informs the band which song section is coming up, 1 measure before each section. Whether playing the song's original arrangement or creating a custom arrangement in Playback, the Guide Cue will make sure your band is always aware of what section is ahead, so they can focus more on the moment and less on the song structure.
Why do bands use Tracks?
Introducing Tracks to your team can bring lots of benefits to the experience of leading worship, as well as break down some long-standing barriers and distractions between the band and engagement.
Tracks improve band musicianship by introducing a Click Track. Even without Tracks, using a Click Track live is a major catalyst for tighter band timing and more consistency as a musical unit.
Tracks supplement or complete the band's sound. Whether a musician over-sleeps on a Sunday or a song is scheduled with a bigger sound than your live team can provide, Tracks make a bigger sound possible without a huge budget or production.
Tracks make it possible to perform a song in the intended style that may be difficult to re-create only with a live band (synthesizers, special FX, strings, etc.)
Using a Click Track and Guide Cues as well as Tracks frees up the music director to focus on leading in the moment and less on directing the band. The incredible flexibility of using Tracks with Playback keeps the power in the music director's hand to call audibles during the service, from looping song sections to live transitioning between songs at any time.
Steps to using Tracks in worship
Introducing Tracks to your team requires a few pieces of equipment and a learning curve for your team:
Introduce in-ear monitoring for bands to hear the Click Track in their ears. Using in-ear monitoring (either instead of or in addition to stage wedges) is required for running Tracks live. The Click Track and Guide Cue must be audible to only the band on-stage and not the congregation. To discover some in-ear monitoring solutions, we encourage checking out Sweetwater solutions and researching what is the best solution for your live gear setup.
Recommended: Sweetwater Buyer's Guide to In-Ear Monitoring
Download and use Playback as your free Tracks player. To use Tracks live, a software that can play Tracks is necessary. Fortunately, we at MultiTracks.com have built a Tracks app free to download on the iOS App Store that makes Tracks and Clicks available directly on your iPhone or iPad. Any purchased Tracks are instantly available in Playback, and Click Tracks are completely free to use.
Find the best solution for sending click and Tracks to your sound system. While there are many ways to send Click Tracks and track audio from Playback, here is the simplest solution for getting started:
Introduce a Click Track to the band. Once Playback is downloaded, we recommend introducing a Click Track to your band before completely switching to Tracks. Use a Click Track for every song in your setlist by itself, without any Tracks. There can be a learning curve when acclimating to the sound of a Click Track, so give your band (and yourself!) some patience and time to get used to it. Remember that learning to use a Click Track has many benefits for your team and is worth pushing through the awkward first stages!
Purchase and use Tracks. Once your band is using in-ear monitors and used to Click Tracks, introduce Tracks in your service!