I am a pastor who also leads worship teams at the church. I was a worship pastor years ago with a church plant and continue to develop my skills as a vocalist and musician. There are a number of us in the denomination who try and use our gifts and learned skills to develop the worship ministry in our church.
I’ve had the privilege to play and sing with some great musicians over the years leading both contemporary and traditional forms of worship. I enjoy nothing more than being taken into the holy of holies through singing and freely worshipping through the music.
There have been times and presently, when there are just a handful of musicians and vocalists on stage with minimal capabilities or it’s just me with my guitar and one or two others. I or another worship leader put a set together and somehow it feels minimized because the songs (especially the contemporary ones) scream for a full band with keys, drums and a bass, but we don’t have it available. What to do?
Recently I’ve begun using Worship Backing Band software and our worship teams really appreciate it. As a worship leader I like it a lot. There are other programs out there that offer similar capabilities, but WBB is probably one of the simplest to use. I give it a huge two thumbs up. (I’m not getting any endorsements for this by the way.)
“What is it?” all you newbies might be asking.
Worship Backing Band is a multi track pro wav player and is affordable ($49). It’s simple, versatile and intuitive software for rearranging and manipulating WBB audio files. You can download complete worship songs with 14 different wav instrument stems. Once you open the software you can pick and choose what you want to include in the band. For instance, if you already have keys and vocals in your band you can mute those but keep the drums, bass and electric guitar playing if your team is a bit lacking there. You can also adjust how each section functions in the mix too.
What I find very helpful is the addition of vocal cues and two different click tracks. We tend to use the shaker track to keep everyone in time. The fact that it is a split track system means that you can set what comes out to the congregation different than what comes through the monitors for the band to hear. This works exceptionally well if your church has an in-ear monitor system (We don’t but wish we did. But I have used them in different settings).
Since I usually have a guitar in my hand while leading worship, I also use a midi foot controller to move through the different parts of the song making the program work for me, not the other way around. There are simple keystrokes to “repeat” a verse, chorus or section or move through to another section of the song skipping an instrumental part. WBB even lets you change tempo and key. Pretty cool. The aspect that our teams appreciate most is that it forces them to listen and stay on tempo.
There are of course some drawbacks to using the system. Worship Backing Band has a limited number of songs, but keep adding more throughout the year. You can get monthly freebies too. You have to pay for the multi track stems (approx. $13 ea.) and pay a licensing fee if used by more than one person. You need to work with the software just a bit to get the keystrokes down (this is really no biggy though).
So if you’re looking to develop your worship teams, get them pumped and the congregation a bit more engaged in singing the contemporary pieces as well as some hymns, I highly suggest checking this software out. There is other software like Ableton, Main Stage 3 or CustomMix by MultiTracks but they tend to be either more involved to work with or more expensive, or both.
Check out the preview video of Worship Backing Band’s MultiTrack Pro Wav Player