Using a Worship Backing Band System

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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

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I wonder what would happen if you and your guitar and a few others, instead of worrying about the right effect on stage, used the paucity of instruments at the front as an opportunity to get the congregation to sing.   Isn't it about their worship?

Participant

Actually Leo, not only our band but the congregation appreciates it as well.  Our musicians (especially developing musicians) find it helpful in their musical development in that it pushes them to stay on tempo and they feel less shy when there is a whole band kind of feel.  Some have gotten better by leaps and bounds. They've become better, more confident musicians.

Our congregation appreciates the full sound and actually sing the contemporary songs with a lot more vigor.  So it enhances their worship experience as well.

AKD

Community Builder

I am not sure I follow all the things you mentioned. I have a simple rule for worship. If the music/singing on the stage or front of the church is amplified I no longer am able to worship because I can not compete with microphones and amplifiers.  Why sing when the entertainers up front do it for you? Seems you teach the congregation NOT to sing.

Participant

I guess that is your personal preference.  Our church sings a lot and loud even with a full band on stage. You seem to be suggesting that if there's a full band then it's entertainment which is not necessarily true. Not everyone worships the same way.  Your response also judges those who are being used by the Lord to lead people into the Lord's presence through contemporary music.  By it's nature, contemporary worship music is more of a band oriented style.  It speaks to many people in our culture in a way you may not appreciate. But God still inspires some very faithful, committed Christian men and women to write this contemporary worship music from the depths of their love for Christ.  Your assumptions are just that, assumptions and judgements.

I can understand everything but this is my own opinion that with loudness and using of instruments on guitar it is very difficult to do worship.