Finding the right tools for WORSHIP with limited MUSICIAN resources
Churches with limited musician resources seem to be occurring in epidemic proportions. Also, many churches want to be able to utilize modern worship songs in their times of worship, but find it difficult to do so without proper instrumentation. Today, we have technologies available that provide great solutions for churches that need help. In this series of posts, I will be talking about many great solutions for churches of all worship styles–whether you need just a pianist or an entire band to assist in your times of corporate worship. Last week I began reviewing virtual worship bands–applications that can fill in missing parts of your band and provide great flexibility in live worship. Today, we look at an app that has many LifeWayWorship tracks available to use with it. Stay tuned for additional options in weeks to come.
Worship Band in Hand is a mobile app for iOS (iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch). It provides church and worship leaders with a backing band that can be tailored to their needs. It’s a whole worship band that fits in your hand.
Anyone Can Lead
You don’t have to own an acoustic guitar to lead worship. Want to play bass and lead worship by yourself? Let Worship Band in Hand fill in the rest of the band, and you’re good to go. Same thing goes for keyboardists, electric guitarists or singers. You do what you do, and let Worship Band in Hand do the rest!
You can mix the songs just the way you like them. Guitars not loud enough? You can turn them up. Drums too loud? You can turn them down. Already have an acoustic guitar player? Just mute the acoustic in the app and play along. It’s up to you what Worship Band in Hand sounds like, and your mix is saved for later when you use their Set List feature.
Every song in Worship Band in Hand comes with a click track. So, you can play along and stay in time with the song. The click comes out the RIGHT Channel, and all the music comes out the LEFT Channel. Send your iDevice’s output to your mixing board using a “Y-Adapter”, and you can send the click to your band’s monitors just like you would any other instrument.
You can create and edit Set Lists in the app. Add the songs you want for your next service to a Set List. Then, during practice, you can get the mix just right. When you press play on the Set List in your service, the app plays back everything just as you left it. You can also share set lists at an additional charge (monthly subscription)–see information below in add-on items.
You can change the key of a song up or down a whole step (in half step increments) to better fit your voice. So, you can use each song in 5 different keys. When you’re using the Set List feature, your key selection will be saved with your mix settings.) Be careful that you only use keys that are congregationally friendly. The app does allow you to sing songs in keys not conducive to great congregational singing.
You can change the tempo of the song to be faster or slower. You can adjust the tempo up to 10 bpm slower or faster.
Rearrange the Song
You are no longer stuck playing a single arrangement for a song. You can now move or remove sections of any song to fit what you need it to be. While you can move or remove sections, you are not allowed to add additional sections. Unfortunately, you are not able to save arrangements in your song list for future use as some other virtual band options give you.
Loop a Section on the Fly
When the song you are performing is inspiring people to worship, and you want to repeat the section you’re playing, simply press the loop button to repeat it. Unlike the some other virtual worship bands under consideration, this one does not allow you to jump to other sections of the song; you can only loop the section you are currently on. You can utilize a bluetooth foot pedal to loop the section that is currently playing.
Support for UP TO Five Devices
Your worshipbandinhand.com account can be linked to 5 devices for playing songs you purchase. You can sign-in to your account at any time and deactivate devices if you need to free up an authorization. This allows the songs you purchase to download to those devices.
Hundreds of tracks are currently available–all of which are downloaded through the Apple store via your WBIH app. Songs come in one key, but the app allows you to choose +/- two half steps (incrementally) above or below the key, giving you options of five keys. Be sure to choose keys that are congregationally friendly. A great asset is that WBIH has many LifeWayWorship tracks available. This allows you to purchase instrumental and vocal parts from LifeWayWorship.com that coordinate exactly with the track.
Rehearsal & Practice Benefits
If you use this app for live worship, your worship team members can practice at home with the app to better prepare for rehearsals. The player can play her part and have WBIH play all the other parts. The particular part can be isolated to help learn it as well. Practice in playing with a click track can be a huge help as well.
The app is free. Songs cost $9.99 – $19.99, the higher ones being pretty pricey for the limited functionality of the app. Download it from the app store.
Add-on Features at Additional Cost
Standalone Click Track
The standalone click track will allow you to play a click track separately from songs in WBIH. You can play the click track from the main Songs Tab, or you can add click tracks with custom settings to your Set Lists.
Synchronize Playback and Set Lists
The syn bundle gives you two features. For devices that are using the same WBIH account, it allows you to sync Set Lists between all of the devices, ad it gives you the ability to sync playback of all of the devices that are on the same Wi-Fi network or within Bluetooth range of each other.
Atmosphere Pads for Ambience
Cost: each key is $2.49 or all 12 for $24.99
Created in partnership with WorshipCo, the atmosphere pad is a customizable synthesizer exclusive to Worship Band In Hand. Use it to set the mood during reflective moments such as prayer, or as an underlying sonic bed for worship songs. Buy individual keys, or all 12. Search “Atmosphere Pad” in the song store.
Purchase their Songs or Upload Your Own
They have hundreds of songs available for $9.99 (some are $19.99) that are recorded by professional musicians, giving you high quality sound. But if needed, you can also upload your own multi-tracks and use them inside Worship Band in Hand with an add-on monthly subscription. This does require some audio editing knowledge to make sure that tracks are in the correct format for upload, etc. Specific information is available on the Custom Uploads page on the account menu.
Last week, I showcased a virtual band that has awesome capabilites at a bargain price, but is limited by the customization of the audio mix, i.e. you can only have (1) full band sound, (2) acoustic guitar only, or (3)full band without acoustic guitar. Worship Band-in-Hand is not nearly as feature rich as iSingWorship and it costs more than three times as much per song, but it does allow you to adjust the mix just like you want it and mute the instruments you desire to mute, making it work for many settings iSingWorship will not work so well. Another great feature is that WBIH has hundreds of LifeWayWorship tracks that you can use with LWW charts to play along. This app does not have video out capabilites to show on screens like iSingWorship or another app we will look at in the coming weeks.