#1 Click Track - Practical Ways to Improve Your Worship Band
The main tool, in my experience, for improving a band's performance over time is implimenting a click track.
If you're already running an in-ear rig (avioms, wireless IEM's, etc.) there's no reason in my mind why click shouldn't be a part of what's happening. And I'll get to some reasons.
However, if you don't have money for personal mixers for each player or professional in-ear systems for everyone on stage, there are some less expensive ways it can be done. When I was in Kansas City, my campus worship team's first click rig (while we used floor monitors) was really simple. Here's a breakdown of what we used.
Programmable metronome (Boss DB90, phone apps, tons of options out there)
Cost - $3-$200 based on apps and features
My favorite is the Boss DB90 and my favorite app is "Tempo - Metronome with Setlists" from Frozen Ape Pte. Ltd. ($2.99 from the app store)
Run the headphone line from the metronome, tablet, or phone to the headphone amp
My favorite is the PreSonus HP4 - $130
2 headphone extensions
Cost - $30-$40
2 sets of headphones (better with detachable cable to disconnect one ear)
MEElectronics M6 Pro headphones are $50 each and have detachable cables.
One send goes to your drummer, one to the band leader
Cost for 2 - $100
Total Cost - $263 - $470
In any great band, the drummer guides the tempo of the band. For worship bands, where drummers are often volunteers with potentially limited experience, it's generally the responsibility of the worship leader. I believe that great leaders are always pushing their bands toward the ideal, this is why I think the drummer needs to have the click, and the band needs to know that even if tempo changes (which will happen early on), the band needs to follow the drummer. I've often said to my bands, "When in doubt, follow the drummer - he plays louder than you."
The importance of a click track, and having as many people in the band hearing it as possible, is so that everyone in the band has the same reference point with the tempo of the song. Just as horses and oxen improve their strength and coordination from being yoked together, bands improve by being locked together to the same reference point; the same tempo.
If you have questions about how to impliment click tracks into your worship routine, I'd love to help you get started.