How To Have Band Practice With A Click Track

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Musformation has declared this week Click Track Week. Check back here all week to see many articles about making life with the Click Track much easier!

As more and more bands incorporate backing tracks into their setups, the need to play live and rehearse to a click track becomes greater and greater. Even for those bands looking for a stripped down live set a click track can still make you sound a million times better live. As simple as this seems, there are some simple things that bands often neglect when trying to pull this off. We will demystify and answer some common questions about how to get the most of rehearsing with a click track!


Why?
Rehearsing to a click track can really help your band tighten up! If you want your live shows to be a little more energetic and unpredictable you can just rehearse with it and not take it into your live setup. As we have told you before, any band who plays great without a click track, also has the ability to play really well to a click track. If you are going into the studio, many producers are going to want you to record to a click track. If you have rehearsed your songs thoroughly to a click you will gain a much better performance and be able to get through the pains of recording much faster.

When?
One of the biggest mistakes bands make when incorporating the click track into their rehearsals is to put it on too much or too little. When you are writing or jamming the song out this is not the place for the click track. Part of writing a song is finding the best tempo for the song and this comes with playing it a few different ways. The time you accidentally rush the bridge a little may show you the energy the track should have! The best time to turn on the click track is after the form of the song has established and you have played it a few times and feel like it is close to being done. If you are going to be recording the song soon, you should play it to the click as much as possible to find the nuances of the click. With all that said, if you are going in to record the song to make the world notice your band. It is probably a good idea to rehearse to the click more then a dozen times.

How?
Rehearsing with a click track is very easy! You need 2-3 things for the most basic setup!

For some loud bands the output of a metronome may not be loud enough. You may need to purchase a Headphone amplifier or In-Ear Monitors. If you are going to be performing to a backing track see our previous guide on how to do so. One great trick – if you have a mixer for your PA, you can plug your metronome into a channel and use the headphone output as an amplifier. Mackie Mixers are known for having powerful headphone amps. As well Mackie‘s feature an “Alt 3-4 Out Mix” that can drive the headphone amp without putting it through the PA! Simply hit mute on the metronomes channel and click the “ALT- 3-4″ button above the Cue section! For bands who have a lighter sound, you can even use a iPhone to power your isolation headphones. Simply download a free App like Metronome and you are ready to Soft Rock! If you have complex tempo changes in your song, make sure you buy a Metronome/Drum Machine that has programmability. Simply read the manual and learn how to enter the tempo changes in to your machine! 

Jesse Cannon is the editor of Musformation. He produces records at his studio Cannon Found Soundation. Follow him on Twitter at @JesseCannonMusF. For more info please visit his website.