Rehearsal Mix – No More Mid-Week Praise Band Practices… Is That Possible?
Rehearsal Mix is awesome! The moment I heard of Rehearsal Mix, I was excited for my praise team. We all understand that sheet music does not cover the multitudes of instrumental parts within a single recording, and often it is difficult to decipher vocal and instrumental parts from the original recording. With the help of Rehearsal Mix, I can offer each player their specific part, way up in the mix, for them to learn each week.
What is Rehearsal Mix?
Rehearsal Mix is a recording of a song with an individual part or track turned way up, while insignificant or irrelevant parts are either not heard or way back in volume. It allows a vocalist or musician to listen to their part without all the guess work. I often hear complaints from vocalists or musicians who struggle to find their harmony or learn a guitar part. Many of them don’t have the experience to understand how to listen to a song and mentally extract their part. Rehearsal Mix simplifies the process. Rehearsal Mix offers a standalone interface directly on their website or as an integration to Planning Center Online.
I signed up for Rehearsal Mix at the time of this article. I had so many questions and want to offer the answers to the many readers of Rocking God’s House. I highly recommend you read Part One of this article if you lack a solid understanding of how songs are recorded using multiple tracks of recordings.
(As a note, I am using Rehearsal Mix using the Planning Center Online integration interface.)
I began with “Today is the Day” from Lincoln Brewster. I’ve played this song many times over the years. I downloaded the main guitar parts and was amazed. Without the clutter of other instruments, it was like I was learning the song for the first time. I heard parts with absolute distinction and clarity.
Next were the parts for my bassist and drummer. My bass player and drummer are both good players. After getting their parts, they said it helped to discover some nuances, and it was great to practice along with their specific part. They love the concept and recognize Rehearsal Mix as an awesome tool. They both added that Rehearsal Mix will be better for them on songs where their parts are more difficult to play and decipher. I did not assign my other guitarist a part—it was too complex for him to learn on such a short time frame.
I am beginning with only one song a week for the first several months. I want to work out the bugs and get the team prepared for the changes. For less experienced players, I will schedule them out a month in advance and get them their Rehearsal Mix parts weeks in advance to relieve the pressure of having to quickly learn difficult parts. Additionally, guitar or bass tablature will be necessary to better accompany their parts if they lack the experience to play by ear.
I wanted to step it up the following week. I went to “Beautiful One” by Jeremy Camp. Not a difficult song, but the Rehearsal Mix tracks had each vocal track individually recorded. This time I assigned the entire team a Rehearsal Mix recording, including vocalists. I noticed each time I assigned Rehearsal Mix tracks, my original iTunes purchased MP3 would get deleted. Planning Center Tech Support said that even though you can only add Rehearsal Mix tracks to a specific key, you must assign the iTunes MP3 to the song and not the key. I had some issues also getting these to show up as attachments on each assigned player’s song attachments. However, it was an error on my part, and tech support quickly resolved the issue.
So what’s the cost?
That is not a straight forward question. I need to answer that question with an example. If you have three guitarists in your team’s rotation, each track you assign to a member is associated with a one-time fee. Assign it to one guitarist, and you will not be charged again for as long as that guitarist is part of your praise band. However, the next time that song goes into rotation with a different guitarist assigned the same part, you will be charged again.
If you are using the integration with Planning Center Online, be certain that everyone is setup with the proper permissions before assigning parts. Anyone with assignments above “Viewer,” will see their assigned part as well as all other players’ and vocalists’ parts.
As an example, both the bassist and drummer were set with the incorrect Planning Online permissions. They could see all three parts I purchased from Rehearsal Mix, not just their own. Why does that matter? As previously mentioned, if your bassist accidentally streams or downloads someone else’s individual part, you get charged! There are multiple training videos on the Rehearsal Mix website that you’ll need to watch to get set up.
Back to the costs: Rehearsal Mix offers Tier Pricing which can reduce your long term costs. Currently pricing varies from $0.79 to $1.29 per track. The tier pricing is based upon the bulk purchase of credits.
I interviewed Phillip Edwards, CEO of MultiTracks.com, and Rehearsal Mix. Phillip elaborated, “We wanted to offer discounts on our pricing for those who are working with an annual budget and wanted the ease of purchasing bulk credits at a discount. We may go into a Lincoln Brewster song which contains eight different guitar parts in the original master, and were trying to sub-divide, mix those, and break those out so the guitarist learning the song will have a continuous rehearsal mix.
“We will offer electric guitar 1, which is your most difficult guitar part. Electric 2 is your rhythm guitar part. Guitar 3 is called your “Extras” guitar part. We engineer these files in currently three different keys, the original key, the one above and one below. Rehearsal Mix will eventually offer six different keys for each song.”
Their service called MultiTracks offers the click track used from the original studio master and a very cool additional feature called “Guide Cues.” The cues include a voice which will act as a guide for the team announcing, intros, verses, choruses, bridges, chorus repeats, etc. The click and guide cues are not included with Rehearsal Mix. However, their website offers a free content area which will allow you to build your own click track and guide cues. They are free of cost and free of licensing; however, you will need to have access to some type of recording software to construct and properly assemble. I will trial and error this with my team. I don’t want to make everything too rigid and mechanical. That could take away from the worship experience.
Integration with Planning Center Online
I asked Phillip how they got their product integrated with Planning Center Online. He told me, “We launched in 2006 at the Saddleback Worship Conference along with Planning Center Online who launched their company at the same place and time. We built a personal relationship with them over the years. Everyone here believes Planning Center Online makes a fantastic product. So when we launched Rehearsal Mix, we all agreed this would be a great integration. The majority of our Rehearsal Mix users are also members of Planning Center. Both environments work very well together.”
As a note, you must first set up your Rehearsal Mix account, purchase credits from Rehearsal Mix, not Planning Center, then enable the integration. Like anything new, it takes a little time to figure out what works best for you and your worship team; however, once setup, these are some of the best combined tools available for Music Directors.
Phillip closed with this statement, “I use Planning Center with Rehearsal Mix at my church. Because Rehearsal Mix prepares our musicians ahead of time, I haven’t had a weekday rehearsal outside of Christmas and Easter in the last four years. Sending the parts in advance and helping to delineate those to all of our team members at my local church has made a massive difference in our preparation for rehearsals.”
This service is worth the cost. The time and effort will pay for itself for many years and songs to come.
Check out Part 1 of this three part series… Allow MultiTracks.com or Rehearsal Mix to Fill In For Your Praise Team!
Part Three of this series will explain how both Rehearsal Mix and MultiTracks can benefit your tech team!
Now Go Rock Gods House!