As a worship leader, over time, I’ve developed a great workflow using iPhone and iPad apps. What we are able do with apps as worship leaders today would have been unthinkable even five years ago. Tuners, metronomes, multitrack recording, service planning – all of it available literally in the palm of your hand thanks to your phone and some great developers.
The tools we have at our disposal can help develop skill, can help our creative development, and can help us be more efficient with our time. Ultimately, our calling is to equip people in our church to live their lives as faithful followers of Jesus. Apps like these should help us as we work toward that goal.
Take a second and just think about what you would have paid 10 years ago for equipment to do all the things your phone can do today when it comes to your job as a worship leader. We are definitely living in the future.
Being a Mac guy all of these apps are going to be available for Apple products, some are also available for Android. I’ve added links to both the iOS and Android store when I can.
Planning Center is one of those no-brainer tools that every worship leader should use. Scheduling musicians and other teams, planning services, choosing songs, attaching chord charts, listening to mp3s, communicating with your team – Planning Center does it all. There are free and paid plans depending on how many users you have.
We have used Planning Center since 2007 and I can’t imagine doing my job now without it. The redesigned iPhone app (they also now have an Android app) means you and your whole team can have the full power of Planning Center right on your phone. Not only does it work great online but the mobile app is a thing of beauty. Definitely recommended.
BONUS: Planning Center Music Stand is an additional app available for Planning Center customers who have it activated on their account. Music Stand allows your musicians to get their charts right on their iPad, write themselves notes during rehearsal and it even includes a built-in media player and metronome. Awesome.
Yes, there’s an extra cost to Music Stand ($10/month on top of your Planning Center Services account fee) but you’ll save that quickly in time and paper costs by reducing the amount of printing you need to do for charts and lead sheets. Both Planning Center Services and Music Stand are available for iPhone and Android.
SoundCue for iPhone and iPad are apps to run click tracks with your band. Click tracks are stereo audio tracks which have a metronome in one channel and some musical element (pads, percussion, maybe an additional electric guitar part or even some background vocals) on the other channel. Metronome is sent to our musician’s in-ear monitors while the loop/track channel is sent to our ears and to the house. I reviewed SoundCue a while ago on my blog here. This app is on the pricey side but the functionality is great and it solves an issue which can be a real hiccup for teams that are looking to add to their sound on Sunday morning.
If you are using click tracks from the guys at Multitracks you need to be using Playback on your iPhone and iPad. This app has both a free and paid version and allows you to download, play and edit (in the pro version) click track files from your Multitracks account. This is a game changer app and is a regular part of our arsenal with our worship team. Multitracks uses the original studio files from all of your favorite worship artists and those tracks can be bought and downloaded to your computer or to Playback. Mix, edit, and export those files to produce a great sounding track to support your band in your services. At present, Playback is only available for iPhone and iPad.
If you want to go next level with your songwriting then Hum is the right answer. You will LOVE Hum because it pulls together so many of the individual apps you use on your phone for songwriting – Voice Memos, Notes, Evernote, Dropbox, etc –and brings the functionality of each of those apps to one place. Record quick song ideas, jot down songwriting ideas or lyrical inspiration and then go back and search through all of your ideas in one place. No more clicking from app to app to get your idea from inspiration to completion, it’s all in one place with Hum. This app is only available for iPhone.
Ever stuck with an out-of-tune guitar and don’t want to pull out your tuner, plug it in, go string by string? You need Polytune. This is a beautiful little app that lives on your home screen and will show you tuning on all six strings at once. Seriously! Give your guitar one strum across all strings and the screen will show you where each string is either sharp or flat. Polytune also works great as a traditional tuner. This one is a must have. This app is only available for iPhone.
5) Music Memos
Music Memos is another huge leap forward in app technology that we’ve seen in the last couple years. This is voice memos on steroids! Record audio and watch it automatically figure out bar markings, chord changes, add drum patterns, and bass lines. Incredible. Audio from Music Memos can be exported to Garage Band and then to any other audio editing software you use. This is an incredible free app that should allow you to capture and develop some awesome songwriting ideas. This app is only available for iPhone.
So there you have five of the best worship and musician apps to help you in your craft. I’ve written a longer ebook called, “Best Apps for Worship Leaders” that’s available over at my website for free download.
What other worship or music apps would you add to this list?