- Jam and Song modes allow for band or solo play
- Intuitive ‘Factory Chord’ feature for quick chord programming
- Can also be triggered via USB, Bluetooth, or MIDI controller
- 5 synth pad sounds come pre-installed and ready for use
- Dream Foot’s MIDI allows control of multiple iPad audio apps
- Easy on-ramping tool for new/growing/young team members
The ‘synth pad’ is perhaps the most versatile element in all of worship music. It has the ability to cover multiple instruments and will often serve a number of functions throughout a service. In a band setting, depending on its selected timbre, it can thump and drone like a bass, punch like a horn section, or shimmer and gloss like a string orchestra. Throughout a Sunday service, the synth pad will blend songs together, create a warm bed of sound upon which a speaker can feel secure, and of course, set a heavenly atmosphere for the closing prayer and altar call.
The synth pad certainly shines in all of these areas, but of all the roles it plays, my favorite is its ability to truly ‘fill out’ the sound of a worship team – especially a growing one.
As a church plant, there are occasions where my worship team runs lean. For example, the team can be as small as one vocalist, an acoustic guitar and a Cajon. While this does something very special for the cohesion of the members playing, the overall sound can be a touch thin. So as the worship leader of our church, I often find myself trying to do everything – lead, sing, play guitar, play keys – it’s an impossibility I’d wager that most leaders attempt. However, a few weeks ago, as I endeavored to tackle the #MultipleInstrumentChallenge with a small team, I discovered an Apple iOS iPad app designed for a very specific purpose… to play pads and guitar at the same time – Dream Foot!
Dream Foot was birthed out of guitarist Filipe Michael’s desire to play both lead lines and keys/pads simultaneously. With the tap of a finger (or a foot) on an iOS based midi controller, Dream Foot triggers pre-programmed chords that play pads within the app. Going a step further, Dream Foot is also able to send an internal midi signal to multiple audio apps, causing them to play simultaneously across on the iPad! This app is also able to send a midi signal via Bluetooth to DAWs such as Ableton Live – but for the intents and purposes of this article, I will focus on independent iPad use.
The two modes, JAM and SONG, each have very specific functions. The simple and straightforward JAM mode offers a grid layout of pre-programmed chords (more on this shortly) that can be played in any order (even simultaneously via the iPad’s multi-touch capabilities). SONG mode, the original purpose for which this app was created, offers a page with multiple pre-programmed chord progressions that, with the tap of a finger or midi controller, will cycle through each chord in succession. In addition, each chord-progression-line can be selected, providing the ability to switch from a verse to a chorus to a bridge, back to the chorus and so on. It’s a novel idea and it works beautifully.
There are two ways to program chords into both JAM and SONG mode. FACTORY CHORD is a beautifully intuitive system in which one can select the root, quality, extensions, inversions and more. The second option is to program the chord manually in CUSTOM CHORD where one can ‘tap’ in the notes on a provided digital keyboard. Fully flexible, Dream Foot will allow the user to select the chord with FACTORY CHORD, then further tailor it with CUSTOM CHORD. You are now ready to create big, beautiful sounds with shimmering highs and full lows that truly fill out the sound of your worship team!
Finally, if you would like to take it to the next level, Dream Foot is able to send a midi-signal to other midi-enabled apps across the iPad. For our worship team, I use the app to trigger IK Multimedia’s free iGrand piano app and AudioKit’s free FM Player synth app. Simply select SETTINGS, then MIDI and then MIDI OUT. Tap the apps you’d like Dream Foot to control… and voila – they are connected – you’re playing through multiple apps!
- Sustain Mode – This mode will hold the chosen chords until the sustain button is deselected.
- Copy/Paste Chord – Copy a chord and paste it anywhere, even across JAM and SONG mode.
- Instant Transposition – After entering the song’s BASE KEY, there is an option to TRANSPOSE into any other key!
- Midi Map – Map your iOS compatible midi device to trigger specific buttons and options within the app.
- Velocity Slider – Control the midi velocity that Dream Foot sends.
- Sounds – Dream Foot comes preloaded with five different sounds from which to choose!
Dream Foot is a powerful app for worship, there is no doubt about that. But it also accomplishes something very special in addition to its ability to fill out a band’s sound – it is an awesome ‘on-ramping’ tool that allows new members to become effective and foundational parts of the team. With just a bit of pre-programming from a leader and a little at-home practice with the chord charts and a metronome, a new/growing/young member of the team can create a beautiful sound with Dream Foot. That builds confidence and a sense of “what I’m doing matters!” And that feeling can grow a team in a very special way. This app retails for $14.99 in the Apple App Store, and for me, it is worth every penny. It really is a dream come true.