Dead silence.

We’ve all been there. You finish leading a worship song, and the entire church is electric. The presence of God is palpable. But suddenly, as you get ready for the next song, it happens. Dead silence.

You certainly need time to flip chord charts, change capo positions, turn effects pedals on and off, and so on. But it can’t magically happen in the blink of an eye; you need time.

……the clock begins. It almost feels like a pit-crew at a race-car event, “What’s the least amount of time we can make this pit-stop last?”

And so, the clock begins. It almost feels like a pit-crew at a race-car event, “What’s the least amount of time we can make this pit-stop last?” Granted, a pit-crew is a group of trained professionals who knows how to execute in that situation with ease. But if you’re a normal human being like me, needing to get ready for the next song might take more than a split-second.

So what would be an easy solution to create the time you need and to kill the dreaded dead-silence? There are multiple ways to do so, of course. But if you want a quick solution that sounds great and takes very little effort to implement, I’d suggest adding pads to your worship sound in between songs.

Pads (or pad loops) are that ambient, atmospheric sound in the root key of any given song, and they float underneath the rest of your worship team’s sound. And while I’m a massive advocate for using pads during just about any song to add depth and atmosphere (and to make your life easier as a worship leader), I think one of the biggest payoffs of using pads is killing dead-silence in between songs and giving you, as a worship leader the chance to breathe. Breathe.

It’s a simple solution, really. All you need are some great sounding pads and an app that will allow you to “crossfade” from one pad to the next (Pads Live is a great app, as well as many others).

If you don’t have pads playing during your song but want to use them to smooth out the in-between-song transition, simply turn on a pad (which, again, floats nicely in the root key of whatever song you’re doing) about fifteen to thirty seconds before the song is done. Make sure the pad is present in your mix, but not overpowering. Once you’re done with the song, the pad will continue to play in the root key, allowing you to do what you need to do during that transition time. Then when you’re ready to go to the next song, fade out the pad as the next song begins (or, if the keys are clashing, fade it out earlier so it goes completely silent at the same moment you start the next song).

If you already have pads playing during your song, and you want them to continue playing when that song is done in order to transition well, good news for you: you don’t have to do anything else to smooth out your transition! If the pad is already adding a nice layer in your worship song, then allow it to continue to play when the song is done, and you’ll have a musical safety net to let you prep for the next song. Then when it’s time to start the next song, gently crossfade the old pad sound/key out, and the new pad sound/key in. Again, it’s a wise decision to choose an app that does all of this for you seamlessly and easily.

And just like that, you’ve bought enough time to do whatever you need to do in between songs to prep for the remainder of your worship set!

As a bonus, pads as in-between-song transitions also allow you to have time to pray, read Scripture, spontaneously sing, and/or gently play your instrument over the pad. You now have the bandwidth to do whatever you’d like in between songs.

It’s amazing to have a pad as a subtle yet beautiful musical bed playing underneath you to make you feel like you’re no longer responsible to make sure dead-silence disappears


    • Hey Patti:

      Thanks for your message. There are some congregations where the Senior Pastors are super NOT into ‘dead air’, so definitely maybe to answer your question. The neat thing that I love about pads is that they don’t tend to introduce bassline movement, but still resonate around a tonal center if you will. This is for me at least, a nice halfway point between endlessly looping the intro and dead silence. There is something that I find really refreshing about the sound of pads, so the atmosphere they create between songs/during transitions is something I really have come to love, which truth be told I didn’t when I heard people start to use them:) Something to think about just that same from both side;)

      Cheers ~ Doug // [WM]

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