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August 1, 2012

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Fly Worship Is Another Great VIrtual Worship Band for Churches with Limited Resources

by Kenny Lamm
Fly

In past weeks, I talked about LifeWayWorship.com and Worship Backing Band–two great resources for churches with few musicians or for those times you are only left with a few or no musicians. Today, I am sharing with you a third solution–Fly Worship. Fly Worship, like Worship Backing Band, is a solution that uses a multi-track player that allows you to individually set levels or mute various parts of the band. Additionally, Fly Worship has accompanying pedals that allow you to manipulate the music “on the fly,” such as repeat a chorus, fade certain or all instruments, move to the end before the song would otherwise be complete, and more. When selecting the right solution for your setting, realize that each of the three products has very different features and capabilities.

Fly is designed to help facilitate worship in small churches or other settings where there is a shortage of musicians. Technically, it is a software application combined with audio tracks and controlled by a footpedal. The “on the fly” features are what makes Fly so incredible for worship. Fly Worship received the 2011 Editor’s Pick award from Worship Leader Magazine for its unique range of features and flexibility designed from the ground up to help worship leaders.

Special Features

Looping. When you lead worship, often you want to flow where you feel led. With a normal band you can repeat sections easily. Fly gives you that same ability. If you want to do another chorus, bridge or intro just hit the pedal and around you go seamlessly. So natural and so simple.

Fading. Another dynamic effect we use naturally in the context of a normal band is volume changes or dynamics. Fly allows you to program exactly which instruments will fade out (and to what degree) and how fast the fade will occur. During worship, you can tap the appropriate pedal, and the instruments will fade as previously determined. When you tap the pedal again, the levels resume.

Custom Mixes. Depending on the situation and perhaps your own musical taste, you can apply different audio mixes within Fly. There are three presets, Full band, Mellow and Acoustic. The levels have been set to suit those situations, although they can be changed easily. There is even a custom mix you can use to create your own sound.

Link Tracks. To provide seamless worship, Fly allows you to select a keyboard pad in any key to join your songs together.


Additional Considerations/Features

 Fly utilizes stem mixes with this instrumentation:

  • Acoustic guitar
  • Bass
  • Drums
  • Electric Guitar
  • Keyboard
  • Percussion
  • Piano

There are no vocal parts in the mix

Fly will send words to external lyric projection

Track Arrangement – Build your own!

JumpTo Sections – Nominate a verse, bridge and a chorus as ‘JumpTo’ sections and a keypress (or pedal press) of either will jump there after the current section has played. It will return once it has finished playing that section. It’s like looping but you can loop a specified section, not just the one you are in.

Import your own audio – You will be able to import your own audio stems and produce Personal Fly Tracks. You can loop, fade, jump etc. on your own material.

Each of their audio tracks comes in three keys so you can select the one best for your situation.

Currently, there are no music charts that correspond exactly with the arrangements. Basic charts, such as those from SongSelect are generally very close.

Future plans:

  • The ability to break out each instrument into a separate audio output for direct mixing at the desk. (Pro edition)
  • The ability to include a click and route it only to foldback. (Standard edition)
  • Parallel lyrics to allow chord entry on the worship leaders screen but not the overhead.
  • Wifi Screen sharing for other musicians. They wont need Fly but just a client app that sees what’s happening
  • Loads more!

 

COST

FlyWorship software and the USB foot controller, along with 20 songs costs $350 US. Additional tracks cost $10. You can purchase the product here.

 

DEMONSTRATIONS

Looping with Fly


Dynamics Fading


Slow Fade


Combining Looping and Dynamics


Jump Function


 

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12 Comments Post a comment
  1. Aug 2 2012

    Hi Kenny
    Marie here from Musicademy/Worship Backing Band

    I just want to flag up in this post that the Worship Backing Band software is about to get a major upgrade which will allow multiple key changes, loops and repeats of sections and an optional foot pedal.

    Unlike Fly Worship we also have the option of vocals and backing vocals in the tracks (and we’re a lot cheaper!).

    We reckon that WBB is the simplest player on the market and with these upgrades will deliver so much more of what churches are looking for.

    Thanks

    Marie

  2. Jim Pollard
    Aug 2 2012

    I’ve been using fly for over a year. It’s got a great support community via a forum and facebook. They continue to add features and songs and it’s been very solid in terms of performance, stability, and quality.

    Kenny nailed it … you have to be careful in choosing the right solution for your worship situation. It would be perfect for contemporary services, youth settings, and praise & worship events. It would take a considerable amount of work in a church with limited or no music staff to make it work for a traditional or blended service.

    We have a traveling praise team and it gives us lots of flexibility as we sometimes need fly to fill in for missing musicians. I’m in Raleigh if anyone would like a demo.

  3. Aug 2 2012

    Great to hear, Marie. Those are some awesome upgrades. Can’t wait to see them. Thanks for the update!

  4. Lee Fortune
    Aug 6 2012

    I have used fly for almost two years now and couldn’t be happier with it. The two greatest features are custom arrangements (not just looping on the fly) and the automated projection. Now with version 2, you can display different things simultaneously on your computer screen (i.e. chord chart) and the projected screen which both change “slides” automatically. You can go into almost any church and just plug into their audio system and projection and never need additional personnel. The biggest downside to fly is the lack of background vocals.

  5. Nov 29 2012

    Good review. I have WBB, but FW having the projection and chords are a big feature for me.

    As a side note, FW users can import the many Musicademy/Worship Backing Band pro tracks and get the best of both worlds!

  6. Feb 14 2013

    For a novice, what does an expert/ better informed music/ worship leader recommend of the many apps now available. isingworship, Fly, WBB et.c?

    Thanks for being candid.

    Hope

  7. Vic
    Mar 16 2013

    [quoted from above}
    "....As a side note, FW users can import the many Musicademy/Worship Backing Band pro tracks and get the best of both worlds!"
    ______________________

    This is why I went with Fly, I already own several "Lifeway" and other multi tracks, and can import them directly into FLY. I also still use some regular stereo backing tracks, and can import them too. This way I can load a whole worship set through FLY (whether I bought the songs from FLY or another source. There is a couple of extra steps involved, but I am sure with coming version(s), even that will be simplified.

    ALSO, we have a 3 piece praise band (Bass,drums,Acoustic guitar) and we could do well with medium, or intimate type songs, but when it came to the BIG songs, we were short for a good wall of rich sound (and notice I said RICH sound, not necessarily "LOUD" sound). Now for big songs, (through Fly) we have an organ, lead guitar, piano, and synth added to our 3 piece worship band (much more complete sound) ....and if my drummer or bass player calls in sick, no panic, I just unmute the drums or bass, and everything goes as planned.

    ...and yeah, FLY's song pool is dominant with praise and worship songs, but with their working relationship with lifeway, that opens the door to get multitrack songs through Lifeway, ...and this opens the door to what blended services are often looking for, UPDATED (not rock) but updated "HYMNS" with fresh new instrumentation, and arrangements to enrich or launch blended services.

    Now here is the thing, Chevy Trucks works well for me, Ford trucks work well for my neighbor, the same thing goes for these types of systems, FLY works for me, my church and my band, but Worship Backing Band, works best for my former worship leader before I was a worship leader. My advice? Determine your needs, Ask a lot of questions to the makers of all these products, and watch a lot of example youtube vids.

  8. Scott Chatham
    Mar 22 2013

    I am in process of figuring out the best worship band accompaniment option. Currently I am working with worship band in hand. It is a good basic tool but a couple of frustrating things- I have yet to locate a user manual. Also, the songs downloaded from LifeWay.com are great except the backing vocals seem to be consistently behind the beat making them pretty much unusable. Or maybe that is just the way they are intended to be stylistically speaking. For a free app it is a great start.

  9. Apr 8 2013

    Hey Scott, Worship Band-in-Hand is better for small group environments in my opinion. For larger groups, I would definitely recommend you look at Fly or Worship Backing Band. Check both of their websites as well for upcoming new releases that are even more awesome. Both offer much more control and flexibility. IN a few weeks, I hope to be doing a more detailed comparison of them.

  10. Apr 8 2013

    I would encourage you to look closely at FlyWorship and Worship Backing Band and see which one best meets you needs. The iPad apps just seem too limited for me in most cases other than a small group setting. I hope to do a detailed comparison of these virtual bands in the next few weeks. Thanks, Hope.

  11. Aug 28 2013

    Sorry I missed your comments earlier–we’ve been bombarded with spam. Email me at klamm(at)ncbaptist.org.

  12. Jim Pollard
    Sep 23 2013

    Fly Worship is about to release version 4. Major upgrade and free for users of version 3. They’ve got 4 different types of songs that can be used (3 key, 1 key, Lifeway 1 key, and user owned). Any song can be pitch shifted to get just about any desired key. They’ve also created a “lite” / entry level version with fewer features and a “pro” version what allows mulit channel output to a mixer.

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