Lighting + Rehearsal Tracks + Garage Band

*Dusted this one off from old archive post.

Awhile back when I wrote on my blog 3–4 times a week I posted a short article on how I use Garageband Rehearsal tracks to program lighting for each service/event. That post gained a lot of attention and comments. Who knew the simple post you think no one will care about ends up helping quite a few people. Well, I was hoping to repost it, but have deleted it at some point over the past few years. Now, even though I am not our official LD anymore at PC3, I do get the chance to program when Brandon (our Lighting Coordinator now) is out of town or when I just want to get myself behind the console again. So here we go… an updated post on Garageband Rehearsal Tracks.

The Gear

In both our of main auditoriums we have ETC Congo model (Kid & Jr) consoles, which I have come to love personally. This board however is built on linear queues, meaning I program a service from beginning to end, step by step. And 99% of the time this is just fine for us and has created a great “win” for our volunteers each week. Along with the board comes fixtures, which are: ETC (all conventional fixtures); Martin (moving fixtures); Chauvet (LED fixtures).

Processed with VSCOcam

The Process

Each week our Wilmington Campus holds band rehearsal on Wednesday nights for the upcoming Sunday. From that night our Audio Engineer uploads the rehearsal tracks to Planning Center for our entire production team & band to download/listen. On Thursday morning I come in and fire up the lighting rig, haze the room, download the tracks & open up Garageband. The band records the setlist back-to-back after getting ear mixes and rehearsing each song, including transitions which is very helpful. I take all tracks (3 for this weekend) and drop them in Garageband as three tracks side-by-side so it creates one continues setlist. This is helpful for transitions between songs for my cues.

And here comes the major & practically the only reason I use Garageband. The program has a simple loop tool that I use to repeat each section for the song I am working on. This allows me to build each scene while still listening to the section I am creating for. (listen below for the song transition)

So I start from the very beginning of the setlist and make my way through. I average still about 1 to 1 1/2 hours per song and I rarely ever use programming for a song twice. (more on that choice in a future post) I do create a lot of follows when I program, which is when you hit a que that then has a set time to follow to the next cue automatically. This is especially helpful for quick changes in the dark or transition builds in the music.


That is the whole simple idea in a nutshell. This one simple idea though has helped me speed up my program over the years by not having to keep finding where I left off in iTunes.

Well, that is my way of programming, but I would love to hear from anyone else on their style. Hit me up on Twitter for some tips or please feel free to start some conversation below in the comments section.


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