Mar 28 2013

Reading Music On An iPad

forScore App LogoAt the start of this year, I realized that, for the first time, the core members of our church music team all owned iPads. Since I had been noticing with interest various apps and programs that enabled playing sheet music from the iPad, I figured the timing was right to see if it would work for us. We have now been using our iPads (with a wonderful app called forScore) exclusively (for all our music, for all our services) for three months. While there are certainly occasional challenges, I think iPads (or whatever tablet comes next) are here to stay for our ministry. Here’s our list of “Pro’s” and “Con’s”:


  • Awesome, fast, DEPENDABLE app that works on any generation iPad
  • User friendly
  • Simple import of PDF’s (we use…and there is a direct connection to…DropboxI am a HUGE fan)
  • Easy, but mind-blowing score editing (and email changes to your team instantly)
  • Intuitive setlist creation and sharing (via email)


  • Can only view one sheet of music at a time (instead of two, like in a notebook or hymnal)
  • Page size is smaller than regular sheet of paper (but so are most hymnbooks and octavos…some solo pianists/musicians, however,  may find this a challenge)
  • Some types of instruments may find they want a foot-pedal for page turning (I, personally, have been just fine)

While we have been super happy with this app, I have also heard some good things about Planning Center Online (more of a full suite of service-planning products…what they call their “music stand” being just one part). So what are you doing as a church or independent musician? Are you using an iPad or tablet? Is there a different app you have found useful? Do you have any other questions about things I may not have addressed? Join the conversation by commenting below (please)!

Mar 19 2013

Free Easter Leadsheets

It is my intention to do two things with this post: to start (restart, really) an area for free music/resources, and to get a conversation going about what the music is like in your church on a weekly basis.

These first two things I have put up in the free music area are leadsheets for the classic Easter hymns Christ The Lord Is Risen Today and Hallelujah, What A Savior. I have found it needful to make leadsheets for some of the classic hymns to: 1) lower the key (make them easier to sing), 2) provide more logical and accessible (but hopefully interesting) chords for my music team, and 3) get the hymn on one page (so many hymns “bleed” over by one staff to a second page…we use ipads and this becomes an inconvenience…more on this in a post soon!). It is my hope that maybe they might be useful for your ministry…which brings me to the second thing I wanted to talk about…

It seems to me that the music landscape is fairly varied from church to church “out there”, and I am curious if there is a dominant methodology. My intention is to put up a survey in the next week or two to better understand this…things like: do your church musicians use leadsheets, hymnbooks, a combination? What does you music team “look like” for a church service…piano, organ, piano/organ, full orchestra, praise team? What does your congregation use…overhead projection, hymnbooks, bulletin inserts, a combination? I am just really curious to understand more around this whole topic and, in the meantime, would welcome your feedback. Have a great day!

Mar 8 2013

Heart Hymns CD Released!

In response to many of you who have asked when/if the recordings of my piano solos for some of these newer songs (like All I Have Is Christ, In Christ Alone, and Speak, O Lord) would be available, I am pleased to announce the digital release of a new CD, Heart Hymns. I trust this music will have a Romans 12:1-2 impact on your life!

Mar 4 2013

All I Have Is Christ Piano Solo

This song has been real blessing to me personally, and is definitely one of our congregation’s favorite hymns to sing right now. Regardless of whether you decide to use/buy this piece, I encourage you to click on the link below and listen to the arrangement while also viewing the music (so that you can read the words). This song will challenge your heart!
Just a couple of things to mention:
1) I have included the words of this hymn in the arrangement to help us (I hope) focus on the message of the song as we play (I’ll be playing this as part of our Easter service). I hope to continue doing this moving forward.
2) This song is a good congregational hymn for Easter, so perhaps this arrangement can serve as a teaching tool for congregations not familiar with it. The arrangement is in D Major, which is the same key as the congregational version. You can download a PDF of the congregational music for free here (use your CCLI license to project or include in a bulletin).


View Music