Apr 9 2013

5 Tech Tools for Church Musicians

The worlds of music and technology have always been closely intertwined for me, and I continue to be amazed at the wonderful software, hardware, tools, apps, and ideas being made available to musicians.  I’m going to occasionally highlight some of the things that I use (or that have caught my attention), but I would really like to hear from you as well and learn about some of the things you find useful.

music technology

1) Yamaha Clavinova – maybe it’s because my first piano lessons as a 5-year-old were on a Yamaha digital piano (group lessons in Singapore as a missionary kid), but I am VERY biased towards Yamaha in general (I’ll take a C7 Grand for the house if anyone would like to donate one!)…and Clavinovas in particular. They are just so incredibly versatile. All the recorded piano you hear on mincymedia (including all of my CDs) has been done on a Clavinova. Just the ability to transpose at the click of a button and record tracks for playback makes it worth its weight in gold for a church accompanist. I could write multiple posts on this…but I’ll stop now.

2) MultiTrack DAW – I do a great percentage of my recording via an iPad these days, and this app has been bullet-proof and a joy to use. It also has incredibly easy sharing features, including my favorite–the ability to share wirelessly between devices.

3) Alesis ioDock – pair the MultiTrack DAW above with this dock (which is what I use…$125-$150 new) and you have yourself an instant studio.

4) Orchestra – I love this app  just for its name, but it can also be confusing at first because it is not a music app at all…it’s “your to-do list, connected to everyone”. Think of it as a simple to-do list, BUT something that can also “orchestrate” projects and tasks between groups of people. If you are like me, you are always looking for better ways to stay organized as a musician, and this an easy–and FREE–way to do it.

5) Music Teacher’s Helper – I saw this the other day and, although I do not have a need for it personally, thought it looked like a really good idea. It is designed to help automate and manage most of the business aspects of running a music teaching studio. Just thought it might be of interest to anyone who teaches lessons.

So what about you? What is a tech tool you have found to be really useful?

 


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”:

PRO’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)

CON’s

  • 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)!