Thursday, 31 January 2013

Church Music App-ologetics

Believe it or not, even in Church music, the ubiquitous computer / iphone app has its uses. In today's world, we write and compose and make music online as well as in real time face to face mode, on paper, with human hands and feet and eyes and ears and voices. 

The phenomenon of the virtual choir (if you don't know about this, google Eric Whitacre) has blown preconceptions about tying Church music to a particular time and place, sky-high. Whatever the virtues of real-time interaction (which are unsurpassed, and should never be discounted), as Church musicians we are now stuck with the digital app addictions of the upcoming generation for a long time.

In cyberspace there is now an app for every task you can possibly imagine, and many enterprising Church musicians have designed and marketed their own Church music apps, thereby solving their income problems forever. An app is a small computer program designed to help with a specific task, that you can load on to a smart phone or computer quickly, and use immediately. For instance, I have a virtual piano keyboard on my iPhone, that I use for composing.

This is not an app marketing blog, but I believe in giving credit where credit is due, so from time to time I’ll be reviewing Church music apps (e.g. ear training apps, chant databases, music theory apps) that I’ve found to be helpful and time-saving. Make your own judgements!

App-phobia has crept into the mindset of many Church musicians who

1          * obsessively photocopy, distribute, retrieve and file print scores
2          * don’t own a smart phone, or are computer-phobic
3          * believe that Church music could never be improved by technology
4          * devote no time to app discovery and selection
5          * think that rehearsing well, with no technology aids, is sufficient

Changing deep-set attitudes like this takes miracles. Hang on, I forgot, Christians believe in miracles. 

If you have a music director that insists on making his and your job as difficult as possible by refusing to adapt to digital technology and app networking, or doing a go-slow on this,it might help to pray loudly and publicly about it.

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