I was able to download pdfs of music and play some songs off of that. I found that the screen size made it difficult to read a full piano score, however it was possible to read chord charts. I was not able to test this feature, but a friend of mine wound up scanning his music for choir and reading off of that so that he did not have to worry about turning pages or finding the correct page/book. This was very effective for him and I hope to do the same next semester.
I also wanted to expand a bit on my experience with the Surface Pro as a musician. While I am not a composition major, I do have to compose for various school projects. As a test for the Surface, I downloaded a free trial of Finale, the primary music notation program we use on campus, and proceeded to engrave the first page of a Mozart sonata. I tried various methods of entry (touch, stylus, mouse, and USB piano keyboard) and determined that the best way to enter music into the Surface was via a USB piano keyboard and a mouse. Entry was rather slow without a number pad, and the size of a screen only makes it realistic to enter music for 1-3 instruments, but the software worked and proved that the surface can be used as an effective idea capture tool. (Note, I only used the free Finale Software and did not install the Garritan Sound Bank.) It would be interesting to see a Finale App for a tablet so that I could split my screen and have on half be a piano keyboard for entry and the other half be the Finale software.
The first song I wanted to share was actually the finale of the concert. It is an arrangement of "Take Me Out to the 'Bell' Game" in the style of a cheesy waltz, Pink Panther, and Magnificent 7. It was arranged by myself and a fellow student, Morgan Ruthard, as a final project for our Handbell Directing course. We really enjoyed adding a bit of drama to this song and I hope you enjoy it.
I finally decided to spend some of my own money to purchase a case for the Lenovo to see if that would help make the tablet more durable. I was primarily concerned with finding a case that was lightweight, but still protected the screen and weak back. I also was curious to see if any of the cases I found would help me get a better screen angle as I was not pleased with the angle the Thinkpad Bluetooth Keyboard provided.
Continue Reading "The Productivity Toolbox: A Case Makes All the Difference" »
The Thinkpad Tablet 2:
The Thinkpad Tablet 2 is significantly lighter than the Microsoft Surface, and therefore even easier to take with you wherever you go. While I have a desktop at home for major projects that require multiple screens, the tablet is powerful enough to allow me to use it as my primary computer. Its small size has allowed me to use it in meetings without being a distraction and the ability to type or switch to drawing mode has let me take more effective notes in school. But more on that later.
Unlike the Surface, however, the Tablet 2 is rather weak and very fragile. The backing of the tablet is not very strong and I have already had to send two tablets back because of hardware issues that have developed behind the screen as I simply carried it around. I finally solved this problem, by purchasing a case for the tablet. The case only cost about $20, but the extra protection it afforded allowed me to be comfortable taking the tablet with me wherever I went or storing it in a backpack - very important for a college student.
Continue Reading "The Productivity Toolbox: Lenovo Thinkpad Tablet 2" »
I had no idea how wrong I was. After the very first class period, I realized that conducting is so much more than being a metronome. It’s about creating music, much like the way an artist creates a painting. As the conductor, I can “play” all of the instruments in the orchestra, or all of the voices in the choir. I am not limited to one instrument and I have the ability to fine tune every sound of every instrument. Through these classes, I not only grew to appreciate my conductors more, but I also realized how much I loved conducting.
Shortly before beginning the Orchestral Conducting segment of my Advanced Conducting course, I met with my orchestra conductor at Grace Baptist, Lisa Hernacki. Every two weeks our orchestra prepares several songs for the Sunday Services in addition to our Christmas, Easter, and special concerts, and I wanted to understand how she could get to know all of the scores that well in such a short amount of time. Mrs. Hernacki’s advice was so helpful that I thought I would share her steps with any other interested musician.