3 Ways to “Going Digital”

Many musicians are put off  “Going Digital” because they don’t know how they will get their music into a digital display system – ie a tablet or laptop. This article describes three ways to get your music into Power Music and start taking advantage of using electronic music display.

In the blog post, we will take a look at:

  • PDF files
  • Scanning paper music
  • Power Music virtual songbooks

As always we welcome your comments and feedback on articles.

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Microsoft Windows – Major Update 1803 (Spring Creators Update)

It’s happening again! Another major update to Window 10.

Version 1803 (AKA Redstone 4) due for release soon*.

Over the  life of Windows 10 we have seen these versions:

  • The original 1507 (July 2015)
  • 1511 (November 2015) – “November Update”
  • 1607 (August 2016)  – “Anniversary Update”
  • 1703 (April 2017) – “Creators Update”
  • 1709 (Seprember 2017) – “Fall Creators Update”
  • 1803 (March 2018) –  “Spring Creators Update”

* So, you may ask, “Why have I not seen the latest update (1803) if it was due March 2018”. Well it has been delayed! At the last moment a bug was found that caused a number of BSOD (blue screen of death) on certain hardware configurations so Microsoft (wisely) halted the release of the update to fix it. As of end of April there is still no firm word on its release date, but it will be rolled out to users over a 2 month period.

UPDATE 8th May : First installation of 1803  – my experience (see below)

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Music Scanning – How to get the best results.

Article Updated February 2018

Recently Cambron launched a new USB portable document scanner called the MusicOne scanner. This short article (based on a previous blog post) gives users of this and similar scanners some hints and tips on getting the best results in Power Music.

Camera technology has come on leaps and bounds over the last few years and the results you can achieve from this scanner are quite amazing. The MusicOne scanner can be used with the built-in software in Power Music Professional or simply as a stand-alone scanner using either the free software that comes with the scanner or the supplied TWAIN driver along with your favourite image editing software. I will cover all this in the blog.

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Importing Your Music – ChordPro and MusicPad Files

Pianist? Organist? Guitarist? Band Leader? Worship Musician?

Where do you get your digital music?

With Power Music your options are:
– Import PDF files – music scores or chord sheets
– Scan your paper music
– Type or copy and paste chord sheets
– Download songbooks from Power Music Store
– Import from ChordPro or MusicPad files

In this post I want to have a look at two particular sources of digital music:
– ChordPro files including OnSong files
– MusicPad .fh (FreeHand) files

UPDATE: Power Music App for iPad now imports ChordPro (OnSong) files.

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Windows 10 “Creators Update”

Microsoft are at it again! Another major update to Window 10.

UPDATE 5/1/2018: I have added a new section on the “Fall Creators Update” 1709 – scroll to the end to read.

Over the (short) life of Windows 10 we have seen these versions:

  • The original 1507 (July 2015)
  • 1511 (November 2015) AKA “November Update”
  • 1607 (August 2016) AKA “Anniversary Update”
  • 1703 (April 2017) AKA “Creators Update”

And of course there has been a myriad of other minor updates and hotfixes in between.

I would be the first to advise anyone to keep their Windows PC up-to date, so here are my observations on the latest “Creators Update”.

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Custom Built Bluetooth Pedals

It is fascinating the snippets of information you pick up when dealing with a support request for Power Music. One such example was when David Castator contacted us about deactivating some old Power Music installations. This led on to a discussion about other music display software where he casually mentioned that he build his own Bluetooth page turner pedals – interesting I thought!

He then said that he had built a pedal that can control several tablets or PCs from one pedal – VERY interesting!

After further communication with David I asked him to write an article about the pedals he has built. So here it is, in David’s own words.

Any active musician that utilizes a Laptop, tablet, All-in-One and a digital (music) software package understands the need for a foot pedal to turn pages forward and backwards. I have used many of the wired and wireless models on the market. All of which turn sheet music pages forward or backwards on the computer to which they are attached.

My needs began to grow, ie. playing background music, turning to the last song of a play list or to the first song of a playlist etc., etc. As those needs began to increase, the foot pedals on the market did not. You needed to live with page forward or page backward – you could throw a switch manually on the pedal and maybe get it to do one or two mor Read more...

HD Video Recording – on a budget

This post is a bit different – it has nothing to do with Power Music (my day job at Cambron Software) and looks at a project I am involved with in my spare time – setting up an HD video recording system in my church.

I am a member of Westwoodhill Church, a local independent church in East Kilbride. My “job” in the church is to look after the AV side of things – equipment, software and people. You know the people that sit up the back of the church and get the blame when anything goes wrong! As well as managing song projection, sound desk, PowerPoints and DVDs, we video record most services in the church so that members and others who can not attend church due to ill health or other commitments can view the Sunday services.
This article is about how we moved from an outdated and pretty ropey analogue recording system to a modern digital HD system – on a very low budget.

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What Screens Size for Displaying Music?

We are often asked about what “size” of screen on tablets or all-in-one PCs is best for displaying music. When talking about screens there are really 4 things to consider:

  • Size
  • Aspect Ratio
  • Resolution
  • Pixels per inch

In this short article I am going to look at each of these, particularly in relation to displaying sheet music. So to get us started here is a diagram showing the relative sizes of the screen on a number of common devices.

Size

For some historical reason screen sizes are still measured in inches – possibly because of the influence of the USA in technology and it’s use of imperial units.

I am reminded of my visits to a timber supplier where I asked for “two meters of two by inch white pine” – we really need to get our imperial and metric units sorted out!

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Updated Blog Post – Review of Page Turners

Back in December last year I wrote “A Review of Page Turners – Not the Human Variety“. Since then there have been a couple of new pedals launched and one is no longer being manufactured. This is an update to that article.

So if you are thinking of moving to electronic music display or are already a user, I thought a review of the current crop of (non-human) page turners might be helpful.  I am only reviewing ones I have personal experience of and the opinions expressed in this blog post are mine. These pedals all work really well with Power Music and most other music display apps.  If you have other experiences with page turners please feel free to post a comment.

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“Praise in the Park” – with no paper!

Every year the churches in our town enjoy “Praise in the Park” at the end of a mission week held by the JAM (Jesus and Me) Club in East Kilbride.

Here’s how Power Music made the event so much less stressful for the worship musicians leading the praise.

The event is held in the beautiful James Hamilton Heritage Park in East Kilbride.

During the week a large marquee tent is used for the children’s activities (they need a tent because it is Scotland!) and on the Sunday we have an evening worship service.

My job was to organise the “techie” side of things – PA, words projection etc.  The PA was surprisingly easy to get setup and initially I said to Brenda, who was organising the music, “Do you just want to use paper?”. “Definitely not…” was the response.

We use Power Music in the church Read more...