What is Worship? - Part 1

Wednesday, January 1st, 2014
Christians WorshippingIn a class at The Master's College, we studied the history of the Christian church and the development of hymns and worship.  While we read several good books on worship including John MacArthur's book "Worship: The Ultimate Priority" and David Peterson's "Engaging with God", we also were required to develop our own philosophy of worship based on the Bible and personal experience.  I wanted share my philosophy on my blog.

 I have broken down my philosophy into five separate parts and I will be highlighting each point of worship in the following blog posts.  Worship is:

     - Informed
     - God-Centered
     - Reflective
     - Responsive
     - All-Encompassing

Today, however, I will be addressing our first point:  Informed Worship.  

Continue Reading "What is Worship? - Part 1" »

2013 Christmas Card: Prarie Christmas

Friday, December 20th, 2013
2013 Christmas Card Mack Family.jpg
Music_practice_rooms.jpgI thought I would share a bit about how I benefited from the Lenovo Tablet 2 last semester as a music student.  While there are not quite as many apps in Windows 8 as there are for Apple devices, I was able to find several piano apps that allowed me to again be more mobile:  I was no longer tied to a physical piano in order to complete some of my music homework and I cannot begin to describe how freeing this was.  In addition, I found a free app called "Winterval Trainer 8" which plays a series of notes and allows you to quiz yourself on intervals and gives you tips for how to recognize them.  This was a huge help in my Aural Skills class when we had to be able to identify and correctly write down a series of notes that are played for us.  


Piano KeyboardI 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.


Mozart ManuscriptI 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.

TMC Handbells perform "Rain"

Wednesday, July 17th, 2013

Take Me Out to the ’Bell’ Game!

Tuesday, July 16th, 2013
Last spring, I took a course in Event Planning, and for my final project, I had to coordinate either a real or imaginary event. I chose to coordinate The Master's College Spring Handbell Concert and learned a lot about planning an event from start to finish, managing a group of people, and creating a logical flow that engaged the audience. I will be posting several videos from that concert over the next few days. Video credit goes to Peter Johnson for spending several hours taking and editing the video.

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.
Poetic Slimbook Case for Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 2In a previous post, I mentioned that my employer at Computer Services was allowing me to use a Lenovo Thinkpad Tablet 2 for both work and personal use.  This tablet has greatly changed how I use technology on a daily basis, however I found that I was still limited do to the flimsiness of the tablet.  In fact, I even had to send two tablets back to Lenovo as they developed hardware problems from just normal use.

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" »
I mentioned in a previous post that I have had the privilege of using both the Microsoft Surface and the Lenovo Thinkpad Tablet 2.  I have been using the Tablet 2 for about three months now, and it has completely revolutionized the way I do work or take notes in church or school.  In this post, I will list a few pros and cons of this particular tablet.  I hope to get into how I use the tablet specifically in future posts.


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 Lenovo Thinkpad Tablet 2as 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" »