Use Your Smart Phone in a Music Rehearsal

You Said What?

If you are reading this in disbelief or as a skeptic, please bear with me...this is actually a neat thing. But first, the set up...

As a worship music professional, my idea of rehearsal is get as much work done in as short a time as possible. I'm in charge (or at least I like to think so), and the idea (or sound) of a mobile phone ringing in a rehearsal does more than drive me crazy. But, as I've said elsewhere, once I went through the process of staying in touch with an aging parent, I began to understand that a phone is a necessary evil nuisance that can be a lifeline to members of my ensemble.

But, as they say on late night commercials, there's more...

A few years ago, I was speaking at a conference where one of the other clinicians was noted composer Joseph Martin. As you may know, Joe is always on the move – his schedule takes him on the road upwards of 200 days a year. His phone contact list is enor­mous, as you might imagine. But I thought it was odd that at one point in a reading session at that conference, he did something that turns out to be such a smart idea.

The Smart (phone) Idea

Here’s what I saw in action: while he is working with a choir at a conference or during a festival weekend, he’ll pull out his phone, dial up a composer, or a lyricist, or somebody who is celebrating a birthday, and have the group sing into the phone. Everybody gets a kick out of being part of a personal flash mob, and he stays in touch with people in a special way.

Want more smart phone ideas? You can find a YouTube video for an on the spot example of the sound you want (or don’t want) from your group. You can make a “scratch” recording to play back so the group can hear exactly what problem you are trying to fix. Just make sure to turn off the phone part of your phone though...

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5 Replies to “Use Your Smart Phone in a Music Rehearsal”

  1. We use our smart phones as tuners and metronomes. Also, most of our guitar players have a chord/tab app they can use for reference, or even to suggest a capo. I use an app that pulls in PDF files of chord charts, so I can make notes during rehearsal that I’ll want to reference for the service, or to update our “roadmaps.”

    The sound techs also use an app that identifies problematic frequencies that are giving us feedback.

  2. Vern Sanders says:

    great applications Angela…thanks for sharing…

  3. Melissa Bethel says:

    I use my smart phone all the time in rehearsals AND in services! I use it to play song demos and trax in rehearsals. I typically play all of our trax using my phone. I also play rhythm trax along with our praise band sometimes. And…I use it in my piano lessons…to play accompaniment trax, to look up definitions and youtube demos of songs, to record (audio and/or video) of my students, and to make notes about music I need to purchase…as well as my schedule. I’m lost when I don’t have it. And it can be funny when the church choir is singing through a song and my phone starts ringing in the middle of it (in rehearsal!). My ring tone is the Meow Mix song…haha! Typically I put my phone on airplane mode to keep any stray sounds away. 🙂

  4. Melissa Bethel says:

    Oh, can I throw this out there…
    A few years ago at a piano conference, my big takeaway from the whole conference was that I can plug my phone into the inputs on my keyboard. That’s how I play trax and demos in our sanctuary. It then runs through the keyboard speakers as well as the house system. Best thing ever! (In the choir room I run it through our stereo…using Bluetooth.)

  5. Vern Sanders says:

    this is a great idea Melissa…is it just a matter of the proper cables?

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