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PowerPoint Questions, tips and technical info how to use PowerPoint in ministry.

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  #1 (permalink)  
Old Monday, February 22nd, 2010, 08:42 AM
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The Paperless Hymnal - music on the screen?

We currently use Powerpoint and are slowly changing over to Media Shout. All our songs have different backgrounds behind them that correspond to the content of the song. In Media Shout some of those backgrounds are video.

I like the way this looks and think it adds to the worship experience. There is a push for me to start putting the musical notes on screen though and I am to attend a meeting with a guy promoting the "Paperless Hymnal." http://www.paperlesshymnal.com/

Does anyone use this? As far as I can tell it is a photocopy of sheet music pulled in as a picture file to a PowerPoint presentation. Now, I am not musical at all and can't read music. I am a graphic artist and so my preference is clear - I don't want to do this. I think the simple black/white screen is a big step backward from where we are. But I will do whatever the church decides.

Does anyone have any experience with this? Is there anyway to spruce it up visually? What if you want to change the words a little to sing it your own way? We do this occasionally and I wonder if this software will hold us back there.

Any insights or opinions would be appreciated.
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Old Monday, February 22nd, 2010, 09:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Copper View Post
There is a push for me to start putting the musical notes on screen though and I am to attend a meeting with a guy promoting the "Paperless Hymnal." http://www.paperlesshymnal.com/
When you say, "there is a push", who is pushing? How many people are pushing? Why are they pushing?

My personal opinion is that it's a wrong use of that particular visual medium. How many of your congregants sight-read sheet music? How can people worship if they're devoting all of their mental energy figuring out how to sing a song they don't know? How many of your older congregants leave their "distance" glasses at home or in their car and only bring in their reading glasses?

The hymnal in the back of the pew already does what you're trying to accomplish FAR better than your projector can. Paper is the right medium for that particular visual communication. It's readily available. Has been for years. Individuals can easily adjust a hymnal to compensate for their own eyesight (hold it close or hold it far away). And there is almost no prep time for your media department, save for maybe inserting the hymnal number in the slot on that old plaque on the wall.

What hymnals DON'T do well is just provide lyrics for people who don't read notes (it's HARD to pick the lyrics out of all that visual noise!), they're not particularly good at leading you to the RIGHT verse at the RIGHT time, and they don't offer any visual support to augment the message of the song.

All of those purposes are served VERY WELL by projecting lyrics over a visually-related background on the projector, which is what that medium is designed to do.
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Old Monday, February 22nd, 2010, 09:54 AM
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Yep, having the sheet music projected only works if you are a musician. You're words will have to be much smaller, it'll confuse a lot of folks.

All things considered it will be more of a distraction or hinderence then add anything to the service
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Old Monday, February 22nd, 2010, 12:50 PM
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The thing is I don't know who is pushing for this. I have a hunch about one of our elders who is also a praise singer (great guy even though I disagree with him on this). I am trying to keep an open mind. We are an A Capella comgregation (not a spiritual issue, just our preference for worship) and we have some praise singers that each hold a mic and lead our congregation in praise.

It is rather difficult to hold a mic and shuffle papers. We have hymnals but more than half the songs we sing are not in there. We pull together a "booklet" of sheet music on th 8-10 songs we sing each week and clip them together for each of our dozen or so praise singers. The rest of the congregation is on their own as far as the music but if there is a song we've never sung before it is photocopied, music and all, and stuffed in our printed announcements for those who want the notes.

I have my opinions on the whole thing but I am not musical at all. I'm looking for people here that have experience with this PowerPoint based Paperless Hymnal. Or whose church has maybe looked at using it and decided against it. I feel just the way you do, Petereit, but am trying to keep an open mind. I do plan to go into the meeting well informed though with a list of pros and cons. On the plus side, the song service that takes 2-3 hours of work each week to pull together will take about 10 minutes.
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Old Monday, February 22nd, 2010, 12:52 PM
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Maybe I'll push for a Wednesday night praise service that uses both ways and see what feedback we get.
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Old Tuesday, July 13th, 2010, 10:26 PM
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we use paperless hymnal

I wonder what your church decided to do. We use paperless hymnal slides (the free ones, can't afford to buy the big sets - we're very small) for the one hymn we start the service with. The rest of our songs, and hymns that aren't free with paperless hymnal, we type out just lyrics and project that way. We don't get fancy with backgrounds...
After reading what situation your church is in, doing a cappela singing, I can see why some folks would want to see the music. I grew up in a conservative Mennonite church singing a cappella hymns in 4 part harmony and you NEED the music unless you're really good at harmony! And, to sing as a group in harmony music is a must. I read music, obviously... Certainly I'd say most of our congregation doesn't read the music, but for those who do, it is helpful, and we only do it for the hymn, not the other worship songs we do. Paperless hymnal words are smaller, but with only two stanzas per slide, are easy to read in our small church building.
Make sure that you don't get caught up in the production of the presentation to the detriment of the worship time. I'm not used to moving video behind song lyrics, and I would find it distracting from the words I'm singing if it were there all the time. I'm sure it can enhance a song's meaning. God bless you in your part you play in your church!
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Old Tuesday, July 13th, 2010, 10:46 PM
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As someone with a background in choral music, I can tell you that even I never read the sheet music in the hymnals.

We use mostly video backgrounds, but most of them move very subtly. We do have some that fly though!

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Old Wednesday, July 14th, 2010, 10:51 AM
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Don't forget about copyright issues. While many hymn tunes and lyrics are in public domain, projecting photocopied pages from a hymnal is not. The hymnal itself and potential arrangements are probably under copyright. You'll need to look at copyright disclaimer in the hymnal or other music book. Unless the hymnal itself is in public domain (unlikely), you'll need to have secured the rights through clearinghouse services like CCLI. If you already have CCLI agreement, or something similar, your probably fine, but you should always check.
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Old Friday, July 16th, 2010, 02:00 PM
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I have experience with using music notation on the screen. We do not use the paperless hymnal... as the shaped note heads are hard to read and the white background is obnoxious.

The paperless hymnal slides cannot be spruced up much, as the white background is part of the picture. Some options are to overlay is with a transparent color or add animated gif's over an empty space.

If you want to change the words or the melody, or have backgrounds, you need to create your own. I use a music notation program to create the music, export it as an .emf file, and put it over any background I want. Photocopying sheet music doesn't work for many reasons... all the verses are there at once, the size is all wrong (lyrics too small, line breaks at the wrong place, etc).

What are some of the favorite hymns at your church? If they are not copyrighted & I have them in my completed collection, I'll send something your way.
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Old Monday, September 27th, 2010, 09:25 AM
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Another important feature to remember is how much text you choose to project on a screen. Just like hymnals present a lot of visual noise, the same thing can happen with a lot of text on a projection screen. Having an entire stanza on one slide is going to lead to hopeless worship and mumbled words (as people scramble to find the right line to read).

With the right kind of software, one-line-at-a-time works well. Without it, you're left to a whole lot of PowerPoint work and good reflexes on the clicker.
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Old Friday, November 4th, 2011, 10:46 AM
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I'm interested in the lyrics and notes being displayed on the projector. Is paperless hymnal the way to go? or is their other options?
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Old Friday, November 4th, 2011, 11:23 AM
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I realize I never came back to say what we finally did. We did purchase The Paperless Hymnal (TPH) and use it during our smaller, more conventional service and continue to use Mediashout with backgrounds behind the lyrics. I use both stills and motions.

As a person with no musical background I prefer the Mediashout. I love the graphics and think they add a lot to the worship experience. I do keep the motions subtle though. I realize though that others feel the opposite and prefer the notes with no background. Praise the Lord that there are freedoms and choices in the ways we worship!

I have to say though, that The Paperless Hymnal has awesome customer support. It is a small company run by Sonny Taylor who has a passion for his work.

Now TPH works by having a picture of the music and lyrics on every slide which I feel bogs down the presentation. Powerpoint wasn't made to work that way, hence the slide masters. You CAN technically put in a background on the master slide and make the white background of each musical picture transparent. But it takes away from the readablility of the notes and lyrics so I don't do it. Also I would really hesitate to add a graphic over the top of each slide whether it is a transparent rectangle or clipart or animation. It would make the presentation just that much bigger and cumbersome.

dblay, I think that the Paperless Hymnal is the only way to go if you want the music already created for you to present. There are programs out there that will let you type in the music and it will create the slides for you. That way if you want to adjust the way you sing it, you can. TPH allows you to re-arrange the verses and chorus (or delete verses) but you can't change them if you sing it with slightly different wording or notes. We change some of our songs into four part harmony rounds which makes TPH obsolete.

If you would like to talk to me directly about any questions you may have regarding TPH email me at and I'll give you my number.

Thanks everyone for your input!
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