To sum up...
Last year when I first began working with the schola, I soon found that I needed a way to make recordings of myself singing the chants for our group to use for practice CD's. Even though we found recordings online, it was often difficult to hear the fine nuances of pronunciation, interpretation of neumes, etc. A simple, one-voice recording seemed the way to go.
1. I bought a simple recorder at one of the local computer stores... an Olympus DS-30. I love it for the fact that it is extremely simple to use and very compact -- about the size of a cellphone. With it and the uploading cable that came with it, I have been happily recording practice CD's for our schola ever since. It does record in a format denoted .wmv. This is, apparently, a proprietary thing and is not compatible with .mp3 or .wav, which are more common and easily edited. Although the recorder came with a simple editing package, it is very limited and doesn't even actually work on the new computer we now have with an XP operating system.
So... although it was still working wonderfully well for its original intended purpose, I was beginning to see the limitations in terms of sharing the music online (no good in .wmv format) and editing.
2. Next I bought a simple online program (available for $19.95) called Smart Audio Converter. It allows me to convert my files from the DS-30 to .mp3 format or .wav format.
3. In order to be able to do editing on the files, I downloaded a simple free program called Audacity. With it, I am able to do simple editing to remove the loud 'click' from the button pushing. I am sure there is much more capability than I am currently using, but I'll investigate that as time goes on.
4. Once the files are recorded, converted, edited, they are ready for uploading, sharing in emails, etc. I found that, if you want to be able to link to these files in a blog, you have to have a place on the internet to store them. I found a free web-hosting site -- fileave.com where I opened up a free account for the music file storage. There are many others out there... I didn't really spend a great deal of time comparing... I found uploading the files to this site was extremely easy -- idiot-proof even. Once they were uploaded to the site, I have unique addresses for each recording that I can link to my blog, or in emails, etc. The site even offers the codes for imbedding the files onto a blog (so I was able to place one of the files on my blog so that it plays when the blog site is opened up -- it doesn't play continuously... just once through).
So... maybe there was a simpler way to do all this... but it works! I'll continue recording my chants in the church foyer to leave behind (perhaps several) CD's for the schola to use after my departure... with the promise that I'll make more when they need them. Maybe I'll find another place to record with equally good acoustics in the new place... but will I have a key that allows me to go there when no one is using it? That is the question... the future awaits!