Saturday, March 28, 2009

Learn to Link

This week on the CMAA forum, I was reading an article that was linked about learning to link. It reminded me of just how far I have come. Just two short years ago I began my journey into learning about singing Gregorian chant in earnest. While that in itself has been a wonderful education into a largely-heretofore-unknown world for me, the journey took me to places I never expected along the way. Once I discovered the wonderful world of chant music that was being made available online, I had to develop more online literacy in order to access it.

Prior to that time, I certainly knew how to use email and process online orders, and search for things online. I never had really entered the world of blogging, html, hyperlinks, web page design or things of that nature. I had never felt the need.

I soon found out that I had to learn to navigate this online world to get to things I needed. I also had to learn how to make it available to others (who had less motivation than I to learn this stuff). So... I began by learning about hyperlinks. I learned how to cut and paste pdf files in order to create new documents with specific musical informaton I needed (I did not find the pdf tools to be all that intuitive -- it took me awhile to figure out how to use the tools to do what I wanted to do). I learned how to create my own pdf files using a free pdf package which I learned about from a friend from CMAA.

I found that I needed to purchase a font package that would allow me to transcribe things into chant notation. Even now, more than a year later, I am still learning tricks about formatting and the proper use of the font that I didn't know. My chant transcriptions are looking much better these days.

It also became apparent to me that, although the online recordings that were available online to aid people in the learning of Gregorian chant were very nice to listen to, they were not as good for trying to learn new chants. The simple recording of a single voice allows a person to hear the small nuances of the phrasing, the proper pronunciation, etc. At least that was my opinion. So... early on, I purchased a little digital recorder to use for that purpose. Then, I had to learn how to burn CD's with music. I found out my recorder used a different than standard format. I needed to purchase another software package that would convert my files into mp3 files. Then, I learned to do simple editing with a free software package I was able to download.

I discovered the world of blogging. Reading the thoughts of others with similar interests and finding out about their own particular opinions, experiences, and trials gave me the interest in starting a blog of my own. I also had the motivation of being able to make recordings available to my schola from an online location. I began a blog and had to learn all the little things that go into that.

I soon discovered that blogs don't usually offer a way to host music files. You can link your blog to files that are stored somewhere else on the web, but that didn't really fit what I was hoping for. I discovered the world of web hosting, including the web host I currently use. I've tried two different companies... both free.

Here I am -- knowing far more than I did two years ago about this online world. It has become apparent to me that I should now learn to navigate the html world. I have relied on the user-friendly blog hosting sites and their nice software, easy hyperlinking with Word and other MS Office software. It is time to grow up and really learn about the underlying code. My book from Amazon is on the way now.

I would never have thought that just the need for more information about Gregorian chant and how to sing it would lead me off into this world of computer nerds. Yes... I'm becoming more nerdy by the minute. No regrets.

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