The Calendar: I'm an iPhone user, so iCal has become my default calendar of choice. But whichever calendar you choose to use, use it. Don't just let it sit there. Keep your life on schedule by using a schedule. Most calendar apps allow you to add notes to your appointments. Try putting in your choir rehearsal schedule and making notes about your rehearsal plan. I'm prone to forget binders or papers, but I rarely forget my phone. You can also send out invites to your musicians so they can put the date of their special on their calendars as well.
Dropbox: I can't tell you how much simpler my life has become thanks to Dropbox. Never again will I be away from a file that used to be solely on my desktop. Now, when people ask me for music, instead of forgetting to get it to them like I usually do, I can send them a link right away from Dropbox, where I have a digital copy of almost every piece in my music library. I can also access schedules or orders of service for quick reference. I can send a file as well, in case I'm away from my desktop and somebody needs something.
Texting: Yes, texting can be useful, even during a service! Ok, wait...I'm not advocating texting in church, but there have been times when I've had to share information with the sound man or the other musicians without drawing attention to myself by trying to inconspicuously mouth the words. You know you've done that. How about that time you realized you forget to tell the sound
guys you needed a boom at the piano for the special? Or that time the monitors on the platform developed a mind of their own and decided to blow out your ear drums but the sounds guys in the back had no idea what was happening? Outside of a service, texting is also a great way to communicate with all of your musicians at once. Group texts are so much easier than group calls!
Camera: This one is great. Don't tell me you've never unplugged a piece of sound equipment and told yourself that you'd remember how to hook it all back up. Should've taken a picture first. Or how about when you have to tweak some EQ settings on the mixer but also need to be able to put it back? Snap a picture.
Voice Recorder: This is useful t if you're trying to help someone learn their vocal part. Just make a quick recording and then email it to them. You can also record your choir in a pinch and play it back for them if you want to teach them something about how they sound. And you can always make voice memos for yourself if you're the type who doesn't like to write things down.
Read Music: This obviously is geared more toward tablets because of their bigger screens. I use an app called ForScore on my iPad to read PDFs of my music. I no longer carry around huge binders of music. Instead, I have my tablet and my digital library. The library part takes a little leg work of scanning your music in as PDFs, but if you'll just make a habit of scanning the music you use each week, pretty soon you'll have a substantial library. But back to the ForScore app. I love this app because it allows me to not only store music, but I can also organize it by set lists, genre, keywords, etc. It takes some practice to get comfortable using it in a live service,
but it can be done.
Play Music: Have you ever need background music for a function and couldn't find the CD? Load up that music on your phone, keep a 1/4"-RCA cable handy, and you'll never be without music again. Just hook your phone up to Tape-In on your mixer and you'll be good to go. If you don't want to store music directly on your phone, use a free storage service like Dropbox, Google Drive, Cubby, Skydrive, or Box to store your music and then, as long as you have an internet connection, you can stream your own music from those apps.
I've used many other apps on my iPhone or iPad to help me in the music ministry. Apps like Garage Band, iPhoto, Notes-plus, Skype, Splashtop, and Keynote are just a few that have served me well. Just remember, always be in control of your device instead of letting it control you.