The Musical Instrument Digital Interface is a music-definition language and communications protocol enabling electronic instruments from all manufacturers to communicate musical information. A MIDI (.mid) file conveys music like a musical score: both translate music into a simple set of performance instructions.
Unlike digital audio (.wav) files, compact discs, or cassettes, MIDI does not capture and store actual sounds. Instead, it is a set of data which describes the specific steps that a soundcard or other playback device must take to generate the same sounds via electronic synthesis.
MIDI files are very much smaller than other audio files. The compact size of MIDI files makes them especially well suited for delivery over the Internet. A one-minute MIDI file might require about 10 KB of disk space. Compare this to a .wav file of the same duration, which might require from 5 MB to 10 MB of disk space, depending on the audio qualities of the file.
There are many sites online with collections of MIDI music. These is just a few
CCM MIDI MeGa SiTe: Contemporary Christian MIDI
IMC Christian MIDI Music Archives
Christian MIDI Files from the Larrie Dee Collection
Rich's Music Page
Christian: Sean's Radical MIDI Page
For Christ - Songs Index Page
Christian MIDI's maintained by Anita Bautsch
MIDI Musical Selections
Lonna's Midi Room
HymnSite.com--Christian Online Music
The Seventh Day Adventist Digital Hymnal
TodaysPraise/ at ftp.csn.net
Lutheran Hymns in a Rock style arrangement
The Cyber Hymnal
On-line repository of copyright-free hymns with MIDI and Noteworthy Composer files.
Music Composition programs (or MIDI sequencers)
I have never used anything but music composition programs to work on MIDI files, so please take advantage of the expertise in your church. There are a LOT of music programs in the world. All I can really suggest is looking on the Internet and trying programs out. Most of these programs have some sort of demonstration version that you can download and try out. If a music program seems too complicated or awkward, try a different program. Some programs work only on Windows or only on Apple/Mac, some work on both systems.
I've only used Noteworthy Composer (http://www.ntworthy.com/) (Windows only). The things I liked about it:
*Free trial download
*It only costs $39
*I find it very easy to use (keyboard commands as well as mouse point & click)
*Lots of my friends use it
This last should never be overlooked. If some people in your church/school/area use a program, they may be willing to help you learn to use that program. Many of these programs also run bulletin boards or mailing lists for support from other users, which can take the place of local support.
Some other programs that I've heard of are:
CakeWalk Score Writer http://www.cakewalk.com/ $57
Mozart http://www.mozart.co.uk/ $80
Finale http://www.codamusic.com/coda/ $545 ($275 with Theological discount)
Price should not be the determining factor. Bigger is not always better. Unlike word processing or spreadsheet applications, most computer users have never needed or wanted to edit music on a computer. Getting a program used by most professionals may not be neccessary. Ease of use is the big key. If a program feels awkward or intimidating, try another program. Some music composition programs claim to be for church use. I don't know what the difference is, or why music would be better for worship from those programs.
I am willing to give whatever help I can, my email is firstname.lastname@example.org