Don’t be fooled, there is a world of difference between a pianist and a keyboard player. Not meaning better or worse, simply different. I have been in many professional ensembles where there were musicians assigned to different rolls in the group positioned at an electronic keyboard, an acoustic piano and an organ. Typically the instrument we are assigned is based on our strengths and experience. The pianist is the most obvious assignment. Sit them at the piano and they are good to go. However, many pianists as well as keyboardists act like a deer in the headlights when it comes to technology, multiple keyboards or manuals. What hand goes where and does what? This is where I step in. I have been a professional keyboardist for over 40 years. Not only have I have seen it all, I have owned and played it all. Actually, I pioneered some of the technology used today (more on that on the about me page). With my help, you won’t need 40 years to learn how to navigate the murky waters of technology with trial and error to achieve your musical ambitions. All you’ll need is someone like me who has been there done that!
Join The Revolution
Today’s digital keyboards along with Virtual Instrument Technology has revolutionized and literally redefined the keyboard player’s position in the professional world. These instruments can produce any sound imaginable. As a result, the keyboardist is now expected to cover, virtually, any part in the music that is needed. For example, you may need piano, organ, synth pads, strings, horns parts, guitars, drums and bass, all on the same song.
7 Layer Dip
It is a great appetizer. It is also one of my favorite set-ups on my live keyboard rig. Imagine 7 different instruments spread across your 88 note keyboard. Drums and bass in the lowest octave, trumpet and saxophone section after that, a nice piano and strings layer in the middle, and lastly, your favorite great B3 preset on top. Just another day at the office for me. I will teach you how to create your own customized presets.
Playing The Part!
What is the difference between playing a trumpet preset and playing like a trumpet player? This example is easy for me because I play and teach trumpet. One of the most common mistakes when trying to imitate an orchestral instrument from a keyboard is playing the instrument out of its natural range. Just because the keyboard has over 7 octaves does not mean the trumpet player does. It’s always a dead give away when you hear an out of range instrument in a recording. Another dead give away is breathing. Brass and woodwind players need to breath at some point. Playing those unnaturally long notes and uninterrupted phrases are neither musical nor convincing. Let me help you take the guess work out of creating convincing and musical performances for all your Virtual Instruments.
Just Because You Can Does Not Mean You Should
The difference between piano and organ:
The organ suffers from this rule more than most. Yes, we have a sustain pedal on our keyboard. Yes it can be used to sustain the organ sounds. Does a Hammond B3 have a sustain pedal? No! If you really are trying to produce realistic organ parts from your keyboard, then reassign your sustain pedal to toggle your Leslie between fast and slow speeds. There. I just revealed one of my favorite tricks I have been doing for years.
I have been teaching musicians of all levels how to maximize their use of these amazing instruments in two major ways:
- Help them understand how they work, and,
- Help them understand how to play them correctly.
I can help you too!