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Great Tips From a Touring Keyboardist

Posted by Chris Senner on Sep 9th 2019

3 Things All Keyboardists Should Do In Their Musical Journey

Throughout the years, the music industry has drastically changed and I have the opinion that it has changed for the better if you're a keyboardist. Music has shifted to being heavily electronic and in doing so, keyboards have started to rise again in popularity.

When I joined my first band I noticed that there was not a ton of information out there for aspiring keyboardists who want to prepare themselves for the industry. After playing a major label band and touring for about 5 years, I have acquired some knowledge that I think is extremely important for keyboardists aspiring to tour or have a career as a musician.

1) Learn To Write Songs

This wasn't always a thing. Due to the ever-growing music industry, the art of songwriting is being valued more than ever. More and more musicians are also learning how to write songs as well.

If you can bring to the table something that other keyboardists can't, it will make you far more valuable in the big scheme of things. You will also want to be able to contribute as much as possible in the songwriting process. Most bands make their money from royalties and the royalties are usually split between the songwriters.

What this means is that you can be in a band that has a huge hit, but if you don't have a percent of the royalties, you may not be so fortunate. This is actually pretty common in the industry now as often-times royalties will go to the singers, leaving the drummer or other members out of the royalty split or only earning a small split.

A lot of musicians in touring bands are now co-writing songs with other bands on the side as it is a great way to earn extra money while growing your skills.

The purpose of this article is to point out a few things that I find to be extremely helpful. This is all on top of what your normal practicing is when it comes to playing.

Learn How To Play Synths, MIDI Controllers & Workstations

I believe developing a basic understanding of how to play on synths is extremely important. Today, the keyboard world has changed so much to the point where MIDI controllers for live performers are now the current norm.

The route that I ended up going was a couple of synths and a keyboard workstation. I chose to run my workstation as a MIDI controller about 8 years ago. This wasn't as common as it is now. My current opinion is that a controller is a route to go if you're a musician who wants to tour or produce.

With this being said, there are some amazing keyboard workstations that are great for building out tracks from hip hop to alternative rock.

Here are a couple of synths, controllers and workstation recommendations:

  • Roland Fantom - Brand new workstation
  • Dave Smith Prophet 12 - Synth
  • Korg Minilogue XD - Synth
  • Arturia key lab MK2 - MIDI Keyboard
  • Novation SLMK3 - MIDI Keyboard

Familiarize yourself with the different types of keyboards as soon as you can.

Learn About Music Production

Music production is arguably the biggest thing in music right now. Producers have the ability to work with thousands of artists if they build a good reputation. I believe that music production is probably the most stable job in the music world today as you can build up a clientele and expand all based off of your skills.

While you can do this as a songwriter, it's much more hit or miss and there tends to be more politics involved as well.

When I say music production, what I mean is, learn about producing music. This means you should familiarize yourself with the following:

  • DAWS - Digital Audio Workstations (Your recording command center)
  • VSTS (Virtual Studio Technology)
  • Studio Equipment

When it comes to VSTS, you can't learn about them enough. The abilities are endless as you can really take advantage of this. I personally am in love with piano VSTS, as they truly sound like real pianos and the technology has come so far.

My band lucked out as our drummer decided to learn how to produce as we went along in our journey. This helped us so much in the end as we had a much better understanding of how to make our own songs as time went on. Doing this will allow you to basically become self-contained.

Even if you slowly start to develop this skill, it will go a long way in your journey.

Conclusion

Keyboardists have a great opportunity right now in the music industry to really create a name for themselves. I believe that developing these 3 skills can go a long way.

Author Bio - My Name Is Chris Senner and I am the blog owner of Keyboard kraze