Preparing for the Gig
For my upcoming gig, I'm preparing recordings of background keyboard parts that will be played back with a sequencer to augment the live performance. Some of the songs have up to four or five different keyboard effects and lines (organ, piano, synthesizers, pads), and its complicated to perform with four or five keyboards, and shuffle around to get to the right instrument at the right moment. So what we do is we record these "stems" which are basically just the parts we won't be playing ourselves, but parts that we need to have for the live performance. They are sent to our engineer, who creates a single arrangement in a sequencer with everyone's stems (percussion, drums, guitars, keyboards, background vocals). Then, during the live performance, all of the musicians play their primary instrumental line, while all of the additional lines are played back from the recordings we prepared earlier, the "stems," being performed through the sequencer. To make sure we are playing with the sequencer in time, a separate audio channel is setup that has a click track (i.e. a metronome) which is hooked up to in-ear headphones and wired to each musician. The audience doesn't hear the separate audio channel whatsoever, but the musicians are given a guideline to perform perfectly in sync with their stems by using the click track in their headphones. My job in the coming week is to go through all of the tracks sent to me, and learn all of the keyboard lines. Some of the lines will be performed live, while the rest will be recorded this week in my home studio and sent to our engineer to be integrated with the final arrangement of everyone's stems.

I've been so busy lately with different things, but I have finally finished the Bach Invention No. 15 in B minor. It is so satisfying to have learned that piece, especially since classical music was never something I spent much time studying in college or growing up. Learning that piece was sort of my way of convincing myself that I can learn classical works, and that I can execute them just as well as my improvised music. Learning that piece has also motivated me to look for more classical works to add to my repertoire. I'd like to record the Bach soon and make it available for downloading, and I'd also like to make a video of me performing the piece. I'll try to get those up very soon. Fingers crossed.