STAY ENGAGED with the people. CLAP when you can. Don’t get lost in your instrument or music.
The rule we try to follow is, “Everything for a purpose.” Every note, fill, or chord you play should be purposeful and add something to the song as a whole. Remember that this is a group, not your time to shine. However, every player should know and be able to play their part independently of the other players. Play thoughtfully and tastefully, as close to the original recording as possible. Note the style of music at NLC – no shredding, fast runs, double bass, or slap bass please. We ask our musicians to adhere to our style of music even if it’s not their personal preference.
Our primary keyboards are a Roland RD800 or Nord Stage 2, and we also use an Akai MPK261 that acts as an interface for Ableton Live. Those most common sounds are Piano, Rhodes, Organ, Strings, Pad, and Synth.
Allow the left hand to support low end sound and other instruments (Bass and Electric Guitar). Avoid busy left hand patterns and low chords with multiple notes to help keep the overall sound clear.
Keys generally play a part in a couple important areas: melodic lead and dynamic support.
For melodic lead, we mainly use either electric guitars or keys. There are songs that have definitive keys parts so know those parts.
At other times, keys will be supportive – providing dynamic variation and smoothing transitions. We generally avoid abrupt silences and strive to connect the end of one song to the beginning of the next. Even in a supportive role, keys can have a specific part so listen to the music well.