Over the years, one of the biggest problems I’ve dealt with as a musician in church is how to switch keyboard patches smoothly. I’d fumble over number keys to change over to a smoother pad, only to kill the vibe in a room at the end of a sweet moment of worship. Or that one time I methodically timed my sound-switch only to realize—to the horror and bewilderment of the gal in the front row—that the new sound was drastically louder than the old one. Yikes!
On some keyboards, it seems impossible. On others, it may take a little digging to figure out a method. But on the Yamaha Motif series, the solution is built right into the interface. It’s called performance mode.
Performance mode allows you the flexibility to carry out a variety of actions, from switching patches to layering and splitting your keyboard, from playing simple, custom sounds to performing as a one-man band with complex arpeggiators. There’s a ton of power at your fingertips!
A little while back, I posted a YouTube video to serve as a basic tutorial for how to layer sounds on a Motif. I also showed how to use this feature to your advantage, particularly in a worship setting.
No more dead space. No more moment-blockers. No more shocked attendees jumping in their seats! Although, don’t we all need a good kick in the pants from time to time?
I should note that this kind of thing can also be applied by anyone using a MIDI keyboard connected to a computer that hosts your sounds. All you need is a keyboard with some sort of way to control multiple volumes—sliders, faders, knobs, etc.—and some software that supports playing multiple instruments at once. Ableton Live, Reason, Main Stage and Omnisphere are great ones just to name a few.