Take Away(s)

There were a number of things that I took away from the 2019 Spring Concert, but perhaps the biggest thing I learned was the importance of rehearsing with the full system set up for more than one day. I think the ideal amount of time would have been about a week.

I did rehearse every day over the last month and a half, but always sitting down, without microphones/PA and playing at lower volume levels. Also, it wasn’t until the day before the concert that I had Ableton Live completely configured (audio files, MIDI mappings, sound patches, virtual instruments, etc). Up until then I was practicing with Logic Pro X – the app that I did all the production in.

Other things that I learned:

  • Really need to use chains in Live to switch between virtual instruments as selecting the desired track via MIDI mapping for MIDI controller focus wasn’t always reliable.
  • Use audio stems instead of “minus 1” tracks next time. Would be nice to have more isolation of tracks in the future (particularly synth basses and drums).
  • Should coordinate visuals better. This time was more like a proof of concept. Going forward I’d like to have them tailored to each song in Final Cut Pro and then triggered in Live, which could take a considerable amount of time to do. Need to allot for that. Perhaps 2 weeks or more?
  • Would be great to have extra time with everything set up to get extra footage for song videos (e.g. multiple passes of each song during the rehearsals, close ups of the gear/lighting, abstract images, etc.)
  • Clip for one of mics I planned on using was missing. Ended up using a condenser mic with a mic pre, which sounded totally different.
  • Both mic stands kept drifting downward when positioned over the keyboard. Need to repair or replace them.
  • Performing with mic stand positions (especially when singing while playing keyboards) was awkward at times.
  • Disable notifications on my laptop!

Most importantly, having the extra time to rehearse will make it easier for me to get into the flow of the music.

Things that worked:

  • Practicing the songs regularly was a win for being prepared musically.
  • Using Ableton Live worked pretty much the way that I hoped it would.
  • The equipment set up and layout of the room was really good.
  • The contour of the concert provided a nice variety of styles.
  • Visuals added a lot of depth and dimension to the feeling of the space.
  • Using Guitar Rig for performance worked really well for maintaining balance of volume between instruments (vs using an external guitar amp).

Here’s a beautiful painting of the layout of the room that my wife made. I think it’s fantastic!