Sunday Keys for MainStage 2021: Connect Your Keyboard

To use Sunday Keys for MainStage, you'll need to connect your keyboard, mod wheel and sustain pedal and it only takes a few seconds. After you do it once you won’t have to do it again unless you’re using a different keyboard or something else about your set-up changes.

Be sure to check out all the other video tutorials over on the Sunday Keys Resource Article. 

Check out the video or the steps below it to learn more about how to connect your keyboard:




It only takes a few seconds to connect your keyboard, mod wheel, and sustain pedal to Sunday Keys. After you do it once you won’t have to do it again unless you’re using a different keyboard or something else about your set-up changes. 

If you’re pretty comfortable with MainStage and you already know how to assign midi hardware in Layout mode, you can stop watching this video and go ahead and assign your keyboard, mod wheel, and sustain pedal now, save your concert and then start checking out the sounds in Sunday Keys. 

Otherwise, let me show you how to connect your gear. If you’re using a newer keyboard or midi controller it’s likely that you can use a USB cable between your controller and computer, without any set-up required. If you’re not sure how your keyboard is designed to connect to a computer, use Google to look up the User Manual and check the table of contents for the word “MIDI”. Once you locate that section of the user manual you should be able to find all the info you need.

Before you start assigning your gear, use the “Midi In” display at the top center of the screen to make sure that MainStage is receiving data from your gear. Make sure that you see note names on screen when you press a note on your keyboard, then that you see numbers when you press your sustain pedal and move your mod wheel.

If you don’t see anything at all in the “Midi In” display, check to make sure your keyboard is connected to your computer, then check the user manual for your keyboard for specific things to check that could fix the issue. A couple common reasons your keyboard may not be recognized by MainStage are: the keyboard isn’t connected to the right port on the back of the keyboard, the keyboard has a specific “send midi” mode that hasn’t been turned on, or the keyboard has a MIDI driver that needs to be installed on your computer in order for the keyboard to be used as a midi controller.

Again, searching online for your keyboard’s user manual is the quickest way to find out the specific steps you’ll need to take if you don’t see anything in the “Midi In” display. You can pause this video here if needed to sort out any issues, then come back to it once you see activity in the “Midi In” display when you play, press your pedal, and move your mod wheel.

In MainStage the connection between your keyboard or midi gear and its parallel onscreen is called an Assignment. To make assignments to the keyboard, sustain pedal, and mod wheel in Sunday Keys click on the word “Layout” in the top left corner. 

Let’s start by assigning the keyboard. Click the on-screen keyboard with your mouse and note the blue outline around it. On the top left side of the screen click the button that says “Assign” and you’ll see it turn red. Then play a few notes on your keyboard. If your controller is connected properly you’ll see the display below the Assign button change and you’ll also see the onscreen keys responding to your keypresses. Press Assign again to make sure you don’t accidentally assign the keyboard to something else.

Next, Click on the onscreen sustain pedal and repeat the process. Press Assign then step on your pedal a few times and note the visual feedback on screen. Press assign again so you don’t accidentally change the assignment.

Then lastly we’ll do the same for the mod wheel.

If your keyboard doesn’t have a built-in mod wheel you can still get the same functionality by setting up a different knob, fader, or expression pedal to act as your mod wheel instead. If that’s you, you can go check out the video here “Replacing Your Mod Wheel with A Knob, Fader, or Pedal”.

Now, in Edit Mode make sure you don’t have to re-assign your gear the next time you open your concert by clicking on File in the top toolbar and then Save your concert.

If you know how to connect the audio gear you want to use, you can do that now, or if you’re new you don’t need to worry about that yet. You can use the headphone jack on your Mac along with a pair of headphones or an adaptor cable to connect to your soundboard as you learn how to use Sunday Keys. Once you are ready for more info on getting audio to your soundboard you can check out the other videos on the Sunday Keys Resource Page or this article about using an audio interface.

Alright, you’ve made it through the three basic steps and you’re ready to start checking out what the template can do! There are several go-to patches pre-loaded into the concert that you can start with. If you’re new to MainStage, you can choose any patch by clicking on its name from the left side column in Edit mode.

When you’re ready to learn about the features in Sunday Keys, head back over to the Sunday Keys Resource Page to find short videos just like these that explain the features, terminology, sounds and workflows that make Sunday Keys the foundation of your worship keys rig. 

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