Sunday Keys for MainStage 2021: How to Prepare a Setlist for Live Performan

In this article you'll find some tips for setting up your set list for your next live performance. 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 set up your set in Sunday Keys:


Now that you’ve learned how to browse all the layered worship patches in Sunday Keys and how to build custom patches of your own using patch builder, let me show you how you can prepare your sounds and put together a setlist in Sunday Keys for live performance.

When you begin your preparation for any performance, the first thing you should do is make a copy of your main Sunday Keys concert.

To do this, click File from the toolbar then choose “Save As” from the menu. Name the file something that’ll be easy for you to remember. I like to also include the date of the performance.

Once you’ve settled on the name, click on MainStage in your favorites bar. If you don’t have MainStage in your favorites bar, search for it in spotlight, then drag the blue folder into the favorites area and let go when you see a blue line with a dot on the left side.

Once you’re inside the MainStage folder, click on your Sunday Keys folder. You can save your concert files here so they're organized and easy to find later. Now click “Save”. When copying your concert in this way it may take 30 to 60 seconds to save all the files. to the newly created concert.

Now that you’ve made a copy of your concert, any changes you make won’t have an affect on the original.

Again, this is the first step you should always take, when begin to prepare a setlist.

The next step is to choose the patches you’d like to use. You can use the layered patch browser to find ready to play patches, you can use patch builder to design patches with the instruments of your choice, or any combination of both. If you need a refresher on how to browse the included patches or how to use patch builder, exit this video and see the two topics above it, then come back here after you’ve gotten the info you need.

Once you have your patches selected, remember that while you can use tap tempo to tap in your BPM on the fly, you can also pre-determine the tempo of any of your patches, by clicking the patch in your Patch List, and in the attributes tab of the inspector checking the “change tempo to” box and typing in the desired tempo.

There are lots of ways to approach choosing which patches to use for any performance. Some people like to find or build a patch with lots of flexibility and stay on that one patch for an entire set, using the volume faders and modifiers in Sunday keys to bring sounds in or out as needed. This method is great for people who like to keep things simple and want a specific set of core sounds on tap at any time.

Many Sunday Keys users find it helpful to find or build one patch per song. You can use the on-screen controls during that song as needed and then when it’s time to go to the next song you can just use the next patch button to transition smoothly to your next patch. This method is great for those who want to match a specific tempo per song and also want to include different sounds and textures in different songs.

A third option is to use multiple patches per song. Many who use this method like to use the same base sounds for the song, but they’ll create copies of the patch in their patch list and then use the onscreen modifiers to dial in each patch to cover different parts of the song or different levels of intensity. A common practice with this approach is to have three version of the patch- a quiet version, a normal version, and a big version. To do this, settle on the patch you want to duplicate, press command + C to copy then command + V to paste. You’ll want to change the names of your patches right away so you can keep track of which is which. Then, use the onscreen modifiers to dial in each patch’s specific settings. Remember, to save the current. modifiers settings to the patch you have to hit command +. S while the patch is selected.

Regardless of how you choose to lay out your setlist once you have your sounds ready to go there are a couple important steps to take to make sure that Sunday Keys is optimized for your live performance.

First off, we recommend that you save all of the patches for the performance to the browser so that if you accidentally delete one or if you need to undo a change, you can get back to the original easily. This also makes it easy to use these patches again the next time they’re needed. Remember, to save a patch select it. in your patch list then hit ⌘E. Choose the MainStage folder, then Patch Builder, and then progress through the folders in Patch Builder to save each patch to the desired location.

After saving each of the patches you’ve chosen for your performance, it’s recommended that you remove all other open patches from your concert. MainStage is designed for seamless switching between patches and the fewer patches MainStage has to worry about keeping on tap, the smoother your performance will be. To delete a patch or a set folder containing multiple patches, select the item in your patch list and hit the Delete key on your keyboard. Don’t worry, patches that are open within your concert are completely independent from patches stored within the browser. If you remove a patch from your concert that you originally loaded from the browser or that you saved to the browser yourself, it will remain in the browser even after being removed from your concert.

As a side note, some people like to keep one extra, just in case, type of patch in their concert that contains their most commonly used sounds, like pianos, pads, etc. so that if you need to cover something unexpected you can always count on that patch.


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

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