5 Tips to Working Up Large Setlists Quickly

Since I’m working as a hired gun for several different groups, I find myself working up a lot of songs on very short notice. Here’s how I pull it off:


5. If you’re playing covers, create a spotify playlist of all songs. Spotify is free music app that will allow you to listen to almost any song for free on your computer and phone. I find listening to the music as much as possible will help you learn the music more quickly. Make sure to check with the band leader that you’ve got the right songs, and the correct versions of the songs. 


4. Work up all the songs using just a piano. This sounds like a cop out, but by forcing yourself to focus on the music instead of the programming of patches you’ll get a lot more done. 


3. Once you know the songs, start programming. Make a list of all the sounds you need in each song using a spreadsheet, to make sure that you don’t waste time creating almost identical patches that you could simply reuse from song to song. Make sure to balance all levels when you’re done.


2. Use the 3 step practice technique. Play the song once slowly, then hit trouble spots (take notes). Speed up and play it again. 


1. Do one run through of the entire set. If it’s a big set, just hit the beginning and ending of each song, and any spots that are keyboard-centric or tricky.