We live in a technological golden era. Gear is cheap (compared to the past), and there’s literally hundreds of options for everything from sustain pedals to analog synths.
As a keyboard player this is a great problem to have. I love being able to find something that fits my needs, and the creativity that a lot of modern gear inspires is wonderful.
But there’s a catch. Because there’s so much gear on the market, we never really learn how to maximize the gear we have. We spend our time thinking about the next upgrade we’d like to make, instead of trying to make great music with what we have.
Everyone of us is sitting on top of a music making gold mine, and we maybe know how to use 10% of it.
Don’t own a keyboard? No problem. MainStage on your computer is $30 and will keep you stocked with synths for a lifetime. Don’t own a computer? Apple has you covered if you own an iPhone or iPad. Search “music synth” in the App Store on your phone, and you’ll find more sonic power than most top of the line keyboard workstations had just 10 years ago. (You can even find past keyboard workstations converted to iOS)
Instead of using the excuse that we don’t have the right gear, I’d encourage us all to instead pick a few software plugins/hardware synths/etc and actually learn how to make great music. Learn what every button does. Get the muscle memory down so that you don’t have to hunt to find the cutoff knob.
Art begins with limitations, and ends with mastery of a few things. Let’s pick something, stick with it for a few years, and see how it turns out. We might just find we make some great music along the way.