Here are a few commonly asked questions about my services and programming in Mainstage. If you have any questions that are not answered here, please submit them on the Inquiry page and I will respond within 24 hours.
Premade & Custom Keyboard Programming for all your musicals
Frequently Asked Questions
Are all of your concerts pre-programmed?
There are quite a few shows that are in fact pre-programmed, although I am happy to program shows that are not in my current library. I will be adding 3 shows a month on average to my catalog based on the popularity of certain shows that have lots of keyboard programming. You can see which shows are immediately available and which shows are in the pipeline on the SHOWS page. If you need a show more immediately, I am happy to work with you on a timeline to get you your programming on your deadline.
What is the turn around time?
If you are licensing a show that I already have in my catalog, it is less than 24 hours from when payment is processed. I double check every patch against the actual book that is sent out by the licensing company to ensure its accuracy in the event the books have been updated since I originally programmed it. If it is a custom show, typical turnaround time is 14 days and payment is not due until I am complete.
What do you use as your source material and how do you get it?
I do require either a hard copy of the keyboard books or a PDF copy of the books. Even if it is a show that I have in my catalog, many times there may be multiple versions of a show (i.e Mary Poppins) or the licensing companies will update the books and orchestrations since I last programmed it. It is easiest if you just scan the books and email them to me.
How do I pay you? Are there contracts involved?
Yes, there is a very short contract that I send out that states the price and everything you get with your programming. Programming will begin once the contract is agreed upon. Payment is made either by credit card, PayPal, or check. Your programming will not be sent out until your payment has cleared.
How do I receive my keyboard programming?
All completed concerts are delivered electronically by either Dropbox, Copy, or Box. They will be compressed files so you will need some kind of utility that can unzip and uncompress them such as Zipeg or UnRarX.
Is your keyboard programming compatible with both Mac or Windows computers?
Unfortunately, Mainstage is an Apple product so it can only be run on Apple computers. If you are only using a Windows system, you will have to look into a program such as Forte but I do not program using Forte.
Why do you only use Mainstage?
Mainstage has quickly become the industry standard in musical theater pits on Broadway and in Regional and Community theater alike. With its easy to use interface and ability to visually see everything that is going on in real time, it is the best way for beginners and pros alike to use it "right out of the box". In addition, keyboard programmers no longer need to be on site or have physical access to the equipment and changes can be made remotely and instantaneously from afar.
How much technology do I have to know in order to use your programming?
Surprisingly very little. There is the initial setup of the equipment which I will walk you through either by phone or by remote access to your computer using screen share technology if you are unfamiliar with Mainstage. But this is more a matter of being able to connect cables and wires more than with understanding the technology itself. Certain keyboards and setups are more involved than others, but I will always guide you through the entire process until you are satisfied and up and running.
What if we are using a reduced orchestration or not using all the keyboards?
This can pose some problems but nothing that cannot be solved. I have often done shows where I do not have the full orchestra or all of the keyboards. If you still want programming, I would highly recommend using the Piano/Conductor score to play out of and have me create programming based on that. The cost of the programming does not include "re-orchestrating" or "re-arranging" but simply using the cues that are written in the P/C Score to augment the music and instruments that you are missing.
Do you use only the sounds that come with Mainstage?
The simple answer is no. Most shows these days have very specific and complex patches and sound requirements that Mainstage just would not be able to provide using the included sounds. I use a variety of equipment including samplers, romplers, sound modules (both vintage and modern), keyboard workstations, synthesizers, and royalty-free sample libraries to custom sample any sounds your show may need. In many cases, I will go straight to the original orchestrator or programmer to clarify what a particular patch or sound should be. I often will custom record samples in my studio if necessary to get a more authentic sound. The exception being the burps and farts in Shrek and Spamalot :-) There are "butt-loads" of pre-existing sound effects for those requirements.
Are you authorized by the licensing companies to offer programming?
I have a very good relationship with the 5 main licensing houses (MTI, Tams-Witmark, Sam French, R&H, and TRW), but programming is an area that a couple of them are just now getting into and an area where I do not need their permission or authorization. MTI has programming for just a handful of their shows through a third party and TRW offers programming for some of their shows as well. Because I am not using any copyrighted material and all of my sounds are royalty free, there is absolutely no issue with using third party programming. It is what Broadway shows, Regional theaters, and Broadway tours do exclusively. I have been hired by all of those types of theaters before to create programming for new shows as well as existing shows. Because companies like MTI and RMS use proprietary software and sounds with their programming, it is very difficult to tweak or change anything and many people have complained about the "MIDI"-ish nature of their sounds. Although their customer service may be good, at the end of the day, we all want something that is easy to use, fun to play, and sounds like the original recording.
What kind of equipment do I need to use your programming?
I love this question because you can go barebones or you can have all the latest and greatest equipment and it will all still work just fine. The simple answer is you need a Mac computer (laptop such as the MacBook Pro or MacBook Air) or a Mac Mini even, and a MIDI keyboard controller of some sort. There is the obligatory MIDI cable necessary to connect the two and if you want to monitor the sound, it is advised that you have an audio interface as well as a way to monitor the sound (i.e. headphones or a speaker/monitor). There is a tutorial available on the tutorial page of this website that will explain everything you need, and then some "extras" you may want to consider for the future as you expand your knowledge of Mainstage.
Are you a geek? Do you wear glasses?
Yes and yes.