First of all, let's look at the various buttons, controls, and their functions on a typical keyboard.
If you are already familiar with the capabilities and basic operation of your keyboard, you may wish to skip this lesson.
As I mentioned previously, I am using the Yamaha PSR-E313 keyboard, but many of the features apply to various other makes and models. Although the terminology may vary slightly, the basic operation is similar.
There are many functions and options available, I shall cover them all in future lessons, with in-depth video tutorials, but here is an overview of the most common features:
Most keyboards have a single button to select a 'Piano' sound, which allows the user to play the entire keyboard as though it were a piano.
Usually, the keyboard will default to this setting, when it is switched on.
There will be a button to select the sound you wish to use, named 'Voice', 'Tone', or similar, and a numeric keypad to select the 'voice' from a list of instrument sounds, printed on the top panel.
Another button, named 'Style', 'Rhythm', or similar, selects the drum and instrument backing.
Simply by experimenting with all the different sounds, and backing settings, you will easily find combinations of the two, that suit the song you want to play.
There will be buttons to start and stop the accompaniment backing.
A button marked 'Synchro', or similar, allows the backing to start playing, only when you play a chord, (or if using the single finger feature, when you press a key) in the left hand area of your keyboard.
Buttons marked 'Intro' and 'Ending' provide a few bars pre-recorded backing to play, before and after you start or stop playing your song. Pressing 'Fill', will insert a drum fill pattern into the backing.
Another most useful button is marked 'Tempo' This allows you to change the speed, or tempo, of the backing rhythm. This is useful when learning a new piece. You can start off slowly, and gradually increase the tempo to your preferred speed, when you are more familiar with the song.
There will usually be more buttons, to select 'Split' and 'Layer'
'Split' allows you to split your keyboard into sections, which can each play a different instrument sound. For example, you could split the keyboard at say, Middle C, and select a piano sound for notes, above Middle C, and a Double Bass sound, for the lower keys, so that you can play the two instruments with separate hands.
'Layer' lets you have two different instruments sounding together, when you play any keys. For example, you could layer 'Piano' and 'Strings', which can result in a very pleasing sound.
The combinations are endless, and limited only by your imagination, and the keyboard's ability..
If your keyboard has a recording facility, you can record your performance on one track, and while playing it back, record another instrument sound, over the top of it on another track. For example, record a piano track, and add a flute solo to it.
Keyboards with multi-track recording, can be used to create complex multi instrumentals.
Well, there it is, simply a brief overview, but full explanations and video tutorials will be provided in the following lessons.
In these lessons, I shall make no assumptions of the reader's knowledge of electronic keyboards, and so shall cover everything as fully as possible.
Please feel free to jump ahead to any lesson, if you are already comfortable in the operation of your keyboard.