Having trouble making a purchase, connecting your hardware with our programming or using your Mainstage software? We’ve got you covered with answers for common questions! Still not sure what to do? Call 1-833-PIT-TECH or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
WHAT IS KEYBOARDTEK?
KeyboardTEK is an electronic instrument programming provider (keyboard patches, drum/percussion programming, etc). We have standing relationships with many Broadway and West End programmers and orchestrators and prepare their original sounds and patches for the secondary license rental markets. Where the original programming is unavailable, we faithfully recreate the intended sounds by working with the original music team using the original gear when at all possible.
WHO IS KEYBOARDTEK?
KeyboardTEK was founded by Taylor Williams, Ethan Deppe, and Kevin Roland, each with many years of experience in theatre, music, and business. They are the TEK in KeyboardTEK.
WHAT IS KEYBOARDTEK?
KeyboardTEK is not a solution for theaters that are using tracks or prerecorded music for their performance. We receive many calls asking if our product can be used instead of live musicians and the answer is no. Our patches are designed to be played by a live musician (keyboardist mostly or drummer/percussionist) and when they play a note or a musical phrase, the instrument patch they are on will sound. Ours is not a playback solution. We understand that not all theaters will have access, space, or the budget for live musicians but our product is strictly for theaters that are using musicians to play the orchestrated parts. Please talk to your licensing rep about solutions if your production will not be using live music.
HOW DO I RENT PROGRAMMING FOR AN MTI SHOW?
If you are doing an MTI show and the performance license has already been obtained, MTI has supplied your organization with an alphanumeric Access Code which can be found in the booking confirmation email. You can also request it from your MTI rep. KeyboardTEK is not able to provide you with your access code.
If you have the access code, you can enter it directly on the KeyboardTEK show page and the organization’s information will populate and your license will be automatically verified. If you do not have that code, no problem. You will just need to fill out the short form at the bottom of the show page and upload a copy of the MTI performance license or click the box asking us to verify the license on your behalf which we will gladly do. You will then be taken to the payment page and upon payment, you will receive instructions on when your files will be ready to download and instructions on downloading the programming.
If you choose the option for KeyboardTEK to verify your license on your behalf, that verification usually takes anywhere from 5 minutes to 24 hours and once verified, you will receive an email with an invoice with several payment options. Once the invoice is paid, depending on the show, you will either receive the download links immediately or detailed instructions on when your files will be ready to download and instructions on downloading those files. Download links to the keyboard patches are made only by email to the person who placed the order.
HOW DO I RENT PROGRAMMING FOR A NON MTI SHOW?
Browse to the show page for which you need programming and click the ORDER NOW button under the show description. Fill out the short form at which time you can either upload a copy of your licensing agreement or click the box asking us to verify the license on your behalf. You will then be taken to the order confirmation page where you will submit your order for license verification. Within 24/48 hours of your order, we will verify your organizations performance license with the appropriate licensing company and you will then receive an emailed invoice with several payment options. Once the invoice is paid, you will receive the download links as well as instructions on how to download the programming files.
WHEN AND HOW WILL I RECEIVE MY FILES?
Most shows will be available to download immediately upon submitting payment. Upon payment, you will receive an instant email containing the download links. KeyboardTEK gives you 14 days to download your programming. If you do not download your programming within that 14 days, please email us to request a reset.
On a few select shows, our licensing agreement with the original programmers only allows us to distribute the files 30 days prior to opening night. Once you have placed an order, if you are doing one of these handful of shows, your order confirmation will state this. You will receive an additional email detailing when the files will be ready for download along with the download instructions. Please expect to see your files no less than 14 days before your first band rehearsal or 21-30 days prior to opening. The download links will be sent to the primary contact on the license contract and/or the email that was provided on the order form. If you have not received your files and your band rehearsals begin in fewer than 7 days, please email us or call us right away and we will make sure you get the files in time.
WHAT SOUNDS ARE INCLUDED IN THE PROGRAMMING?
Any sound or instrument that is listed in the actual licensed keyboard book is included in our programming. All of our programming comes “as orchestrated”. Many people ask if cued instruments and sound effects are included in our programming and sometimes the answer is yes but only if they are triggered and were orchestrated to be played by the keyboardist. Otherwise the answer is no, they are not included. It is each productions responsibility to go through each keyboard and drum book ahead of time to ensure that they will need the programming and patches for their production. Once programming has been delivered, we are unable to offer a refund or future credit.
DO I NEED A SEPARATE COMPUTER FOR EACH FILE/KEYBOARD BOOK?
Yes you will. If you are having trouble sourcing a Mac computer, please drop us an email as we have a limited amount of computers available for rent for those organizations that may not have access to one.
WHAT EQUIPMENT DO I NEED TO USE YOUR PATCHES?
There are 3 basic things you will need. A Mac OS based computer (Mac Mini, MacBook, MacBook Pro), an audio/MIDI interface, and a MIDI keyboard. We have a PDF with the required gear list as well as our recommendations upon request.
WHY CAN’T I DOWNLOAD MY SHOW IMMEDIATELY?
With most of the shows in our catalog, you can. The good news is that there are only a handful of shows that are not immediately available for download upon payment. There are 2 main reasons for this. The first is because we are using the original Broadway programming and we have agreements with the original designers to not distribute their work prior to 30 days before the start of any production. Additionally, we watermark each show that goes out that is production specific and although we have an automated solution for doing that once an order is placed, there are some shows where we have to do it manually. You can still order any show in our catalog as far in advance as you would like, but we will let you know upon ordering when it will be available to download.
HOW DO I PAY FOR THE PROGRAMMING?
Once you have placed an order and your performance license has been verified either by using an access code, submitting a copy of your license, or having us manually verify the performance rights on your behalf, you will receive an invoice with multiple forms of payment options including credit card, PayPal, check, and purchase order.
HOW MUCH IS THE PROGRAMMING? THERE ARE NO PRICES LISTED.
Because our pricing is dynamic and determined by the type of theater and the length of the run, our prices only display when you have added the books to your cart. You are not obligated to go through with the order, but if you only want to see the price, just add the books to your cart. Our prices start at $250 and range up to $600 for 4 keyboard books for schools and amateur theaters. Prices will vary slightly by show, length of the production, theater type, and available add-ons.
DO YOU ACCEPT PURCHASE ORDERS?
Absolutely. Upon checkout, you will be able to select Purchase Order as your payment method. If your school or district is able to issue a PO before you place an order, all you need to do is enter the PO number at checkout and then email us a copy at email@example.com to receive the files. If your organization requires a quote before issuing a PO, please place your order as normal WITHOUT using an access number and just fill out the form manually. You will receive an itemized price that you can then provide to your Accounts Payable department to request a PO. After your license has been verified, an invoice will be sent to you. Once you have the PO, you can choose either PO or CHECK as your method of payment at checkout. You will then receive a final invoice that you can submit to your accounting department for payment. We will need a copy of the PO in either case. We cannot release any programming until we have a copy of the signed purchase order either by email or US mail. Please be sure to include your order number on the PO as well as on all checks so we can properly credit you.
If your school requires a W9 or any other information in order to become a vendor, please email us and we will provide that upon request.
CAN I RECEIVE A REFUND FOR ANY REASON?
If you placed an order and paid for the programming but were not provided a download link, you can get a refund simply by emailing or calling us. However, if a download link has been generated and emailed, we can not offer a refund for any reason.
WHAT IF OUR SHOW GETS POSTPONED OR CANCELLED DUE TO COVID?
If the programming links have been sent to you, regardless of the show status (rescheduled or cancelled), we will be unable to refund that money because like all software, once it is in your possession it cannot be returned. However, what we have done for all of our customers affected by COVID is to issue you a credit for the amount you paid for the show AND give you an additional 25% coupon code for a future show beyond that.
If your show is merely postponed to a later date, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your order number and the new dates and we will make that change to your account. There is nothing further to do.
WHAT VERSION OF MAINSTAGE WILL I NEED?
We try to keep every show’s files on the version of MainStage in which it was originally programmed, all the way back to version 3.1.1. While the current available version is at 3.6.x, our shows are guaranteed to work on any version starting with 3.4 to the current version available in the Apple app store. The version of MainStage you can use is completely dependent on the OS you are running on your computer. KeyboardTEK cannot distribute any version of the software beyond what is available in the app store. You will need to purchase it directly from Apple on the Apple App Store if you do not have it.
WHAT SHOULD I DO IF MY DOWNLOAD IS CORRUPT?
Occasionally a situation occurs where the download will corrupt and will not allow you to open the zip file that contains the MainStage file, usually due to slow network speeds or networks with a firewall. Please send us a message here if this happens to you, and we’ll send you the direct download link to the new file(s) right away.
WHAT SUPPORT DOES KEYBOARDTEK OFFER? CAN I TALK TO A LIVE PERSON?
KeyboardTEK offers the most comprehensive customer support in the entire industry. We answer the phone 7 days a week between 10-12 hours each day. However, because we are a small company, we encourage people to schedule a support call (phone or Zoom) using the link at the top of this page. We have same day appointments available as well as slots that will fit your schedule. This feature is only for customers who have placed an order or will be placing an order with us.
As for the types of support we can offer, KeyboardTEK is happy to answer any and all questions about ordering, pricing, and general questions about our products. We cannot offer hardware support for your setup as there are too many variables and types of gear available although we can offer suggestions to our customers based on our real world experiences.
Lastly, if you have ordered programming for multiple books and you have been tasked with moving instruments and samples around from one book to another, although allowed and even encouraged, we are unable to offer any support for our programming if it is being altered so make sure you are comfortable with that process. You can contact us if you need us to reinstate your original download link allowing you to start from scratch.
WHAT OS X SHOULD I BE ON?
Because we do not rely on third party plugins, our programming will work on any version of OS X which hosts a compatible version of MainStage.
IS ALL THE PROGRAMMING FROM THE ORIGINAL BROADWAY PRODUCTION?
While many of our titles do feature sounds and patches from the original production, the programming is often times modified to make sure we are not violating licensing agreements, or to ensure that the programming is reliable on updated and consumer-grade software. In addition, not all shows in our catalog have had a Broadway production, or if they did it may have taken place before programming could be stored outside of the unit on which it was performed. We do our best to collaborate with members of the original production with institutional knowledge for their insights, and pay detailed attention to any recordings which can be found. On many of the titles where we don’t have the original programming, we have worked with the orchestrator and members of the original creative team to recreate what was originally done. KeyboardTEK has also done a great deal of research to understand and purchase the original hardware being used for a more authentic customer experience.
HOW SOON BEFORE MY FIRST REHEARSAL WILL I GET MY FILES?
Files are typically sent out upon payment. There are a handful of shows that cannot be distributed until 30 days prior to opening but you will be notified of that at the time the order is placed. All programming will be available to you no less than 30 days from when the order was received or within 48 hours if your order was placed with less than 30 days before opening.
I HAVE DOWNLOADED MY PROGRAMMING, NOW HOW DO I GET IT TO WORK?
1) Download MainStage 3 from the Apple App Store (if it is not already installed on each computer)
2) Download the files to the computer you will be using it on (these will download as .zip files)
3) Unzip the file using an unzipping software or by double clicking on it
4) Double click the file to open it up in MainStage
5) Ensure all of your connections are correct (audio, MIDI) from the keyboard to the computer
6) Click on the LAYOUT mode button in MainStage (top left hand portion of the screen)
7) Select/Click the onscreen piano in the main workspace which will put a blue box around it
8) Click Assign in the upper LH corner of the screen under the screen control inspector which will turn RED
9) Play any note or notes on your MIDI keyboard and you should see the keys move on screen assuming your MIDI connections are correct
10) Select the NEXT button in the lower LH portion of the screen to the left of the onscreen piano (make sure the assign button is still selected and red)
11) Click on the lowest A on the piano
12) Select the PREV button in the lower LH portion of the screen to the left of the onscreen piano (make sure the assign button is still selected and red)
13) Click on the lowest Bb on the piano
13A) If you have any pedals (sustain, expression, volume, switch), you will repeat the assignment process above by selecting the on screen pedal icon that matches the pedal you want to assign and with the ASSIGN button still activated and RED, press or move the pedal until you see it move on the screen.
14) Click the ASSIGN button to turn it off
15) Go back to edit mode and choose a patch and test out your sounds
We also provide a PDF setup guide for each show that takes you through each step. If you are more of a visual learner, you can watch our step by step video guides at https://keyboardtek.com/pro-tips/ particularly Video 2 of 3 and 3 of 3.
DO YOU PROVIDE ANYTHING OTHER THAN KEYBOARD PROGRAMMING?
Sure! We have drum pad programming, MalletKat programming, sweetener tracks, click tracks, SFX files, and more. In some cases we can even provide guitar amp and effects modeling programming if a particular show calls for it.
KeyboardTEK also has limited hardware rentals that can include MIDI keyboard controllers, MacBook Pro’s, audio interfaces, various pedals (patch change & expression), and even rack mounted solutions using fully spec’d Mac Mini’s. Please email or call us if you would like to inquire more about what we have.
I HAVE A ROLAND KEYBOARD AND MY FOOT SWITCH IS ADVANCING MULTIPLE PATCHES. HELP!
This is a VERY common problem with Roland keyboards because Roland sends commands from their pedal inputs differently than most other keyboard manufacturers (particularly FS1 and FS2). A lot of people like to say Roland doesn’t play well with MainStage and in the case of switch pedals, that is true.
One thing to keep in mind is that MainStage is just a host of sorts. It cannot make or tell your keyboard to do anything that it is not set up to do internally. Your keyboard is called a controller for a reason. It controls what MainStage does while MS hosts all the sounds the controller plays but if the foot switch is advancing the patches multiple times in one press, it is your Roland that is telling MS to do this and not MainStage. However, we do know a solution that should solve your problem by following the steps below:
STEP 1: Plug your foot switch pedal into the DAMPER input and plug your sustain pedal unto FC1.
STEP 2: Go into your Roland keyboard MENU and find the section (maybe MIDI or CONTROLLERS) where you can change the settings and CC# of the pedal inputs (refer to the user manual on where to find this for your particular keyboard). Now set the CC value for FC1 to #66 (Sostenuto). Make sure you are getting MIDI signal in MainStage before proceeding.
STEP 3: In MainStage, go to Layout mode and assign your sustain pedal to the Sustain pedal icon (middle pedal in our template). This is done by selecting the pedal on screen, clicking ASSIGN in the upper LH column (it will turn red), then physically pressing the pedal until you see it move on screen. While in layout mode with the ASSIGN button still engaged, assign the Boss FS-5U pedal to the switch pedal icon (farthest pedal to the right in our template) by doing the same thing. Unclick the ASSIGN button (it will turn grey).
STEP 4: Go back to EDIT mode in MainStage and click on and select the top folder in the Patch List which should be an orange folder with the title of your show and keyboard (i.e. MUSICAL TITLE K1). This is called the concert level. Select the Sustain pedal icon in the Main Workspace and in the Screen Control Inspector that now appears in the bottom middle part of the MainStage screen, click the third tab which should say UNMAPPED (although it could say something else) then select SEND TO ALL —> Choose K1 Destinations (some of our programming may say 88 Keyboard Controller Destinations or something different) —> #64 Sustain.
STEP 5: Still in EDIT mode and at the concert level, select the switch pedal icon in the workspace and in the screen control inspector, go to that third tab and select ACTIONS —> Next Patch.
That is it. Make sure you save the concert and this should solve your problem. If it does not (although we are 99% sure it will), you will have to refer to the various message boards and FB groups for people that may have the same setup for additional help. It is just impossible for us to know how to do this on every model of keyboard that all of our customers have and there may even be other things going on that would be impossible for us to know without being there.
DO I REALLY NEED AN AUDIO INTERFACE? CAN’T I JUST USE THE HEADPHONE JACK?
Yes, you really need an audio interface. First of all, not all Mac computers have a headphone or a 1/8″ audio jack, but even the ones that do are designed specifically for the wattage for low impedance headphones or basic self powered computer speakers. They are not designed to output sound to a powered amp. Furthermore, different models of Mac computers output at different impedances so while one computer may sound fine on an amp (although still not recommended), another may sound very distorted and can even destroy the electronics in your computer if you are trying to output more sound than the computer is designed for. Connecting the output of a powered amp used to drive loudspeakers to any line level input (like a headphone/line jack) can yield disastrous results.
Powered amps that we use in the pit to monitor our sound are designed to operate at high current and voltage levels, usually driving impedances of no more than 16 ohms (very low impedance). Line level amps are basically voltage devices in that they drive signals into very high impedances (usually thousands of ohms). With such a high impedance very little current will flow at the low voltages you would be dealing with in a headphone/line out jack. A typical headphone amp isn’t much more than a line amp configured to be able to deliver higher currents into the lower impedances found in most headphones. Headphone impedance will typically range from 8 to 600 ohms, which is much lower than a line level input. A headphone amp has to be able to deliver the current necessary to drive these phones, but since the drivers are small, and right up against your ears, it doesn’t take much voltage to generate the power needed to make them loud enough. Bottom line, always use an audio interface to get the sound from your computer (and MainStage) into an amp, monitor, or to the FOH board via a DI or direct box.
DO YOU OFFER BACKING TRACKS?
We only prepare backing tracks by special order and with permission of the licensing company since often they already have a solution or a preferred partner that provides these for certain titles. If an original production has pre-records, however, we do our best to program and maintain those for use in a QLab file which is generally a separate rental. Speak to your licensing representative for help finding performance tracks if you will not have a live orchestra.
DO YOU HAVE A WINDOWS SOLUTION?
While we are working on some cross-platform solutions for playback, currently we only support computer-based keyboard programming for Apple computers. That is because MainStage, which is designed by Apple, is the industry standard for keyboard programming in professional and amateur theaters all over the world. Unfortunately, at this time, there is not even a Windows alternative to MainStage by any company. The last known Windows program to do something similar was Brainspawn’s Forte which did not even come with any sounds. The application has since been discontinued (https://www.kvraudio.com/news/brainspawn-to-stop-development-of-forte-and-related-products-40364) so providing a Windows solution at this time is not viable.
KeyboardTEK does have a limited supply of fully spec’d MacBook Pro’s and Mac Mini’s to rent if you are in need of them. Please contact us for options.
CAN YOU COMBINE THE PROGRAMMING FOR TWO KEYBOARDISTS INTO ONE FILE?
If you mean making it so that one player can perform two keyboard parts (i.e. combining the programming and patches for a Key 2 and Key 3 book), then yes although that would be considered a custom job and you would still have to provide the orchestration, cuts, and patch combinations to us as we only do the programming. We do not decide which patches are more important and which ones to omit for any organizations production.
If you mean using a single computer for 2 separate players, then no, MainStage does not allow for that since the patches from each player would be changing at different times and the fact that MainStage can be a CPU/RAM intensive application, you would not want to put that kind of load on your equipment in a live performance situation. You will need a separate computer for each keyboard player who is using MainStage for your production.
CAN I ARCHIVE MY FILES AND USE THEM FOR AWARD SHOWS, CABARETS, AND REMOUNTS?
Our files may not be used outside of the scope of your performance license. That is to say, you may use our programming in promo recordings for your production, but not for additional unauthorized productions that are not listed on the performance license contract. You are required to delete your files at the end of your contract term. All of our programming is watermarked and can be traced. There is a hefty fine for the producer and theater for any unauthorized use of our programming which is agreed upon in your contract as well as the Terms and Conditions prior to purchase.