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Author Topic: How did I ever get along without this?  (Read 3371 times)

MickeyKeys

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How did I ever get along without this?
« on: November 29, 2014, 11:08:33 AM »
Be aware that this review of this excellent app is written from the POV of a keyboard player who is not a bandleader; therefore I have to admit to having a rather narrow focus.

As a musician who has toiled in a variety of cover bands over the last decade and a half, I've played numerous combinations of keyboards, reproducing many different styles. As keyboardists, we all know the syndrome... in any given set we may have to go from being Chicago's horn section, to Ray Manzarek, to Elton John, Lionel Richie, Billy Joel, to the Seattle Symphony Orchestra, to (on "Rosalita") Roy Bittan, Danny Federici, and Clarence Clemons all at once!

To top it off, these identity changes often have to be accomplished in the scant seconds between the last trombone lick of "Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?" and the snare hit that triggers the iconic Vox Continental intro to "Light My Fire". Used to be this had to be done on a half-lit stage either from memory or some hastily scrawled notes on a set list (if you were fortunate enough to get one); keeping you one brain-fart or finger-slip away from a train wreck!

To the rescue - Set List Maker.

A word to the wise, though - if you are looking for instant gratification, you ain't-a-gonna find it here; it isn't by any means an app you can download and be instantly off to the races.

However, if you take the plunge and invest some time actually reading the extensive support material (in the form of a well written website, a forum, and numerous videos on YouTube), you will readily perceive that this app can be a game changer and is well worth the price and effort.

But not if you're lazy about it.

Don't expect great returns from this without some effort on your part. I'll quote another reviewer who nailed it when he said, "this is a Ferrari. if you're used to riding a bike you're not going to keep up."

You will truly get out of this app what you put into it. The initial data entry can seem quite daunting; but for those who stay the course the light bulb will go on and you will be richly rewarded with a future of trouble-free sets.

If you're a keyboardist and , like me, want to use SLM to:

-Maintain a database of songs,
-Write, distribute, and archive set lists,
-Automate patch selections onstage,

you'll need to buy the basic app and the in-app purchase to send/receive MIDI. You should have a rudimentary knowledge of how MIDI program changes work - at least for your own boards, AND the patience to work at this. READ the instructions. Start by entering three or four songs of your own. Put as much or as little data as you want into each one to start with. That will give you an idea of what's involved.

Then, when you've created a couple of MIDI setups, hopefully you'll see where this can go and you WILL be off to the races.

Copy songs into your new Show, divide them into sets and drag-and-drop the songs into your preferred order. If you've added the time data, SLM even re-computes the length of each set so you can plan your show. Then use the “Share” function to email and/or print copies for your mates, and it's showtime!



(11-28-2014 - iPad Mini, Kurzweil PC3 (top), Yamaha CP4 (bottom), between sets in Farmingdale, NJ. )

On stage, you'll see that the iPad is clipped to my mic stand on my left with the set list displayed. This, my friends, is where the groundwork pays off - IF you've done it. Tap the next song, and SLM sends out MIDI messages that call the required patches on each of my keyboards. If I've stored chord charts, lyrics, or any other notes, they are displayed on the screen in case they're needed. True one-stop shopping!

Honestly, I must admit that's as far as I've taken it, and I know I've only really scratched the surface. But that's all I really need for now, and that's the beauty of this- it can do as little or as much as you need if you're willing to invest a little time.

I understand there are also options that allow stepping through the set list with a pedal (heck, I have too darn many of those already) or even broadcasting your screen over wifi (or is it Bluetooth?) to bandmates with iOS devices running SLM - not bloody likely in my little orchestra ... YET, LOL.

The set list printing and sharing capabilities are great, too; now I just need to sell the rest of the guys on letting ME manage the set lists going forward! But from some of the questions I got asked last night the day may be closer than I thought.

If you experience a bit of difficulty early on, don't go to the App Store and yell online that the app stinks. Don't forget the reviews on this have been overwhelmingly positive-and they can't all be wrong. Re-read the documentation. Browse the forum, register and try posting your issue - maybe another user can shed some light. Some of my early issues were Homer-Simpson-slap-your-forehead obvious. If you're still stuck, use the link on the website to email the developer. Arlo's incredibly patient and supportive, but remember he doesn't read minds.

For me, the light bulb came on after the first gig, which was about three weeks after I started with SLM. Being a relative newcomer, I’ve only done four gigs with SLM, but it gets better and better each time.

This is definitely the most worthwhile bit of musicians' software I've seen in years!!!! Thanks Arlo!
« Last Edit: November 29, 2014, 11:25:45 AM by MickeyKeys »
- Mike

"I believe I've passed the age of consciousness and righteous rage,
I found that just surviving was a noble fight.
I once believed in causes too, I had my pointless point of view,
And life went on no matter who was wrong or right".

arlo

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Re: How did I ever get along without this?
« Reply #1 on: November 30, 2014, 10:48:17 AM »
Thanks for the feedback, and helpful suggestions for new users. I'm glad you're liking it!

MickeyKeys

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Re: How did I ever get along without this?
« Reply #2 on: November 30, 2014, 11:58:30 AM »
Thanks for the feedback, and helpful suggestions for new users. I'm glad you're liking it!

Loving it, more like (even though I'm pretty sure I'll be switching to BandHelper). . . feel free to quote me in the "Reviews" page.

You should know I tried several times to post comments in the App Store and for some reason they didn't take. Probably went over their length limit or something . . .
- Mike

"I believe I've passed the age of consciousness and righteous rage,
I found that just surviving was a noble fight.
I once believed in causes too, I had my pointless point of view,
And life went on no matter who was wrong or right".

arlo

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Re: How did I ever get along without this?
« Reply #3 on: November 30, 2014, 12:16:17 PM »
Apple checks all submitted reviews before posting them; that can take a few days.