I'm not sure whether this is the best forum for this, but I wanted to get this started, and this seemed as good a place as any. Maybe Bad Mister or another super guru will direct me to another site, and maybe contribute their Yamahaness to the cause.
I have owned synths for many years. I won't say just how many, but my first was an Alesis QS7. One earful of professional level sounds had me hooked, they can be so amazingly beautiful. One challenge is to fully understand them as more than a basic electronic piano, not that there is anything wrong with electronic pianos. Having a team of brilliant people working for years to pack a system with features, functions, interfaces, sounds, and everything else means that it can take a similar long time to become sufficiently proficient to express our musical hearts using them.
Another challenge, and the one addressed here, it that assembling all the capabilities of these instruments with the goal of making a "cover" for a musical selection IS, not can be, but IS, daunting. It isn't just like picking up a Fake book and mechanically executing it will get this done, thought it might help. There are melodies, harmonies, grooves, beats, sound selection, transitions, to name a few. This effort will attempt to establish a process, with sufficient detail, to help myself and others through this maze. As mentioned above, constructive additions or corrections are most welcome. As there are multiple ways to achieve this end, this cookbook will probably need to be like a "Choose Your Own Adventure". It will need to allow for individual expression, and personal preferences.
A possible list of steps in this process might be:
1) Identify the composition to cover
2) Find a video of the particular performance of the composition to work from
3) Unless you have an awesome ear that can digest the components of the performance find videos, web sites, or books to identify key riffs and chord sequences
4) Start practicing the riffs and chords. If desired play around with voices, though the focus on that comes a bit later.
5) Identify the sections of the performance. Usually there will be an introduction, verses, chorus, bridge, and ending, though this is very flexible
6) Break down each section as to groove, beat, etc
7) Section by section ...
That is as far as I can get tonight. Just the beginning of a skeleton.
I tried a collaboration of what it took to go from playing around with a keyboard to becoming a gigging musician. I received many thoughtful and helpful comments. I hope this effort will grow into something really meaningful. Music is a beautiful, passionate art form. Helping others make music is a special opportunity to make this world a little better.