For years I've been teaching Ableton Live in the college classroom. As a University Professor, my classes are sought after, and, frankly, expensive. I believe Ableton Live can be learned by anyone, and cost shouldn't be a barrier. This class uses the same outline and syllabus I've used in my college classes for years, at a fraction of the cost.
This version of the class contains all of parts 1, 2, and 3.
This is a really deep class - tons of content, tricks, and tips. I'm giving you tons of complete sessions to play around with. One of them (the first one in part 3) is even a finished, published complete track of mine. We are going to be covering how to produce using Ableton Live, starting from working with clips and going all the way up to some advanced production techniques. Topics include:
And of course, once you sign up any part, you automatically get huge discounts to all the upcoming parts (the next 5!) of this class.
You will not have another opportunity to learn Ableton Live in a more comprehensive way that this. Start here.
Dr. Jason Allen is an Ableton Certified Trainer, and a PhD in Music Composition and master of Electronic Sounds. His music has been heard internationally in film, radio, video games, and industrial sound, as well as the concert hall and theater. His 2015 album, Aniscorcia, reaching the CMJ Top200 Charts and radio broadcasts nationwide. In 2014 he was named a semi-finalist for the Grammy Music Educator Award.
He currently as an adjunct professor of composition at the University of St. Thomas, and the CEO of Slam Academy in Minneapolis.
Praise for classes by Dr. Jason Allen:
An overview of what will be covered in this class, and how I'll be covering it. This is the first class in a super comprehensive series of classes. At the end of this class I'll give you the goods to get you moving into the second class.
One of the first things that stumps a lot of people about Ableton Live is the two different views. It isn't as weird as you think! Let me help you wrap your head around it - starting here.
First, we will look at Arrangement view. If you have used any other audio program, this view will look a bit familiar.
Getting around Ableton Live can be confusing at first. Here we will talk about the main layout, what to look for, and how to find help.
Info View is our first window we will look at. This window holds the secrets to Live - and tells you everything you need to know.
Help View is a little browser built-in to Ableton. It has lessons, sessions (sets), and all kinds of useful stuff. Check it out!
In this lesson we will look at production workflow in Live. This is something that can take a little getting used to, but once you get comfortable with it, you will moving through Live very quickly.
The main sequencer window in Arrangement view is, if you have used another audio program, a familiar timeline-based layout. It has a few things that are different, so in this lesson we will explore how it works in detail.
The Session View is probably the most foreign element in Live to most people. In this lesson we will look at navigating it, and the biggest part of it, the Clip Slot Grid.
Clip View is the big rectangle at the bottom of the screen, and it contains a lot of info. The trick to Clip View is knowing that it can show you different things depending on what you are doing.
A few tips and tricks when it comes to adding content to Ableton Live.
Getting around inside the Preferences window is key to making sure all of your settings are correct. In this lesson I'll show you how to set everything up.
The Browser is how we can quickly navigate all our files without leaving Live. Like most things in Live, once you get comfortable with it, it can really speed up your workflow.
There are a few tricks to the signal flow in Live - that is, the route audio goes once it enters the program.
Finally - Recording! Now that we are all setup, and know how audio is moving through Live, in this lesson we will do a little recording.
"Record to Arrange" is a way of recording Session view into Arrangement view. In this lesson, I'll show you!
In this lesson I'm going to walk through this whole Ableton Live Set that we've been looking at for the last few sessions. I'll explain everything I see, in hopes that you pickup on anything you missed, some vocabulary, and just to reinforce what you've learned so far.
In this lesson we will talk broadly about the basic editing features of Live.
One of the most basic functions in Live is Looping clips. In this lesson we will look at how that works in the timeline (Arrangement View).
Quantizing is a way to "snap" our MIDI notes to a grid, to clean up our sloppy playing (and for other reasons). In this lesson, I'll show you how to do it!
Automation is how to program changes in any parameter over time. Want the volume to go up in a section? Thats automation. Want a filter to start opening after the drop? Thats automation.
Possibly one of the most unique features in Live is the Groove Pool. In this video I'll show you what its for, and how to use it.
In this lesson I'm going to walk through another Ableton Live Set that we've been looking at for the last few sessions. I'll explain everything I see, in hopes that you pickup on anything you missed, some vocabulary, and just to reinforce what you've learned so far.
We've only scratched the surface!
An overview of what we will be covering in this section. Don't worry - it won't be all that technical!
We typically think of two things that we need to record: A computer, and a microphone. But there is one other piece of the puzzle that is essential.
Now that we know what our hardware looks like, in this section we will walk through how to set it all up.
What to look for in a microphone, the different kinds of microphones, and my personal recommendations.
Microphone placement techniques could be a whole other class, but in this video I'll give you a few tips to get a clean sound and avoid some common issues.
Back to Ableton Live! A brief explanation of Monitor Modes - very, very important for home-studio situations in which feedback could be a big (and dangerous) problem.
We will start recording into Arrangement View, using a single microphone (but multiple tracks).
Now that we can cleanly record a single microphone in Arrangement View, in this section we will look at recording multiple microphones at once - a situation you would need to record a band.
Now lets look at tracking in Session View. It is mostly the same, but has a few things that work different that you need to know about.
Overdubbing is a way of re-recording something for a second take. Punching In is a much smoother way to do that, and in Ableton Live, we have a few smooth tricks for getting the "punch" exactly right.
In this video we will talk about what will be covered in this section, and make sure we are all up to speed on some terms.
The hardware you need to do MIDI recording can be simple and inexpensive if you know what to look for.
Once we've selected our MIDI controller (keyboard or something else), we need to tell Ableton Live a few things about it to get it setup correctly.
In order to make sense of MIDI in Ableton Live, we need to understand a little more background about MIDI. In this video we will walk through what MIDI is, and what an "Instrument" is.
Now we can get down to business! In this video we will walk through setting up a track and recording into Arrangement View.
Now that we've conquered Session View for MIDI recording, we will now look over at Session View.
One of the biggest advantages that working with MIDI has is our ability to Quantize. In this section I'll explain what that means, and do a few demonstrations.
Warping is a powerful element in Ableton Live. In this introduction I'll explain some key concepts about it.
What Warping is, What it is not, and how to take advantage of it.
In this section we get into the real details of warping: Setting Warp Markers, and helping Live to understand the clip.
We can help Live to understand our clip a little more by adjusting the Warp Modes. In this video we will walk through the different Warp Modes and look at what they are best used for.
Sometimes we might want to warp a clip "incorrectly" for musical purposes. This tends to result in granulation artifacts, which can make some interesting sounds if you use them well.
A few parting thoughts, where to go from here, and things to explore.
J. Anthony Allen has worn the hats of composer, producer, songwriter, engineer, sound designer, DJ, remix artist, multi-media artist, performer, inventor, and entrepreneur. Allen is a versatile creator whose diverse project experience ranges from works written for the Minnesota Orchestra to pieces developed for film, TV, and radio. An innovator in the field of electronic performance, Allen performs on a set of “glove” controllers, which he has designed, built, and programmed by himself. When he’s not working as a solo artist, Allen is a serial collaborator. His primary collaborative vehicle is the group Ballet Mech, for which Allen is one of three producers.
J. Anthony Allen teaches at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN., and is an Ableton Live Certified Trainer. He is a co-founder and owner of Slam Academy, a multimedia educational space in downtown Minneapolis. Recently, Allen founded Hackademica – an innovative net-label for new music.
J. has a PhD in music composition, 2 Master’s degrees in music composition and electronic music, and a bachelors degree in guitar performance. Through his academic travels, Dr. Allen has received numerous awards along the way.
If you run into him on the street, he prefers to be addressed as J. (as in, Jay.)