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Ultimate Ableton Live 9 COMPLETE: Parts 1, 2, & 3

Learning Ableton Live the right way: From the basics to the advanced, from Ableton Certified Trainer J. Anthony Allen.
Jason Allen
11,492 students enrolled
English [Auto-generated]
Produce music using Ableton Live
Use drum samples to edit, arrange, and create unique drum beats of your own.
Work inside Ableton Live for completing full tracks
Kickstart your productions with my tracks - full sessions included in this class!

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:

  • Recording Hardware Needs
  • Recording Hardware Setup
  • Microphone Types and Options
  • Microhpone Purchasing Tips
  • Microphone Placement
  • Audio Interface Needs
  • Audio Interface Purchasing Tips
  • Single and Multitrack Recording
  • MIDI Hardware Needs
  • MIDI Hardware Purchasing Tips
  • MIDI Setup
  • MIDI Recording
  • Looping
  • Locators
  • Key Mapping
  • Reversing Clips
  • Time Signatures Changes (session and arrangement)
  • Meter Changes (session and arrangement)
  • Adding harmony
  • Working with vocal samples
  • Creating beats
  • Working with one-shots
  • Slice to MIDI for beat production
  • Drum racks (!)
  • Consolidating
  • Recording/Writing Drum grooves
  • Layering Synths
  • Freezing & Flattening
  • Audio Effects
  • Automating Effects
  • Side-Chaining
  • Routing & Bussing
  • Resampling
  • …and much more!

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:

  • “Without a doubt the best explanation and east of use that one can get. It leaves you enough room to go explore. The classes go by quick, so you can be on your way at being proficient. What are you wait for!”
  • “Amazing – Seriously Loved It! I took all his courses and have to say I’m so happy! Learnt loads! Jason is an awesome teacher!”
  • “I have never had any formal training in music at all. Trying to learn all the notes and how everything translated was a serious challenge. After going through this class, Dr. J has totally brought down the barriers. The content was very useful and was easy to grasp for me.”
  • “I like these courses because you can get up and running quickly without having to spend hours of time wading through TMI (too much information!). Jason hits the high points but shows you what you need to know. Thanks!”
  • “I’ve watched many other videos on scales and chords before, however, this one has been the best. I now understand minor scales and chords and even how to analyze songs. It really gave me the confidence to start producing music because I feel like I have some structure and guidelines to follow. AWESOME!”
  • “Clear and Informative – Jason has a clear uncluttered style (with the important dashes of humor) of presentation that is focused on the important key aspects of this course. Recommended for those starting out!”
  • “Dr. Allen does it again with his music theory series. This course really opened up everything I learned from the 1st section, and now I understand more about the composition side of things for music. I highly highly recommend this course to anyone!!! Really opened my eyes to many things I wasn’t aware of.”
  • “The Best Teacher Ever, who makes you understand the ins & outs of Music Theory by all means without giving what you don’t want to know.”

The Live Interface


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.

Asking Questions
The 2 Views of Ableton Live: Session and Arrangement

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.

What is Arrangement View?

First, we will look at Arrangement view. If you have used any other audio program, this view will look a bit familiar.

What is Session View?

Session View is where Ableton Live gets unique. You won't find this in any other program. Once you understand how it works, it is incredibly fun to use.

Navigating Live

Navigating Live: Overview

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: The Best Place To Start

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: The Second Place To Go

Help View is a little browser built-in to Ableton. It has lessons, sessions (sets), and all kinds of useful stuff. Check it out!

Navigation in Live

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 (Arrangement View)

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 Clip Slot Grid (Session View)

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.

The Clip View Window

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.

Recording in Live

Adding Content: Overview

A few tips and tricks when it comes to adding content to Ableton Live.

The Preferences: Getting Setup Correctly

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: Finding What You Need

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.

Live's Signal Flow

There are a few tricks to the signal flow in Live - that is, the route audio goes once it enters the program.

Recording Audio in Live

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" - Recording a Performance

"Record to Arrange" is a way of recording Session view into Arrangement view. In this lesson, I'll show you!

Session Deconstruction

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.

Editing in Live

Editing in Live: Overview

In this lesson we will talk broadly about the basic editing features of Live.

Timeline Functions & Looping

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).

MIDI Editing & Quantizing

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 in Live

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.

The Groove Pool

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.

Session Deconstruction No. 2

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.

Wrap Up!

Wrap up: What now?

We've only scratched the surface!

Part 2: Welcome & Overview


Welcome to the class! A few notes about what we will cover in this class.

How We Will Be Covering These Topics

A few notes about getting started, what to expect, and how to get the most out of this course.

Audio Recording Fundamentals

Audio Recording Fundamentals

An overview of what we will be covering in this section. Don't worry - it won't be all that technical!

Hardware Needs

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.

Hardware Setup

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

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.

Monitor Modes

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.

Tracking in Arrangement View

We will start recording into Arrangement View, using a single microphone (but multiple tracks).

Multi-tracking in Arrangement View

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.

Tracking & Multi-Tracking in Session View

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 and "Punching In/Out"

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.

MIDI Recording in Ableton Live

MIDI Recording Fundamentals

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.

Hardware Needs for MIDI

The hardware you need to do MIDI recording can be simple and inexpensive if you know what to look for.

Hardware Setup

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.

How MIDI Works

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.

Recording MIDI in Arrangement View

Now we can get down to business! In this video we will walk through setting up a track and recording into Arrangement View.

Recording MIDI in Session View

Now that we've conquered Session View for MIDI recording, we will now look over at Session View.

Quantizing MIDI

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.


Introduction to Warping

Warping is a powerful element in Ableton Live. In this introduction I'll explain some key concepts about it.

What is Warping?

What Warping is, What it is not, and how to take advantage of it.

Anchors and Commands

In this section we get into the real details of warping: Setting Warp Markers, and helping Live to understand the clip.

Warp Modes

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.

Granulation Techniques

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.

Wrap Up!

A Brief Wrap-Up

A few parting thoughts, where to go from here, and things to explore.

Part 3: Introduction & Welcome


A quick overview of what we will cover in this class.

Arrangement View Editing

Arrangement View Editing: Overview

A few notes about this section before we get started.

Timeline Commands

In this video we will walk through some quick access tricks for looping, adding locators, and key commands. I'll also introduce key mapping in this video.

Clips: Moving, Copying, Reversing

Reversing clips can be an awesome effect - in this video I'll walk you through one of my tracks (you can download the whole session in Lecture 7), and I'll point out how I used reverse crash cymbals for a quick sound design trick.

Time Signature Changes

Tempo and Time signature changes can be hard to find in Ableton Live - so watch this video and you will be all up to speed on where to find them and how to use them.

Downloading and Uploading Sessions

In this course I'm going to give you a bunch of sessions for you to play with. This video walks you through how I'm preparing them to send to you - some important file info that you need to know.

SESSION: Here is that track I was working on!

Your first session from me! This is a complete track from my latest album, available on iTunes, Spotify, Amazon, etc. Feel free to mess with it and have some fun!

But heads up: Due to the file size restrictions on the Udemy system, I've had to scale it back a little bit. So not all the files and tracks are in this session. It is still more than enough for you to have some fun with. Try using it as a starting point and build some new layers on top of it!

Session View Editing

Session View Editing: Overview

The advantages of working in Session View - a few tips and some info on what we are going to cover in this section.

Setting Up Loops

First things first: Getting everything all setup.

Editing Clips

Do not be fooled! All loops are not the same length, nor are they 1 bar. Sometimes a loop of 1 beat, 2 beats, or more is all we need. One of the most important concepts in Session View!

Tempo Changes in Session View

Automating a tempo change in Session View works very differently, but it can still be done. You need to know one super hidden trick to make it work, though.

Meter Changes in Session View

We do not have a timeline in Session View, so how can we change the meter? The Arrangement view way will not work because it needs the timeline. But there is a way!

Adding Harmony and Basslines

In this video we will experiment with adding harmony and basslines. I'll show you a really slick way to find notes that will work with your melody.

Back to Arrangement Button

The mysterious and often troublesome "back to arrangement" button! Many have tried to understand it, and many have failed. But have no fear - it is often misunderstood, but not too complicated if you follow some simple rules of thumb.

Recording to Arrangement View

Once we have a good set going, we can "print" it by recording the performance to the Arrangement View. Lets do it in this video.

SESSION: Here is the session I was working on for you to download and play with!

Here is that session.


Beats! Overview

A few notes about this section before we dive into making beats.

Working with Loops

There are a few more tricks to working with loops, especially as it relates to making beats that we haven't covered yet. So lets get all up to speed with those here.

Chopping Up Loops

A great way to make your own beats is to start with a loop, and chop it up into its individual sounds. Re-arranging them is a great way to make your own beats.


After you start dealing with lots of little samples (like we just did in the previous lesson) you will want to get comfortable with Consolidating. Without consolidating, expect headaches!

Slice to New MIDI Track

Wouldn't it be great if Live could just chop up a loop for us and put it into a MIDI sampler so we could play the individual sounds with MIDI? We can!

Working with Drum Racks

Racks are the monster sleeping within Live. It is a huge topic that we will work with more in later classes. In this video I'll introduce Drum Racks.

Creating Your Own Drum Racks

Now that we know what Drum Racks are, lets make our own.

Recording/Writing Drum Racks

Creating with Drum Racks can be as easy as working with any MIDI instrument, if you know the ropes.

SESSION: Another session for you to use for experimenting!

Another session for you to work with!

Producing With Synths

Producing with Synths: Overview

A few notes about what we are going to cover in this section.

Layering Synths

Layering synths is a great trick for creating rich sounds without too much synth programming.

Freezing and Flattening

You've seen me do this earlier - but it can be especially important when we are working with synths.

SESSION: Here is that session - Two this time!

This time 2 sessions for you to download and play with!

Working with Effects

Working with Effects: Overview

Some notes about this section - basic audio effect overview.

Basic Audio Effects

In this video I'll work with a delay, EQ, and compressor to add some color and motion to our synth line.

Automating Effects

Automating your effects will add a huge amount of motion and variety to your track. Lets walk through how to set it up, and find the right parameters to automate.

Advanced Production Techniques

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