Blog sharing creative ideas on teaching Ableton Live. For both school and private lessons.

Editing Vocals with Ableton Live

Editing vocals can be a really creative activity for students. It allows them to take a track and feel like they can instantly change it and make their own.  I put togeather a class activity based around editing vocals. This class is just one of many that are a part of the Supplementary Activites that come with the Ableton Live Breakthrough Course.

Vocal Edits Activity:

Below is a video walkthrough of the class. I talk about the theory, how I would edit the vocals, and try to demonstrate how I would teach it. After the video, I have a link to the downloads. I put togeather a lesson plan, worksheet, and downloadable videos.


Download Resources


When to teach this class?

I find that once you get the basics of Ableton Live, students want to start creating. The quicker you can have them creatively expressing themselves the better. This activity is perfect once you have gone over the basics of Arrangement View and Warp Modes. Once they have that, editing vocals can be a lot of fun. It also connects to a lot of modern production and electronic music.

I have taught this type of class to 15-year-olds and up to college students. It works for anyone really. This definitely isn’t the easiest activity, but once they are familiar with Ableton Live, this is a great activity to get the students excited.

More Activities:

If you would like to have more activities for your classroom, check out the Ableton Live Breakthrough Course. The course includes activities on Editing Video and Audio, Practicing an instrument with Ableton Live, Djing, and more.

By | 2017-01-24T20:14:01+00:00 January 23rd, 2017|Ableton Live, Music Education|0 Comments

Adding Samples and Clips to Ableton Live

ideax Teaching Ableton Push

In December I had the pleasure of visiting the Kent Library in Washington. I was asked by a new organization, idea X, to teach the Ableton Push 2.  Idea X is a new program by the King County Library System. Here is what Idea X is about in their words:

“We hope to attract a variety of youth with a range of skill levels to these programs. In many cases, however, participants may have little to no experience with digital music tools, since we particularly want to target young people in disadvantaged communities who might not otherwise have access to resources like this. The idea is to provide new opportunities for discovery, creativity, and experimentation, as well as generally increasing digital literacy.”

During the class, I showed a lot of function of Ableton Live and the Push.  I used the Free Push Curriculum I have on this site. I also had questions about adding clips in Session View. I decided to make a new activity to show off adding audio in Ableton Live.  The idea of this quick activity is to practice adding samples to live.

Below is a video walk-through of the activity. Below that you will see the links to download all the samples, lesson plans, and worksheets.

Download Activity

Check out the other activities from Idea X here:

Free Ableton Push Curriculum Resources

The school year has started and already amazing work is being done in music technology and education. Last year Ableton announced their Push education initiative.  It was really inspiring to see how much this company cares about education to donate so much to public schools.

Here at we have been working with the IDEA school in Tacoma in developing a Push centered music lab. We have been building off of our Ableton Live Breakthrough Course to include using the Push. Over the last few weeks many teachers reached out asking for resources with the Push, so we decided to share some of our course development.

Download Push Curriculum


You can also watch our video on Building Chords with Ableton Push by Ableton Certified Trainer Serafin.

If you would like a more in-depth course on Push, then check out our new Teaching Ableton Push course. We take the information presented here and turned them into videos with interviews and live examples.  If you are more of a visual learner, or enjoy learning more from videos, then this is for you.

Join the course.

Ableton Live in Education

Last year Ableton launched their new event, Loop, in Berlin. It was a gathering of teachers, musicians, writer, and developers on the edge of music and technology.  One of the classes they had was on Ableton Live in Music Education. After almost a year they released an amazing recording of the class. It’s a mixture of an interview with three teachers, as well as a panel discussion.

I found this video to be really inspirational. It is full of ideas on how to teach Live and navigating the educational system.

By | 2017-01-24T17:05:59+00:00 August 30th, 2016|Ableton Live, Blog, Music Education|0 Comments

Turn MIDI into Sheet Music

Your class is composing!

Maybe they are using MIDI keyboards, QWERTY keyboards or maybe just the mouse. Melodies, bass lines and chords are flowing into beautifully crafted boxes with every virtual instrument available a mouse click away.

How can the MIDI piano roll editor and standard music notation complement each other? The connection from a MIDI sequencer to printed sheet music is closer than students know. MIDI compositions can easily be turned into sheet music which can then be performed and recorded by student instrumentalists in a few steps.


By | 2017-01-24T17:05:59+00:00 January 12th, 2016|Ableton Live, Music Education, Music Technology|0 Comments

Creating a Sampled Instrument: Auto Map Samples

Creating a Sampled Instrument

We’ve recorded an alto saxophone on each chromatic pitch from F2 to D4. On the saxophone this would be from D below the staff to B above the staff . Each pitch was exported as an individual WAV file and placed into a folder.

Auto Map the Samples

These samples can then be imported into a sampler and played back on a midi controller. Software samplers like Logic’s ESX24 and Ableton’s Sampler have features that auto map samples to their root key. This can save a ton of time when assigning  samples to their corresponding midi note and key range.

Auto Map Logic ESX24

Tips For Auto Mapping Samples


By | 2017-01-24T17:05:59+00:00 December 15th, 2015|Ableton Live, Logic X, Music Technology|0 Comments

Building Chords with Ableton Push

Ableton Push is a fantastic instrument to compose melodies and chords with. Both beginning and advanced music makers will find a constant source of inspiration and exploration using Push’s unique keyboard. While Push is not a replacement for learning a traditional piano keyboard, it can be a very successful alternative for students without a piano background. I’ve found that Push reduces the barrier to entry to composing and gets students inspired and making more meaningful music faster.

Load a Sound

First load a sound from the Browser in Ableton Live by pressing the Browse button. Then use the encoder knobs to select the sound you like. If you have installed the free Ableton Live 9.5 update, you will also be able to hear a preview of each sound. Once you find a sound you like, press the green load button.

Navigate the Keyboard

The blue pads represent root notes spread over several octaves. You can access higher and lower octaves by pressing the Octave Down and Octave Up Button
Root Notes on Push


By | 2017-01-24T17:06:00+00:00 November 20th, 2015|Ableton Live, Ableton Push, Music Education|1 Comment

New Trade in Program to Help Schools with Music Technology

This year Ableton, a music technology company, has released an amazing new initiative for education. Ableton is known for their music software called Ableton Live. On November 3rd, 2015 they made a huge announcement that might bring a big benefit to music educators.

Live is a DAW that lets performers, musicians, composers, and sound designers make the music they have dreamed of.  Ableton has also made instruments to help interface with a computer and make it easy to write music. The main hardware they created was the Ableton Push.

Here is a video from Ableton about the trade in program:

Here is an introductory video on the Push:

What is amazing and cutting edge for this company is their announcement of the Push Trade In Offer. Ableton has just released an updated version of the Push called Push 2. To help support schools as they are asking people to trade in their old Push to get %30 off of their new purchase. Ableton then intends to offer these units to schools.  Knowing this company they will probably offer it for free to schools in need, or at a deeply discounted rate to make it approachable.

Here is a statement from Ableton:

We’ve seen some amazing initiatives that empower young people through music education. These initiatives teach young people how to make the type of music they love listening to.

But there aren’t enough programs like this out there – the cost of the technology needed is still prohibitive for many. And that’s something the Ableton community can help with.

If you take part in the trade-in, you’ll help more children and teenagers get inspired by making music.

I am really excited and inspired by this support in music education from Ableton. I would love to see other companies follow suit, and am happy to see Ableton blazing the trail.  If you are interested in getting your hands on the refurbished push units, then emailing Ableton at:

By | 2017-01-24T17:06:00+00:00 November 6th, 2015|Ableton Live, Music Education|0 Comments

Becoming an Ableton Live Certified Trainer

Becoming an Ableton Certified Trainer was a huge step in my carrier.  It has opened a lot of doors for me. I get questions from students at colleges, online, and through email about what being an Ableton Certified Trainer means.  To help shed light on the subject I created the following video. In this video we look at the process of becoming certified, what it means, and why you might consider it.

You can see that being a Certified Trainer is quite a task. I do believe that if you make a mark for yourself, and find a cutting edge way to add value to the community that you are on the right path. If you are just getting started, we have lots of resources here at to help you out. If you are a new teacher in this field, then check out our Ableton Live Breakthrough course to get you up and running.  It can help to get a little kick start.



By | 2017-01-24T17:06:01+00:00 October 26th, 2015|Ableton Live, Music Education|0 Comments