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Ableton Live 11 Tutorial: From loop to complete Track!

Updated: Aug 9

If you’re wondering how electronic music is made or how to start a song idea and turn it into a complete and professional sounding song you’re in the right place.

Having been a musician and artist for 20 years, one of the things that I get asked by people in person and online is how do I turn a song idea or loop into a full song and where do I start? I took the questions that aspiring electronic musicians had and turned it into the 6 Step Guide, an Ableton Live 11 tutorial where I show you the easy to follow system I use for EVERY song that I create, from start to finish.

This FREE guide is full of the skills and knowledge I use to compose, arrange songs, and even includes PRO TIPS and a bonus step on mixing your track!

The FREE guide will also give you the skills you need to start a song from scratch, using the techniques

that your favourite pro artists and DJ’s are using to craft their latest dance floor killers.

Ableton Live templates are a great way to shortcut your creative process by providing access to all of your favourite plugins, effects and synths and keeping them within reach at a moment's notice.
Ableton Live Template

I first start out by showing you the importance of using a template, which cuts down your time looking for your favourite synths and effects, making your starting page much less like a blank canvas and more like a car that you can turn on and head down the road in.

Next I discuss why using reference tracks is the best free tool you can use, and really is the shortcut to professional sounding production. Even veterans use reference tracks every day in their workflow. It may be discouraging when you’re just starting out but stick with it. The rewards are so incredible when you use them I made an entire blog post and video outlining the benefits.

After selecting a reference track, its time to write some music! In this section I show you how I write a basic melody line, nothing more than a few notes to get started, and then build off of that simple idea and turn it into a memorable hook.

Samples have been used for decades in electronic music and provide the backbone to any rhythm track. Samples can be taken from field recordings, live instruments, found audio or you can even create your own.
Ableton's Simpler

After your main musical ideas are fleshed out I’ll start to write the foundation of the rhythm and beat. Programming drums is so much fun and is a sure fire way to get a party started or dane floor moving. In the guide I discuss how to make a basic rhythm and how to make it sound more alive by adding groove and variation to keep it interesting.

I then discuss how to break your musical idea into layers, which can then be used to create the different elements of your song,, lowering the main melody to make a baseline and choosing a synth that will make it sound big, and also ho to create lead synth lines and how to create sounds for them.

Next I focus on the arrangement and how to turn your looped ideas into a basic song structure, and how to remove and add elements to create variation and contrast between the sections of music. I also discuss how to add automation to create interest and tension which can be used to create build ups and drops.

Portal is a granular effect made by Output, inspired by the random delay and swirls of granular synthesis.
Output's Portal

Lastly I show you how to add effects to take the sounds in your song to a professional level by adding depth and texture. This is also where using equalizers to add or remove some frequencies will help blend the elements of your song together by creating a balance between the frequencies that each instrument and part contributes to the sound overall.

And as an added bonus I include a section on mixing that I hope will give you a basic understanding of what the purpose of mixing is and how to do it. This is a huge subject and there’s lots of different ways to approach it. I’m sharing with you the tried and tested way to create a great sounding mix without over-complicating it. I want to make this process as easy to follow and approachable as possible so that you can start making professional sounding electronic music from your home studio or bedroom right now!

If you need any suggestions on home studio set up and what gear to use, don’t forget to download my Gear Guide where I list the best entry level gear that’ll get you started with everything you need for around $500!

Lastly, if you’re looking for more great tips on how to turn your song ideas into professional sounding music I’m available for 1-on-1 coaching and can tailor sessions to fit your level of experience and what your goals are. Head to my website for more information, pricing and even some special discounts.

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