Ableton For Beginners by Dave Craig
Ableton For Beginners – Dave Craig Blog Week 1
Tucked neatly round the corner from the center of Hackney, the Garnish School of Sound is the premium choice for aspiring musicians and producers who want to learn the tricks of the trade that will get their tunes pumping in all the right places. The school is in the Arthaus; a former gallery, nestled in snugly amid the artist’s workshops and meeting rooms. It’s an impressive environment that lends itself well to the aura of pedigree the school cultivates.
The teaching facilities are top-notch for Ableton for beginners right through to advanced students, with Apple Mac-lined walls waiting eagerly. Our instructor was Jake Williams, a sound bloke, and armed with tips and tricks to impart to his students.
This week was covering the basics; getting to know Ableton’s layout and just what all those mysterious buttons do. For the beginner, this kind of detail is what’s crucial to getting a solid understanding to the program’s -at times- baffling intricacies. Reading a manual is all fine and well, but having someone there explaining it to you does make a world of difference.
Once we’d learned where everything was, we dove straight into the session view to get to grips with audio clips. Within a short while everybody was looping merrily, using the tasty sample packs that Jake provided. This lead naturally into an explanation of the arrangement screen, and how the two marry together.
Next, we had an overview of Ableton’s insert effects and then these were all added to the mix too. The emphasis was on getting going straight away, rather than having every single effect explained in mind numbing detail. Though Jake was happy to answer any questions that anyone could think of. Then we moved onto Live’s own midi instruments, again, with an emphasis on learning by doing but with the added benefit of having a tutor to sort things out if it all got too overwhelming. We didn’t get much further than the drum rack this week, but that was enough for the class to get a taste for programming their own beats. We also learned the importance of keeping our samples and projects organised, and the most straightforward methods to do so.
This week laid an excellent Ableton for beginners foundation for to start building upon. The key concepts were clearly explained and the hands-on learning meant that the whole class were already feeling more confident about what they could do with Ableton Live.