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Fast Songwriting In Ableton Live

Lesson 17 of 18

Breaking Through Writer's Block

Isaac Cotec

Fast Songwriting In Ableton Live

Isaac Cotec

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Lesson Info

17. Breaking Through Writer's Block

Lesson Info

Breaking Through Writer's Block

So I'm gonna kind of take a step back, looking at the wider view again, um, and talk about what happens if you get in writer's block and how to move past that because at this point, we've gone over a lot of information we've gone over, how do we build the concept of our music? How do we move that into preproduction sketches bringing furthering the composition and then adding generative cool effects and stuff like that? Now, the question is, throughout this process, you might get blocked, right? It's definitely happened to me, and it will happen to most people. So what do we do when we run into something that we just can't creatively get past? And I'm going to talk about that for a little bit, and then we're going to review some concepts. I'll give you some tools for writer block, then we're going to kind of wrap it up. So first thing I'm just going to stand up for this point seven sitting a while, uh, keep calm and take a break, all right? So when I started making music, I mean, my fir...

st album spent tons of time on it, it was it was all right, I'm still kind of happy with it, but it was my first out, right? And then I was like you know what I gotta follow this up with an epi because I'm going to be a big time musician like let's get going so I worked my worked really hard on follow a pp that came out and honestly the wasn't all that great not comparatively even to that album and I felt frustrated I was like I need another album another epi people don't like this the only way for people like my music is by keep doing it well then I got my gigantic writer's block like I just couldn't get past it I just couldn't sit down to write music nothing was coming everything was crap I felt totally bad about what I was doing as a musician well the best thing that I could do at that time period it was not make music and for that time period I didn't make music for seven months or something almost a year I just stopped and I went out had fun with friends did different things had more hobbies and stuff like that and that rejuvenated like my soul right rejuvenated like what I enjoy why I like music I all of a sudden I had a breakthrough had nothing to do with sitting in front of a computer it was out having friends like with some friends listening to some music and being like that's why I want to make music I'm going to go back in the studio and I was over my breakthrough and I made on awesome album right after that it was way better than the other music so know that like making music a majority of making music is not in front of the computer it's not in front of the box it's not even making music that's not where it comes from it comes from your life from your experiences from your joy's stuff like that so step back take a break if you ever get caught in a writer's block it's it's a process it's the creative process it takes time just let it run its course you'll come back around I have constantly had these like uh dark night of the soul moments all the time I write this awesome album I'm like done with it and I just think man, how will I ever make something as good as that one's if my my creativity runs dry, what we'll just be some washed up has been that has happened a lot throughout my life and luckily I keep getting creative so I think you will too like if history has taught me anything, we've lose our steam, we get it back. Another thing is I kind of talked this about earlier about learning something new and how that could be a creative process but that's what you guys are doing here and hopefully your getting a lot of creative juice from this, but if you ever get stuck, take a break and learn something it could be learning something completely learning the guitar or learning cricket. I don't know, but the act of breaking out of your normal life is what's going to push you through your writer's block so anything that you can learn or pick up skills are greatly going to help you in your music. Also, just, you know, pick up some new aspect of music, learning the piano, learning the guitar, luring the kazoo, whatever you know, beatbox, anything that's really gonna help? Uh, this actually works. Not even kidding. I do this a lot, and I suggest this to students. If you're feeling really trapped in your music, try to make the worst track you've ever made. Try it, I dare you, I dare you to make a terrible track, you'll probably find that somehow it turns into something cool that you like and you're going to, like, try to battle with yourself to make it bad, but like it's, a fun thing to do that totally breaks all your boundaries. Hopefully it makes you laugh. Do something we had. Cale moves in the middle of your production and strange space alien stuff like have fun with it and I think generally you come out of that thing like, oh, yeah, I could do this, I can make things just break up that serious need of making the best track, making terrible, really, how they suggest this even just is like a fun project right out and this next little tip is collaboration. I've had a few tracks, this one track in particular called phase shift came out my last album ties a twilight, and I this track was like eighty percent done and I could not get past it there's just nothing I could do every time I worked on it, I was like, I like it so much where it is, but I just don't know that last twenty percent I don't know what to do, so I packaged it up and I sent it off to this awesome guy liam from austin, who I met down there he goes under the name dirty rules and he took the track totally manipulated, changed it and handed it back to me and had all these new ideas that got me super created creative I felt like, ah there's, this new part that I want to write and before I knew it, like within a week we had a new track and it was a great way to give me steamed in my own music and feel creative again because it gave me a new perspective, so collaboration could be absolutely fantastic way tio to kick start yourself with that on my website as well as with this course, you can get a file that I made, um, we just opened up real quick, fast song writing, uh, what is it soon files so it's sharing live sets? If you ever had a problem with sharing life sets, this goes through everything you need to know an introduction, how to organize your set, collect on save stuff that we talked about this well, it's freezing tracks, third party, the everything so that'll come with this class because I do find collaboration as being an incredibly important aspect when we go down to the checklist uh, incredibly important aspect, too making music and being creative is collaborate it's really going to help you out in the long run? Great and, uh, next thing going to show you is a little tool that I helped that someone helped me put together for max for live, and I call it shift in context, all right? So see let's say you're making music and you're feeling really stuck, you're working on the composition you're like, I don't know what well, I've put together a list of a bunch of ideas a lot of things that we've gone over in this class is what was abstract ideas to help you break through and come up with some new ideas and here it is this thing called shifting context super simple you've got forty seven random ideas your press click gives you something which is what was your intention what were you trying to go for? Click it again add random ization to the mix these you're just ideas toe like you're ever getting stuck doing this speed me up immensely because I never have a moment of stuck second I'm stuck I press it ago leave the world behind what does that mean? What is my world in my music what is the world I created let's go somewhere else with it and then I move into whole new worlds and new aspects uh make the soft sharp in the sharp soft no, these are just abstracted interesting ideas change the entire sonic scenery what was it before? What could it become and go on and on and on uh there isn't one in here a race all but you love I like that one um ride into the danger zone yeah, they're great uh one of my having here which is a cool it kind of goes into the making the worst track it is half think of think of your least favorite artist ever and do what he would do. That was really fun, like I like skrillex, but say, what would screw alex to write and then do that sound, and it could be really creative, because you might do something you don't like and culminated to something you do, right. So we're just pushing our boundaries. We're going farther and into ideas that we might not have originally thought of. So this comes with the course, uh, so when you downloaded, you could just open up this live set, and you can save it to your library. It's, a max for life device, and it could be a really helpful way to just come up with new concept. New ideas. Yeah, imagine what your favorite musician would do and do that. Yeah, that's. Good.

Class Description

When you are working on a song it’s easy to get lost in the details of production and lose sight of what you are really trying to do: make better music. Ableton Live can help – Ableton’s flexible workflow lets you focus on what really matters.

Isaac Cotec is an Ableton Certified Trainer and in Fast Songwriting In Ableton Live he’ll teach you how to setup Live so the technical side of your songwriting process is simple and straightforward.

You’ll get tips on organizing your sample library, presets, and other assets so you can stay in the flow once the creative process starts. Then you’ll work through every step of songwriting process. To start off, Isaac will share tips on:

  • Picking a concept, genre, and bpm
  • Building out the melodic and rhythmic seeds
  • Quickly writing the foundation of the track

He’ll also help develop your work after you’ve laid a foundation. You’ll get insights on using:

  • Core elements: intro, verse, chorus, bridge, break, pre-chorus
  • Melodic devices: call and response, passing notes, ground bass
  • Rhythmic devices: syncopation, polyrhythm, etc

For those times when inspiration isn’t coming, Isaac will share the strategies he uses to overcome writer’s block and help you know when a song is done. You’ll know exactly what it takes to set up an optimal workspace in Ableton and how to write a song while taking full advantage of it’s functions and features.


a Creativelive Student

I started sequencing in the mid-80s using Dr T's Keyboard-controlled sequencer... it had two modes like LIVE, a loop mode and an arrangement mode... you can see the progression of design today.. of course, there were no internal sounds, just MIDI, so you used modules and keyboards for sound generation, synced to tape for recording, added vocals, then took your tape to a bigger studio to mix, then sent off your master to those mysterious magicians to make it sound like a record. Amazing to see such a young kid like Isaac, able to do all the above work out of a little laptop! This young man is such an inspiration. He's not only got the music and technical side down, he's got got a good head on his shoulders. Great job, Isaac! Thanks so much for your willingness to teach and share what you have, and you have a lot! You're a great help.

Victor van Dijk

In awe with this super kind and highly knowledgeable teacher! Wow, he really pours his musician's heart out in this outstanding course on everything that relates to being a musician, sketching, writing songs, composing, and so on. Also it's a course chock a block full of highly helpful Ableton Live project files, PDFs, and many many useful tips and tricks. I highly recommend this course, it should have cost WAY more, and in all honesty, it's a steal! And did I mention, that you learn a lot about and within the Ableton Live environment?! LOVE this course!


Isaac is one of the best guy who can teach anything on Ableton! He got so many tips! His courses are so amazing! I really improved my skills thanks to him! And I do rewatch his courses with pleasure!