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Fast Songwriting In Ableton Live

Lesson 1 of 18

Clearing the Path

Isaac Cotec

Fast Songwriting In Ableton Live

Isaac Cotec

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Lesson Info

1. Clearing the Path

Lesson Info

Clearing the Path

Everybody welcome to creative live here on the music and audio channel my name's true councilman I'll be your host for this course today's course is fast songwriting and able to live with isaac coat check isaac you are unable to certify trainer with a pervasive career in this industry it's pretty awesome we've had you here for a kurt course before and I'm super excited about today's course how you doing? Great. Thanks a lot. Thanks for being backdated. Yeah it's awesome when we have a lot to cover so take it away let's just dive right in, right? Well, hello, everyone online and you guys here in the studio thanks for making it out really appreciate that and we're going to go into some really deep information around song writing and stain creative with able to live a little bit about me, my name's isaac coat check and I've been able to certified trainer and just I'm going to tell you a little bit about who I am and what I do. So you know a little more about me before we go into this very...

big, wild crazy discussion around song writing well, I've been traveling all over the united states and internationally performing under the names of equus that's my music name and this is me at a festival photosynthesis actually that we were talking about earlier and I've been doing that project for about four years or something like that I've been producing electronic music for over seven years and throughout that whole time period I've also been teaching what I have learned to other people the big thing about that is when I first got able to live it was live five and there was no manual well not in english there was one german manual and there were translating it there was no youtube videos on this at all I think you two was even just getting going and because there was no information it took a while to figure out the program luckily I was on unemployment at the time I was a lot younger so I just like got obsessed with it for months on end but it took me something like six months or more and really understand the program and once I got the program uh I decided to kind of help out other people and through years and years of teaching and learning deeper and deeper about it I realized that I could distill that like six months of being lost in the program into very succinct like here's this four week program or something like that where you can learn it and I just love being able to use my knowledge to teach other people uh the program a lot quicker than what I went through and a little about me is a musician these are all the different releases that I've had over the last four years with savi aquarius and actually have another one that came out on tuesday so you know, it's like four albums, three piece and then I have multiple singles and some remixes for other musicians, so I think in my life said I have over seventy tracks over seventy professionally finished tracks in the last four years like that's a lot right? And doing that, I've learned a lot about my process howto quickly developed this music and how to really stay on task and that's the big difference between someone who's, a pervasive, very out there musician and someone who never quite gets there. It's it's mainly how you use your time and how you know your process to be efficient and creative and that's what we're going to go over. So maybe in two years time, you're gonna have like sixty professional tracks all finished and it's just a quick little overview to give you an idea of my process, and we're gonna go into this more. But when I did my last album tides a twilight, that the full length album that came out like two years ago or a year ago actually sat down, and I tracked my time to figure out how I was developing my music and the way in which I progressed my music and we've got this little, uh it's kind of like gold, greenish color here the sketches and sketches are just kind of like an idea that I come up with, and then we've got the orange one being compositions, so these air ideas and building out more and more, and then I have the pink one being mixed downs or or or songs I'm actually completing, and you'll see that within a few months of going through this album, I started with a lot of sketches, and then while I was developing mohr sketches, I was finishing compositions than finishing maur, compositions and sketches while finishing tracks and so on. She can kind of see, as the album was developing, that I was simultaneously coming up with new ideas as well as finishing old ideas and using that type of work flow of continuing to build out the music helped me come out with a ten track album, and another thing I want to point out here is I also had something like twenty tracks that never made it so it's, you know, tohave mps and albums out things like that, you've got to constantly be making this music and developing and working on it because only a small percentage of your actually finished tracks will even make it on on your on your releases, so now let's, look at the scope of the class. And here I'm going to talk about what we're going to go through all the different steps and then a little bit about what we're not going to go through. So in this classroom, to talk about the steps of music creation, I'm going to go through step by step, my process and what I found to be the most efficient and easy way of finishing a track, going to go over preparing your mental and physical space. This is more about just creativity. In general, I'm really taking a wide approach, because if you go online mind, you can find all sorts of specific videos on one specific aspect of live for song writing, but it's harder to find a well rounded, bigger view of the process and then going down from that point to finishing a track. So that's, what about preparing your mental and physical space? They were going to talk about creating alive template will be about getting your workflow ready to co so you can actually produce quickly and then organizing your samples, thie ever sexy and fun file management, and then we're going to go into quickly creating sketches, building out those ideas, developing compositions from those sketches and this fun thing called generative music, which is music that kind of makes itself for ideas to kind of, uh go through and cole through these random ideas to come up with new ideas that you might not have had before and then advance song writing tips its walls were gonna have a little more file management mixed in there as we go right so let's get to this all right and just as an example I'm going to show you this life set and I don't really have time tio first thing build out all these different sketches and ideas but I'm just going to quickly show you how using able to live if I have a bunch of samples already that I can quickly come up with ideas and build out compositions so each one of these are clips I'm not going to go deeply into all the aspects of able to life this is kind of you should know a little bit about live when we're moving through this I'm not going to go into the different wort modes and all those specific stuff I think they already have a course on creative life for that but this is going to be building these ideas once you know live what do you do with it right so these are different clips and I can just go through here and I can play different clips and you're just beginning to build the song right and I have this little controller here the a p c twenty five and on this controller it's basically just showing the the thief different clips on here and I can click him and I'm just gonna hit record on this just give you some ideas later so I could bring in different parts take parts away and very fast way of creating a unique track shit down in here you can see like I'm just building ideas and I could come on hear its call non menu composition just going to pause that in the way that I could just keep playing with this, I can you can go on luke masters and download a bunch of samples and just play with the ideas and we're goingto go deeper into this, but if I just have over into my arrangement view everything I did, I recorded so it's right here and I can start editing this out and very quickly come up with ideas and build this more and more and more granted in this course I'm going to talk about coming up with those ideas writing new maybe it's writing new parts so that you can start developing those cells and and play those cells perform it bill that no composition build out the composition bigger, bigger bowl till you have a finished track right? That was just to give you a little taste, especially if you don't know able to live how quickly and powerful it is too uh tree the little clips and get going right now let's move into the song writing process and through my music production I have learned the wide range of what's possible like you can you can spend forever on one little aspect and get completely lost or you can start building an idea and then halfway through building the track realize oh, I don't even have a good beat like my foundation is terrible so when I first started making music I found that I spent an immense time working on the track I would sit down and come off the day like today I'm going to write a track I'm gonna finish it I'm just gonna get going like no one's gonna stop me I'm gonna have a track by the end of the day we'll first well that's a terrible way to get going but I did it on I would sit down and be like, all right, I'm writing a baseline I'm running this baseline it's pretty good cool I'm gonna gonna add a little beat so here's some bead I'm liking where that's going well now I don't like the baseline so I'm going to change the baseline happen now it's got a different swing from the beets will change the beat now adam melody and before I knew it I was swapping pieces in and out but a time the track was done I had gone through four tracks granted, they weren't very good tracks and the fourth track was pretty good and something I could you know send out but I found that I was just why was I wasting my time? Another great example is mixing like getting the of the base just write three elements later well, that doesn't even matter now because it's a completely different sonic palette so I need to change the cue and I was just going back and forth back and forth so when we look at this hopefully even just this idea if you could move this into your production is going to help you a lot it's going to help you understand the movement of your tracks and how to go from just a concept to something finished I'm gonna quickly review this, then go over what parts were going to go over in this class. We've got these different stages, right? We got stage zero and I called stage zero because it's not actually music it's maur, life and personal stuff and and your concepts that you're trying to bring out to the world and this is when you're building ideas like what do you want your music to be? What do you want to express? What is the creative imagery around your music? Like maybe you have a very specific space that you're playing for or a certain crowd or certain feeling you're trying to produce right, that's all here and then you create the feel in the mood, the intention around the music, what you're trying to make and also I just throwing their your life is in order because, like, if you're getting evicted from your house and you need to finish doing your taxes, which I need to do and all this stuff it's going to be really hard to get creative, so having some of your life in order is goingto help you a lot just naturally feel creative. I'll also say sometimes we use art to get away from our normal life, so maybe sometimes the stress helps but just try to get your life in order will help, then we move over to stage one, which is when we really start preparing for music. This is pre production. This is where we create tools, build effects, ideas, instruments. We experiment with new concepts. We also creates our library of beets and other production material. Then we move over into sketches. This is where we lay down ideas quick, concept's built basic melodies, something I called rhythmic seeds and create a lot of unfinished ideas that we can build on it's kind of like drawing a sketch or writing an outline to a book or something, you know, having that outlines going to make it a lot easier to develop it later on then we move into composition this is where we expand the sketch we build out new parts we build out new beats, new melodies things like that then the fourth is mixing this is where we start getting the parts to sound good to each other and then having a final uh track right this is getting the levels correct getting the volume and then stage five is mastering how do we make sure that this track sounds good on every speaker the final polish is mastering now the last class I did hear a creative live was mixing right and it was all about getting those parts to fit well together that's not what we're going to go over here what we're going over in this class is things before it so these four things the concept the pre production, the sketches and the composition and we're going to go over some basic overviews of those different parts the steps needed throughout those different aspects of your music creation and we're not going to go super deep into things like compositional fairy I mean that's like a college course but we're going to give you some really good beginning information and good ideas in your composition your sketches, your production all with unable to live right? But we're going to end around composition that's when you're having a finished track we're not going to go in and mixing that's that's another courts we have on here

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.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Caribbean Drum Beats

Concept Music Guide

Creating Stem

Drum Loops

Fast Songwriting Example Files

Future Step MIDI Patterns

Hip Hop Beats 60-100 bpm


Production Template v3

Scale MIDI Presets

Scale Refrences

Sharing Live Sets

Fast Songwriting in Ableton Live - Syllabus

Isaac Cotec - Scale Refrences.alp

Isaac Cotec - Scale Refrences.alp

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

Related Classes


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!