Over the years I’ve created lots of Live tutorials here on Sonic Bloom. This includes a sizeable amount of tutorials for beginners. By now you can find more than 180 Live tutorials for beginners, intermediate or advanced users on this website. Part as written tutorials, more as videos. Thus finding the right ones might be a bit tricky, especially if you don’t know the correct terminology. If you’re just getting started with Ableton Live and perhaps even music production with a computer, then the things you need to figure out can be quite overwhelming. So I thought it might be useful to pool all the tutorials that can make it easier for beginners into one post.
The first step after having Ableton Live installed is making sure you can hear what you’re doing. For this, you need to set up the audio. It’s not difficult when you know what to do. I’ve created separate tutorials depending on the type of computer you’re using.
Ableton Live Tutorial: Audio setup (Windows)
Ableton Live Tutorial: Audio setup (Mac)
MIDI Setup and Troubleshooting
Most people end up working predominantly with MIDI tracks. If you have a MIDI controller, I’ve got a step by step tutorial to help you get whatever MIDI controller or MIDI keyboard you have available. If you don’t have a controller, scroll down a bit. There’s a solution for you as well.
Ableton Live Tutorial: How to set up your MIDI controller (written step-by-step tutorial)
Some controllers require the installation of a so called MIDI remote script, also called Control Surface in Ableton Live. It’s not necessary for most though. This is most often the case if you’ve chosen a less common and more boutique controller. No need to worry though, it’s easy to do and I’ve got a tutorial for this as well.
Ableton Live Tutorial: How to Install MIDI Remote Scripts
If you don’t have a MIDI controller, Live has a built in option to use your computer keyboard for this purpose.
Ableton Live Tutorial: The Computer Keyboard as a MIDI Controller (written step-by-step tutorial)
Sometimes despite your best efforts, issues with MIDI controllers (or also hardware like synths and drum machines) can arise. In this case, it’s good to know how to figure out where the problem lies. For this reason I’ve also written a tutorial that helps you troubleshoot any MIDI problems.
Ableton Live Insider Tips: Troubleshooting MIDI
Setting Up Plugins
If you’ve already worked with other DAWs you may already have plugins. These can also be used in Ableton Live, but they have to be set up first.
Ableton Live Tutorial: Setting up Plug-ins
Understanding Session and Arrangement View and How They Interact
The one thing that made a big splash when Ableton Live 1 was released was the Session View. Other DAWs only had what is called the Arrangement View in Live. When I got started with Live, I found these two views and how they interacted quite confusing at first. When doing tech support for Ableton as well as in my years of teaching Live, I noticed that this was quite common for most other beginners as well. Thus I wrote a tutorial that clarifies what each view is for and how they’re connected with each other or not.
Ableton Live 9-11 Tutorial: Session View vs. Arrangement View
So now that you’ve done all the necessary setups in Ableton Live and have an understanding of Session and Arrangement View, you will want to start recording things and building your own tracks or songs. The following tutorials will show you how you can record MIDI and audio clips, as well as how to record from the Session into the Arrangement View.
Ableton Live 9-11 Tutorial: Recording MIDI
Ableton Live 9-11 Tutorial: Recording Audio
Ableton Live Tutorial: Recording from Session View into Arrangement View
Once you’ve got a first track roughly produced you probably want to export the audio from it, so what you’ve created can be played outside of Ableton Live. Say, on different speakers or in your car to check how it sounds. Exporting can create uncompressed audio like WAV and AIFF or the standard compressed form of MP3.
Ableton Live 10-11 Tutorial: Exporting Audio
Saving, File Formats & Backup
Last, but not least, I’ve got four tutorials for you that should make working with Ableton Live and its various file formats easier and avoid losing any of your precious files.
Save Ableton Live Projects The Right Way
Ableton Live Tutorial: How to avoid missing samples
The Guide to Ableton Live File Formats
Backing Up Ableton Live Projects
Once you’ve mastered the basics in Ableton Live, it can also be useful to learn lots of small tips and tricks. All the shortcuts that will increase your workflow. Hidden gems in the pretty complex software and more. You can find all my Ableton Live tutorials here. I also have two long running video tutorial series: the Ableton Live Quick Tips with lots of short videos that show you handy things, and the Ableton Insider Tips that show you things a lot of people using Live even for years might not have found out.
If you need help with something or would prefer dedicated support, you’re also welcome to get in touch for Zoom lessons.
Let me know if you have any comments. Questions or suggestions what you feel is missing in this list of tutorials or where you keep getting stuck are all welcome in the comment section below.