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Songwriting Masterclass In Ableton Live Or Any Audio Application
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3h 51m
J Anthony
J Anthony

Learn the basics of songwriting, creating a sound palette, sketching a song, sound design elements, mixing, and mastering.

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Course Skill Level
Time Estimate
3h 51m


J Anthony
J Anthony

Jason Allen is a PhD in music, and was recently named one of the semi-finalists for the Grammy Foundations "Music Educator" award.

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About This Course

Who this course is for:

  • Aspiring Songwriters: If you have never written a song before, but you want to learn how it’s done, this course is for you.
  • Songwriters: If you are a traditional songwriter, but want to expand your palette by using electronic elements, or just help recording your songs, this course is for you.
  • Musicians: If you have wanted to improve your compositions by understanding how the writing with audio software works, this course is for you.
  • Producers: Improve your tracks by gaining a deeper understanding of form, sketching, structure, and development.

What you’ll learn: 

  • How to craft songs using audio software as your main tool
  • Using MIDI for composition and songwriting
  • Creating a sound “palette”
  • Sketching your song
  • Defining the form of the song
  • Lyrics and vocals
  • Drum programming
  • Sound design elements
  • Adding in real instruments (recording)
  • Mixing
  • Mastering


  • Students should have a desire to write great songs, and access to a computer with any audio sequencing software (DAW).
  • The ability to record instruments is not required, although it will be discussed and demonstrated in the class.

Software version used in the course: 

  • This course is NOT specific to any DAW program.
  • I’ll be using Ableton Live Suite 10 in this course as my main DAW, but if you are using any other program you will be able to follow along just fine. That includes Logic, FL Studio, Pro Tools, Reaper, Reason, Cubase, or any of the others. My method in this class is to teach concepts, so whatever I do, you will be able to do it in your own software.

Welcome to Songwriting in Ableton Live (Or Any Audio Application!)

This course is “5-Star Certified” by the International Association of Online Music Educators and Institutions (IAOMEI). This course has been independently reviewed by a panel of experts and has received a stellar 5-star rating.

In this class, we are going to write a song together. We will start with just messing around on the keyboard until we find an idea, then we will work on the song structure, form, sound design, and end with mixing it and a discussion about mastering the track. Beginning to end – step by step!

In this class, we start with the very basics of songwriting and work all the way up to a finished song. I’ll walk you through every step of the process and explain the logic behind every decision I make.

The goal of this class is for you to learn how to make original, compelling, and memorable sounding music.

I’m best known for working with electronic music, but I’ve designed this course to be as inclusive as possible when it comes to genre. We will talk about songwriting techniques for all genres, sounds, and styles. All genres are welcome here!

Our Promise to You

By the end of this course, you will have learned how to write your own track from start to finish.

10 Day Money Back Guarantee. If you are unsatisfied for any reason, simply contact us and we’ll give you a full refund. No questions asked.

Get started today and learn more about songwriting.

Course Curriculum

Section 1 - Introduction And Overview
Introduction 00:00:00
What We Are Covering Here 00:00:00
Tools You Will Need For This Class 00:00:00
My Approach In This Class 00:00:00
Section 2 - Working With MIDI
How MIDI Works 00:00:00
Why MIDI? 00:00:00
MIDI Setup In Live 00:00:00
MIDI Controllers 00:00:00
Using The MIDI Grid 00:00:00
Making It “Real” 00:00:00
Overdubbing Real Instruments 00:00:00
Section 3 - Defining Your Palette
What Is A Songwriting Palette? 00:00:00
Building A Library Of Samples 00:00:00
Building A Library Of Drum Sounds And Loops 00:00:00
Building A Library Of Synths 00:00:00
Setting “Favorites” 00:00:00
Building A Template Session 00:00:00
Section 4 - Sketching
What Is A Sketch? 00:00:00
Example Sketch 00:00:00
Developing The Sketch 00:00:00
Try This In Session View! 00:00:00
Expanding The Sketch 00:00:00
“Don’t Fall In Love With Your Work!” 00:00:00
Section 5 - Defining Form
Starting To Bring The Track Into Focus 00:00:00
Using Locators For Form 00:00:00
Don’t Get Married To The Form. Let It Take On A Mind Of Its Own. 00:00:00
Section 6 - Taking Stock: What We Have So Far
How Is Our Track Coming So Far? 00:00:00
Preparing For The Second Stage 00:00:00
Thinking About Sound Design 00:00:00
Track Update 00:00:00
Section 7 - Lyrics
Thinking About Lyrics 00:00:00
What Is The Message Of The Music? 00:00:00
What Clues Are In The Music? 00:00:00
Do You Need To Adjust The Key For The Singer? 00:00:00
Section 8 - Drum Programming
What Kind Of Drum Sounds Do We Want? 00:00:00
Finding Drum Sounds 00:00:00
Freesound 00:00:00
Programming Basics 00:00:00
Swing And Feel 00:00:00
Section 9 - Synths: Sound Design Elements
Let’s Really Focus In On Those Synths 00:00:00
Register And Frequency Things To Consider 00:00:00
The Bass Sounds 00:00:00
Section 10 - Adding In Some Real Instruments
Fixing “Real” Sounds 00:00:00
Making The Samples Sound Better 00:00:00
Setting Up To Record 00:00:00
Recording Violin 00:00:00
Editing For Pitch 00:00:00
Section 11 - Mixing The Track
Mixing Principals 00:00:00
Balancing By Ear 00:00:00
Balancing By Noise 00:00:00
Fine Tuning 00:00:00
Creating Depth 00:00:00
Creating Space With EQ 00:00:00
Re-Balancing 00:00:00
Section 12 - Mastering
What Actually Is Mastering? 00:00:00
The Best And Easiest Way To Master A Track 00:00:00
Using A Rack Preset 00:00:00
“Printing” The Master 00:00:00
Section 13 - Wrap Up
What Comes Next? 00:00:00
Thanks For Watching! 00:00:00