Portland Ableton Live Lessons

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Learn electronic music in inner SE Portland

Software agnostic (and hardware agnostic) electronic music lessons

Beat programming & classical fundamentals of music as applied to multiple programs, software
Ableton Live instructor and Reason beatmaking and hip hop lessons in Portland Oregon
Ableton Live instructor and Reason beatmaking and hip hop lessons in Portland Oregon

The Difficulty with Electronic Musicians and Lessons: Electronic musicians and rap and hip-hop beatmakers often lack training and the patience to sit through irrelevant jazz or classical lessons in order to better themselves as a player. Electronic and hip-hop music are a fusion of styles; it’s very difficult to teach proper theory, as it’s somewhat of a reverse engineering. The most important element in creating electronic music is having a classical understanding of rhythm. Once that’s achieved, the Ableton interface can be explained and understood.Prerequisites: Lessons in electronic music all begin with the prerequisites, so you don’t need to know anything ahead of time. Prerequisites include Rhythm 101, Rhythm 102 (“Drum Kit Basics,”) Rhythm 103 (“Swing Beats, Straight Beats, Tuplets and Triplets,”), Rhythm 104 (“Step Programming.”) Again, all of this is included with electronic music lessons and Ableton lessons. (Reason and other software lessons are also available).

Topics Covered: Music theory and fundamentals of rhythm, chords, and intervals are combined with basic MIDI mapping, Ableton scene and clip creation and launching, MIDI editing, Ableton follow actions, using Ableton controllers, and using the ReWire protocol to use Ableton with your DAW (“Digital Audio Workstation”) software. DAW software can include Pro Tools, Cakewalk/Sonar, Cubase, Logic, and at times, GarageBand.

Music Theory: Key signatures and sight-reading music notation is available, but most electronic musicians prefer simplified and easy-to-use music theory for use over dance beats. Playing in key. Scales, modes; chordal theory and rhythms. Intervals, and interval-related ear training.  For vocalists of any sort and age, a capella interval vocalization and creative improvisational composition is encouraged – and possible.

Material and Application: You pick the music. I prefer that you compose and write your own music.

Instructor notes: You need to have the software already loaded on your machine. If you need a copy of educational software, please contact me directly at squirrel at whirlingsquirrel dot com (email). No question is too silly – so ask!

You Should Bring: Your computer, your computer’s batter charger!, and your friends/parents. I don’t care if you bring your lesson papers back. I prefer that you know the material and leave the papers at home. When we are learning what we love, we memorize it better. That’s why students of all ages guide their own lessons.

Equipment List:

@ Whirling Squirrel Music in inner SE PDX (Division St):
• Ableton Live :: Pro Tools :: Logic :: Reason :: Recycle :: Audacity :: GarageBand ::
any software you bring
• MIDI controllers (weighted key digital piano) :: Korg sequencer/drum machine
• solid body and hollowbody electric guitars, amps, basses & amps, mandolins, ukuleles
• MacBook Pro & iPod dock (other mp3 players welcome too), 4G wifi

@ Machina Studios in outer PDX:
• Ableton Live :: Pro Tools :: Logic :: Reason :: Recycle :: Audacity :: GarageBand :: Sonar :: Fruity Loops :: Acid :: much more ::
any software you bring
• Roland RD-170 88 key weighted digital piano & 1978 Roland MP600 analog keyboard
• 1986 Juno 106 Analog Synthesizer
• 2011 Moog Little Phatty Analog Synthesizer (CV + midi)
• Gibson Les Paul; Jackson Randy Rhoades Flying V white
• Atari synthcart synthesizer; Korg Kaoss pad
• Akai MPC1000 drum machine & sampler with jjos jjos operating system
• Marshall amplifiers
• 27″ iMac; Pro Tools 12 track studio with Digi Command 8 & Focusrite Octopre
• Blue brand microphones blue mouse & blue kickball; SM57’s, SM58’s, various mics
• Vaulted ceilings; 2 isolation booths with windows; control bay with window

-Amanda Machinasquirrel at whirling squirrel dot com

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4 thoughts on “Portland Ableton Live Lessons”

  1. Do you teach Ableton Live V. 8? Are you an Ableton certified
    Instructor? I have some experience and know the basic
    functionality of Ableton, but need some help.


    1. Hey Phillip,

      Yes, I do. I haven’t taken the time to become a certified instructor. For a Portland Oregon Ableton Live Certified Instructor, please contact Jeremy Highhouse of Carson Labs. Here is his info:


      My recommendation is to try lessons with both instructors and see who fits your style more. Give Jeremy a call!
      (I deleted your phone# from the comment).


      email: squirrel at whirlingsquirrel.com

  2. Are you able to give lessons at another location?
    For example, in Beaverton.

    I would be interested in paying for classes where the instructor
    held the class at my workplace or home. I would be able to add
    a travel compensation gratuity for certain, and pay in advance.


    1. Hi Arthur,

      Good question. Nope, I don’t travel to people. I have so many students that I cannot leave where I teach, or I would miss appointments. Less experienced teachers tend to travel to you; I used to do that about 10, 11 years ago.


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