Academic Catalog


Foothill College Course Outline of Record

Foothill College Course Outline of Record
Heading Value
Effective Term: Summer 2021
Units: 4
Hours: 3 lecture, 3 laboratory per week (72 total per quarter)
Advisory: Not open to students with credit in MUS 66E.
Degree & Credit Status: Degree-Applicable Credit Course
Foothill GE: Non-GE
Transferable: CSU
Grade Type: Letter Grade (Request for Pass/No Pass)
Repeatability: Not Repeatable


Producing music with Ableton Live software. Compose, record, mix, improvise, produce and edit music. Study Ableton Live interface, edit audio, use plug-ins, MIDI sequencing and realtime mixing techniques. Compile live sets from audio clips, loops, samples in realtime and create songs in a variety of styles.

Course Objectives

The student will be able to:
A. Explain the components of Ableton Live software.
B. Analyze the aesthetics of contemporary music production parameters.
C. Navigate the Live interface, windows and view options.
D. Create MIDI sequences and edit MIDi clips.
E. Arrange songs and identify song structures in the Live edit windows.
F. Insert effects on return tracks.
G. Create an original music production with synthesizers and samplers.

Course Content

A. Setting up Ableton Live.
1. Audio preferences.
2. MIDi preferences.
3. Optimizing performance with peripheral equipment.
B. Session Views.
1. Live browsers.
2. Live clips.
3. Working with scenes and clip properties.
C. File management.
1. Building Live Sets and projects.
2. Importing and exporting Live Packs.
3. Searching for and auditioning clips.
4. Setting up frequently accessed directories.
D. Recording and editing MIDI.
1. Preparing to record MIDI.
2. Recording and overdubbing MIDI.
3. Working with alternative MIDI entry methods.
4. Using multiple output virtual instruments.
E. Recording and arranging audio.
1. Preparing to record.
2. Recording in Arrangement View.
3. Recording in Session View.
4. Reworking clips.
5. The mixer.
F. Using Ableton Live in live performance.
1. Preparing audio clips with the warp tool.
2. Triggering clips with actions.
3. Using Live as a sound source.

Lab Content

1. Implementation and drivers.
2. Velocity and aftertouch.
3. Multiple routing assignments.
B. Virtual instruments.
1. Layering.
2. Volume matching.
3. Panning.
C. Audio.
1. Tempo matching.
2. Warping.
D. ReWire.
1. ReWiring secondary applications via insert tracks and bus assignments.
2. Plug-in applications using internal busses affecting external applications.

Special Facilities and/or Equipment

A. When taught on campus:
1. 30 Macintosh computers, MIDI keyboards and MIDI interfaces.
2. Video projector and screen.
3. 30 Ableton Live software installs.
B. When taught via Foothill Global Access:
1. on-going access to computer with email software and capabilities.
2. Email address.
3. JavaScript enabled internet browsing software.

Method(s) of Evaluation

Methods of Evaluation may include but are not limited to the following:

Graded lab assignments in the operation of the Ableton sequencers
Tests and problem solving activities using MIDI sequences
Preparing advanced digital sequences to an industry standard from a set of specifications for application in a MIDI environment, and evaluated from those specifications
A graded final project that demonstrates acquired skill in creating and mixing a master audio file and producing MP3 copies to an industry standard

Method(s) of Instruction

Methods of Instruction may include but are not limited to the following:

Lecture presentations and classroom discussion of the techniques for producing audio in Ableton Live
In-class viewing of Ableton Live projects followed by instructor-guided interpretation and analysis
Presentations of major music and post-production projects followed by in-class discussion and evaluation
Demonstration of techniques for recording. editing, and mixing audio in Ableton Live

Representative Text(s) and Other Materials

Kuehnl, Eric. Ableton Live 101. 2019.

Types and/or Examples of Required Reading, Writing, and Outside of Class Assignments

A. Written critiques and analyses of audio production projects including albums, soundtracks, television, video games and internet multimedia.
B. Written summaries documenting technical and artistic elements for corresponding submitted assignments and audio projects.
C. Written proposals, session logs, learning outcomes and reflections supporting submitted musical works and final master recordings.


Commercial Music