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Length
9 Sessions (adaptive)
Price
Free
Premium ($10 USD / Month)
Program ($600 USD)
Institution
California Institute of the Arts
Subject
Music, Music Technology
Skill Level
Beginner
Video Transcripts
English
Topics
Ableton, Digital Audio Workstation, Sampling, Sound Design, Production, Mixing
Course Description

This course provides hands-on experience in producing, mixing, and sound design with a digital audio workstation. Students will learn the fundamentals (physics) of sound and digital audio, proper gain staging, where and how distortion enters recordings and mixes, how to set levels and panning, effective sub group mixing, and an introduction to signal processing such as equalization, compression, delay, and reverb. In addition to core audio and mixing concepts, students will learn various production techniques, such as sequencing, arranging, automation, using virtual instruments (e.g. synths, samplers, and drum machine plugins), working with MIDI, plugin formats such as VST/Audio-Units, and mapping digital USB controllers for the studio and live performance.

The material covered in this course will range from the foundations of producing music and sound design, to more advanced topics such as Ableton "racks" (Audio Effect Racks, MIDI Effect Racks, Instrument Racks, and Drum Racks), multi-band effects processing, advanced modulation, warping, time-stretching, and mangling audio, as well as taking advantage of Live's audio analysis tools for extracting grooves, melody, harmony, and drums from recorded sound.

schedule

This course is in Adaptive mode, and is open for enrollment. Learn more about Adaptive courses here.

Session 1: Introduction to Ableton Live
This session will cover the fundamentals of Ableton Live, including Live Sets and Projects, tracks, clips, the Session View, the Arrangement View, exporting audio, and more.
Session 2: The Nature of Sound
This session will cover the basic properties (physics) of sound, an introduction to digital audio theory, and gain staging.
Session 3: Levels and Panning
This session will cover the fundamentals of setting up a basic mix, including balancing levels, placing sounds in the stereo field, and mixing into pink noise.
Session 4: Sculpting Frequencies: Equalization
This session will cover using EQ to shape your sounds and mixes. Learn about the different types of EQs (3-band, Graphic, and Parametric) and how to use them on different sounds, using EQs for dramatic effect, as well as creating dynamic EQs.
Session 5: Reverb and Space
Learn about natural and analog reverb, sound reflections and absorption, and how to use Live's powerful digital 'verb to bring a sense of space and depth to your tracks. Additional lessons in using reverb for sound design and FX will be covered.
Session 6: Compression and Dynamics
This session will cover everything you need to know about dynamics processing and using compression to produce punchy mixes. Topics include an overview of how compression works using Ableton's "Compressor", buss compression with the "Glue" compressor, Parallel/NY compression, multiband compression with the "Multiband Dynamics" compressor, and Side-chain compression.
Session 7: Slicing and Dicing: Sampling in Live
This session will cover the foundations of sampling from a historical perspective (Musique Concrete to Hip Hop), and practical use of samplers and sampling including using Live's Simpler and Sampler devices for synthesis and sound design, chopping up drum breaks, etc.
Session 8: Parallel Signal Processing: Ableton Racks
This session will cover using Audio Effect Racks, MIDI Effect Racks, Instrument Racks, and advanced Drum Rack configuration for a wide range of applications including: dynamic audio effects, custom arpeggiators, multiband effect processing, and more.
Session 9: Inside/Outside: Advanced MIDI, Syncing Laptops, Mapping Strategies, and Audio Analysis
This session will cover a wide range of advanced production techniques including a deeper understanding of the MIDI protocol, syncing multiple Live sessions on different computers via a standard computer network (WIFI/Ethernet), mapping strategies for live performance, as well as advanced audio analysis in Live (extracting "grooves" from audio, and converting melody, harmony, and drums from audio-to-MIDI).
Learning Outcomes

Below you will find an overview of the Learning Outcomes you will achieve as you complete this course.

Grading Policy
Course Great Breakdown Chart
Total: 100.00%

Coursework Grading Policy
The most important objective is for students to gain an understanding of the concepts taught, and to be able to apply those ideas in their own work. With this in mind, it is our hope that the coursework is seen as an opportunity to further the understanding of the concepts taught in class, while the quizzes and tests should be a way for students to gauge what they need to focus on.

More on assignments and grading:

  • For tests, you are allowed one (1) attempt each. Make sure to study before you take each test.
  • You are permitted up to three chances at at submitting the right answer in every in-video quiz question. Note results of in-video quizzes do not count towards your course grade.
  • For Premium members: To receive a Course Accomplishment, you must score at least 70% overall in the class.

This course requires a total of approximately 100 hours of work, including both lectures and independent student learning time.

Plagiarism: Plagiarism is the use of ideas and/or quotations (from the Internet, books, films, television, newspapers, articles, the work of other students, works of art, media, etc.) without proper credit to the author/artist. While the argument in a paper can be enhanced by research, students are cautioned to delineate clearly their own original ideas from source material. Students should introduce source material (either quoted or paraphrased); note when the source material ends; and provide citations for source materials using standard documentation formats. According to CalArts policy, students who misrepresent source material as their own original work and fail to credit it have committed plagiarism and are subject to disciplinary action.

We learn by doing our own work, and by collaborating with other students. Discussing course content and assignments with your peers is an important and helpful way to deepen your learning. However, encouraging others to copy your homework and submit it as their own is a form of cheating. So please don't post your completed assignments or correct answers to quizzes, tests, or other assessments to the discussion forums or in repositories outside of Kadenze.

Certificates
Whenever you complete a course as a premium member, you can earn a verified Certificate of Accomplishment .

This course is also part of the Program: Foundations of Music Technology. Earn a verified Specialist Certificate for successfully completing a Program.

These certificates are proof that you completed an online course on our platform and can easily be shared with its unique link.

Credit Elligible Program
This course is one of 4 courses in the Foundations of Music Technology Program and is offered for credits from California Institute of the Arts.

Earn a verified Specialist Certificate after successfully completing a Program. And whenever you complete a course as a Premium member, you earn a verified Certificate of Accomplishment . These certificates are proof that you completed an online course on our platform and can easily be shared with its unique link.

Instructors & Guests
What You Need to Take This Course

• Equipment: Computer with installation privileges

• Software: Ableton Live (Discounts available for premium members including $70 off Standard, $100 off Suite, and $100 off Push. Please see Course Resources for more information.)

Additional Information

PLEASE NOTE: Taking part in a Kadenze course as a Premium Member, does not affirm that the student has been enrolled or accepted for enrollment by California Institute of the Arts.

Peer Assessment Code of Conduct: Part of what makes Kadenze a great place to learn is our community of students. While you are completing your Peer Assessments, we ask that you help us maintain the quality of our community. Please:

  • Be Polite. Show your fellow students courtesy. No one wants to feel attacked - ever. For this reason, insults, condescension, or abuse will not be tolerated.
  • Show Respect. Kadenze is a global community. Our students are from many different cultures and backgrounds. Please be patient, kind, and open-minded when discussing topics such as race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or other potentially controversial subjects.
  • Post Appropriate Content. We believe that expression is a human right and we would never censor our students. With that in mind, please be sensitive of what you post in a Peer Assessment. Only post content where and when it is appropriate to do so.

Please understand that posts which violate this Code of Conduct harm our community and may be deleted or made invisible to other students by course moderators. Students who repeatedly break these rules may be removed from the course and/or may lose access to Kadenze.

Students with Disabilities: Students who have documented disabilities and who want to request accommodations should refer to the student help article via the Kadenze support center. Kadenze is committed to making sure that our site is accessible to everyone. Configure your accessibility settings in your Kadenze Account Settings.

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