How to use Ableton Live in a Live Setting

Part of the thrill of being a live DJ is seeing how the crowd reacts to your music, whether you’re bringing them up or dropping them down. It could be a small underground club or a 5,000 capacity venue – it’s just you, your audience, and your music.

A listless performance can cast a pall over the crowd, sending them back to the bar. During that live performance, an empty dance floor is a solid indication you’ve got some things to work on. Hopefully, if you’ve scored a few gigs, you already have a great sound and an impressed a booking agent wanting to book you to play clubs, venues, and festivals.

Make Ableton your digital audio workstation (DAW) of choice and you’ll be able to perform a few dry runs of your show, make changes, and work on your technique. With the software’s intuitive setup you can import loops, set up your instruments, and queue samples for smooth implementation.

The beauty of the DAW is you’re able to bring in everything you need with just a laptop and your Ableton Push, if you so choose. If the venue already has a sound system in place and all of the hardware you need, all you’ll need is your DAW, your gigs of sounds and music, and sufficient time to test out the house gear. Then it’s showtime.

Using Ableton Live

As one of the most popular digital audio workstations, Ableton Live is used around the globe by luminaries Skrillex, Diplo, and Deadmau5. Made for work in the studio as well as live shows, with Ableton Live, you’ll be able to set up playlists, create sick transitions, and remix on the fly.

Something to keep in mind during any live show: Don’t try something new for the first time on stage. If the dance floor is really vibe-ing on what you’re offering, that’s not the time to try and pull in a sample from the library or work in a plug-in that hasn’t been fully vetted.

Prepare live shows well ahead of time to make sure everything works as it should. It’s great to drop a new technique on an unsuspecting crowd, but not if the show goes dark. Sure, adhering to this might stifle your on-the-spot creativity, but it will help ensure that you don’t bum out the crowd and that those bookings will keep on coming in.

Don’t Bore Us, Get to the Chorus

This has been a popular adage in the music industry for at least 40 years. It means to give the people what they want when they want it. In today’s rock, pop, or hip hop worlds, getting to the chorus in the first 45 seconds is strongly recommended.

The same can be said for electronic dance music. Whether you ease them in, or hit them in the face at the start, give ‘em what they came for.

Understandably, in your evolution as an artist, DJ, and performer, there will be times when you’ll want to move on from a certain sound, or a certain song in your repertoire. Remember, if you’re developing a fan base, keeping them happy and engaged is a critical component to your success.

So, if the attendees at that festival you’re playing are shouting out one of your popular songs, or if that song is getting mentioned heavily on social media, make sure you give your peeps what they’ve been waiting for.

Want to gauge people’s reactions to your newer stuff? Try out those songs and sounds in smaller venues to get a feel for peoples’ reactions. When playing to a large crowd in a live festival or club setting, your objective is to get people on the floor ASAP.

You set the tone, you set the beat, you feed off their energy and answer accordingly by reading the crowd. Feel free to weave in new sounds but make sure you can bring everyone back with a bass or hook if they start to drift.

Learn Ableton from the Pro

To make the most of your live sets, it’s important to understand everything Ableton Live is capable of doing for you as a DJ. That’s where Recording Connection can help. By placing you with a mentor inside of a professional studio, you can learn to use Ableton to the fullest.

In addition to the software, the Recording Connection Ableton and Advanced Ableton Electronic Music Production Programs will show you how to make the most of any hardware you plan on using. With one-on-one mentorship, you can learn how to set up the gear you want to use and you can learn how to get the sound you’re going after.

In addition to the Ableton courses, we also offer a Live DJ Program. Switching tempos on the fly, combining loops, and even stage presence are covered. All of it happens under the watchful eye of an industry insider who’s been there, done it themselves. Most importantly, your mentor can help you make those connections that can’t be made at a university or trade school.

Ready to make your mark on local clubs – and beyond? If you have the drive, work ethic, and responsibility to see our six to nine-month program through, you can get the skills you need to create music that moves people and expands your reach. It’s up to you. Start by applying to Recording Connection today and get ready to build the creative, fulfilling career you want to have.

Get your music production certification and build your music production and audio engineering skills by learning with an industry professional near you.