Finished – My first attempt at doing something in Ableton Live

Finally finished my first attempt at doing something in Ableton Live. Please excuse my singing! While it is not really quality music, throughout the course of this project, I have learnt alot about the workflow of Ableton Live, was able to familiarise myself with the interface and also increase my knowledge of DAWs in general. I anticipate this is something that I’ll pick up again sometime in the near future out of personal interest.


(12.11.13) (Digital Creative Project) Video Project Log #1

A video log detailing some of the processes I used to get to the point that I am at now with the project. I began attempting to learn Ableton Live 9 on 03.11.13 and began the final version of my assessment yesterday on the 10.11.13.

To re-iterate, my negotiated assessment item is to create a cover of a song or original piece of music using Ableton Live. I have little experience in sequencers or DAWs up until this point.

11.11.13 (Digital Creative Project) – Reflection and Log

Zoom H4N, Audio Kontrol 1, Kawai MP5 … and the Ableton Live 9 Trial. What I’ll be using for my project. My experience only ever extends to very simple audio recording for a single instrument, and zero MIDI stuff, so this should be exciting.


It occurred to me while using Ableton Live on my laptop the past week that there is so much that can be done, even on the fly within a laptop, without an audio interface or a midi controller. With that in mind though, it’s just so much more refreshing and convenient just to have nice big screen, with an audio interface, keyboard and microphone…. I bought this stuff ages ago to do simple audio recording with, but this will be one of the first times I will utilise the midi functions and controller knobs.

Reflection 10.11.13 (Digital Creative Project)

After a week of fiddling around with Ableton on the train and another full day today, I think I’ve finally gotten my head around the basic features of Ableton. The interface doesn’t seem as scary as I used to find it, and I understand the workflow slightly better. I don’t think I’ll be ready to produce amazing artistic music quite yet, but will pretty soon have an attempt at doing a short cover of Gorillaz’ ‘Feel Good Inc’. It’ll have a pretty different vibe to the original song.

At last week’s master class, George Nicholas mentioned something I thought was pretty interesting: “What is electronic music without white noise?” I experimented with using it as a means of building tension – it sure does add a lot of interest to the mix! I will see if there are other ways I can manipulate it. 

Week 8 / Week 13 – Performance Technologies

In week 8, we looked at the potential future of electronic music in the classroom. Do DJing and electronic music have a viable place in the classroom? If so, how can we argue that they contribute towards a well rounded musical education? More importantly, is it still musical? We addressed some of these points during a class discussion.

James also gave a demonstration of Ableton and Traktor as a performance tool, along with what appeared to be an Ableton Push or similar hardware controller instrument. 

In week 13, Adam Maggs, an experienced Ableton Live trainer, gave us a short class on the main features of Ableton Live, including the session and arrangement views, beat making and live performance within the software. He also discussed the flexibility and viability of Ableton as a teaching tool within the classroom. On the same day, George Nicholas from the electronic music group Seekae gave a masterclass detailing his compositional processes and workflow from the beginning to end using one of his latest works.

Nearing the end of the course, each of us is to partake in a digital creative project of our choice. I will personally be learning to use Ableton Live 9 from scratch, and with only a little sequencer and DAW experience, this will hopefully be a very enlightening experience. I will be posting logs of my progress as I go through with this. 

Week 7: 1-to-1 Computing. The future of modern pedagogy?

Today, we covered the concept of 1 to 1 computing and the future of 1 to 1 computing for education. It is where every student owns a computer, and this could refer to a desktop, laptop, tablet or similar device.

We looked at the different solutions being offered in the market at the moment, particularly the tablet offerings from Apple, Android and Windows. While the gap has lessened, it seems the feasibility of using apple devices such as the iPad is advantageous such that there are more useful applications for the device as compared to its competitors.

The LMS (Learning Management System) as an education tool was also discussed, with many solutions on the market including:

–          Blackboard

–          Moodle

–          Edmodo

–          Schoology

–          OpenClass

Today’s lecture can make us as educators, ask the following questions:

Why is there a push for these devices to be used within the classroom? Should we continue to use traditional pedagogies, or rethink pedagogy to utilise the accessibility of our technologies to maximum benefit?

Week 6 – Instructional Design and Teaching with Technology

In this class, we touched on:

–          Instructional design

–          Various ways of teaching with technology

Some interesting facts and concepts regarding instructional design:

–          The ‘redundancy’ effect:  When on screen text and verbal narration present the exact same information, learning is hindered (related to John Sweller’s ‘cognitive load theory’)

  • While the use of dual modality (use of both visual and auditory stimuli) can be beneficial towards learning, it is only when these are used to complement each other, rather than reiterate each other, that these will interact to produce a positive learning outcome

–           The “F-Shape Pattern”


  • A study has shown that web users read content in a rough f-pattern. This has the implication in which users do not generally read an entire webpage in an exhaustive fashion, but rather tend to read more at the top and left hand side of the document. Also, they generally scan the beginnings of documents for keywords in order to decide where to begin the next branch of their “F”.
  • This can be an important determinant when designing educational material.

–          Flip learning: A method of learning where the student learns the material at home first, perhaps via a video lesson prepared by the teacher. The student then goes to school to spend time working on those problems and receiving feedback. It is the opposite of traditional learning, where the classroom is where students learn the material, with problems to go home and do as homework.

–           John Hattie’s list of the effectiveness of various educational interventions:

  • The top educational interventions included:
    • Student self –assessment
    • Teacher credibility
    • Classroom discussion
    • Feedback
    • Teacher-Student relationships


We also touched on the topic of MOOCs as one of the more recent use of technology as an educational strategy. That is a Massively Open Online Course – there are many on the internet where thousands of people can sign up to study a certain topic (potentially of a tertiary level) and learn together.

Peter Lee was also kind enough to speak to our class today about his popular software, Auralia (an ear training program) and Musition (music theory training). He went through the possible uses of it as a student, as well as its abilities and function as a teacher . Peter went through the procedures of how to take tests, create tests, create syllabi as well as schedules and set dates for students.

Next week’s class will be about 1 to 1 computing, laptops and tablets, and their uses in music education.

Teaching Resource (Twelve Bar Blues)

Teaching Resource (Twelve Bar Blues)

A small resource I made, to teach the concept of the ‘twelve bar blues’ to late stage 4 students who I will assume to have a grasp on Western music notation and some ability to play an instrument or sing. It is centred around the jazz standard ‘C Jam Blues’. This is available in both iBook and PDF format.

It’s pretty rough, hope the next time I do this it’ll be much more refined.

Week 5: File Formats / Legal use of resources

James’ lecture today talked about the use of different file formats in images, video and sound, and the possible implications of these pertaining to education. Some copyright and legal usage of these media were also briefly discussed.

The most common image formats currently include JPEG, TIFF, GIF, and PNG. JPEG is a particularly good format for sharing on the internet, particular because of its ability to be compress images to an extremely small size with reasonable image quality. PNG is also another great image format, as it is not only a compressed image format, but it is also lossless. While the files are often larger than JPEG files, they maintain the detail of the image.

When image size becomes a problem, such as for a web page, or for file size, or emailing an attachment, there are numerous methods that can be used to reduce the size of the image. First is the image format – different image formats offer different amounts of compression. Second, is the image size. Thirdly, resolution (DPI) can be also lowered to decrease the image size. All of these can have some effect on image quality (unless saving in a lossless format), but can help to reduce file size.

For video, the more common formats are MP4, MOV, M4V, AVI, WMV, OGV. Some of these formats require certain software or operating system or codecs to run, but MP4 is generally a safe bet in terms of compatibility.

Sound files also come in a number of common formats. The Windows variant of uncompressed sound is WAV, while the Mac variant is AIFF. The compatible and widely used sound format is MP3. MP3 is a compressed, lossy format – meaning that while the file size is significantly smaller, sound quality also deteriorates. Other compressed audio formats include WMA, OGG, and M4A. The file format and bit rate will determine the end file size.

In today’s lecture, we also used a few programs, exporting the work into one of these file formats, as well as for the purpose of the demonstration of useful education tools.. These included using Sibelius to create an MP3, Preview to edit and save images in different formats, Screenflow for recording computer screen activity and editing videos, as well as iBooks Author.

Copyright and usage rights were also briefly discussed. E.g. What are the implications of finding any image on Google and using it within your classroom? How do we know who owns the work?

We discussed several possible ‘safe’ sources for finding media for a resource. Often these have creative commons licenses, allowing their distribution under certain terms. Some websites include: – searches all these websites at once – some people do make their stuff creative commons – advanced search – usage right – free to use and share –

To sum up what was taught today, the use of different file formats and copyright ownership are two important factors when creating an educational resource. The file format has the impact in which it can determine the accessibility of the resource, and who is able to work with it. It also has an impact on the quality of the end result. And finally, copyright can have major implications on the use of certain resources within a work. It is therefore important to find safe sources of media for use – even if it is for educational purposes.