Ableton Visits Haydock Academy

This past week the Beats 4 Edu students received a special visit from some Ableton Staff members.  The staff of Ableton gave a workshop on Push, adding to the students understanding of the instrument.  After the workshop we had a listening session where students went up to the front of the class and shared some music that they have been working on.  Students felt proud and supported in sharing their music in a positive environment.  Thank you Ableton staff for the guest visit!

Step Sequencing vs. Live Drumming on Ableton Push for Middle School Students

This week students watched a video from Push Tutorials about step sequencing drums using an Ableton Drum Rack.  In the video St. Joe, the presenter, mentions that you can do both live drumming and step sequencing simultaneously on the Push.  In fact the Push has a great workflow for both styles of drumming.

Students explored both styles of drumming to create original patterns using Rack Life 64 by MSX Audio.  In this video students speak about their preferences, and student music is highlighted.

Flipping the Classroom & the Beat with

As we have been teaching Middle School students Ableton Push as part of the Push Initiative I am always on the look out for great digital resources for the students.   The website Push Tutorials has been a great tool for students to get step by step instructions that they can refer back to.  There is a video manual that goes over Push  and Push 2, and in my lesson planning I have been finding videos and information from the site to go over with the students.

Here is an example of students watching a video on step sequencing that is part of the Push Tutorials video manual, and then applying what they learned through experimentation.


Setting up the Right Template for Students

As students try electronic based music for the first time with hardware it is important to set them up for success.  Music software and hardware can be daunting the first time.  As music instructors how can we set up templates so students can immediately feel the power of the equipment and the potential of their own creativity?

At our school we work with middle school students.  We use primarily Ableton with Maschine loaded as a plug-in.  I have found that loading up a drum kit on Maschine and having a classic sounding synth, keyboard or piano loaded on Ableton is most effective in giving students an immediate sense of awe and inspiration.  With both track armed in Ableton students get the excitement of playing a drum pad and getting a quality drum sound which almost always surprises them in a positive way.  When they reach to the Novation Launchkey they play a note and get a nice sounding synth.  Psychologically they already feel success just by playing the simple notes, and hearing the sounds.  For many of them this is the first time they have played with music in this way.

Important aspects to consider are:

  • what is the age group of the students?
  • what software and hardware do you have access to?

Although this is a simple template it seems to work well in accomplishing the goal of scaffolding students for success. What are some templates you have found that have worked out well when working with students?