Beat Making in Ableton Live

Master the processes and techniques for programming professional-grade electronic drum beats in Ableton Live.

Gifting options available at checkout.

Next Session Starts March 1

5 Weeks

8 Sections

We all want to make huge-sounding beats that people can't help but dance to. This course is here to help you do that. Making great beats is about so much more than just writing in notes on a piano roll or jamming out on a drum pad. From Dilla to Diplo, Quincy Jones to Com Truise, or Fly-Lo to Flume, electronic beats have come a long way — and these days are funkier and deeper than ever.

In this course, we'll take you through a full tour of Ableton Live's drum programming capabilities. You'll learn how to lay out simple beats, manipulate them with effects, make them sound more human, add to them with samples, and much more. Join Ableton Certified Trainer Dan Freeman as he takes you through the process of crafting creative, professional-grade beats that can take your music to the next level. 

Dan freeman

Dan Freeman

Ableton Certified Trainer

Dan, also known as CØm1x, is an Ableton Certified Trainer, artist/producer/bassist, and music technologist based in Brooklyn, New York. One of the world's leading experts on the integration of live instruments with laptops using Ableton Live, he does live electronic acid house and electro­ funk sets that integrate live musicianship with improvised sound creation and visuals. He has performed and presented at venues, festivals and universities globally including SXSW, Harvard University, Berklee, Sonar (Barcelona), Berghain (Berlin), Centro Cultural Español (Mexico City), IATEC (Rio de Janeiro), AIMEC (Curitiba, Brazil), The Strøm Festival (Copenhagen), La Universidad de Santiago (Chile), DJLAB (San Jose, Costa Rica) and the Festival Internacional de la Imagen (Manizales, Colombia).

Originally from Boston, Massachusetts, Dan comes from a bi-cultural background: his mother is Nicaraguan and his father American, so he grew up exposed to a rich variety of music. He graduated Harvard University, and came to NYC to be a session bass player and performed throughout North America, South America, and Europe in venues ranging from underground Brooklyn loft parties to Broadway pits and Carnegie Hall. He also played keyboards for the RCA Records’ rock group Stellastarr*. In 2008, he formed the electro funk digital music and art collective Comandante Zero (CØ). CØ developed techniques for fusing live acoustic instruments with laptops running Ableton Live and created their own unique hybrid set as well as serving as a backing band for various artists including Polina Goudieva and Virgin Records’ artist Xavier.

Currently, Dan has a production studio in Gowanus, Brooklyn where he mixes, remixes electronic music and writes for film as well as performs with his electro funk digital art and music collective Comandante Zero (CØ). Dan has designed curriculum centered around Ableton Live for several institutions. Previously he served as a senior instructor at New York City's Dubspot where he taught electronic music production and headed Dubspot International. He is currently on the faculty of New York University’s Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music where teaches producing music with software and MIDI. He also curates the Digital + Acoustic Sessions, a monthly event in Brooklyn, New York at ShapeShifter Lab that features artists using Ableton and live instruments in cutting ­edge new ways.

In 2015, he founded the Brooklyn Digital Conservatory, a platform that brings top digital music producers/performers and educators to emerging markets in Latin America and Asia for courses and performances. Since its foundation, the Brooklyn Digital Conservatory has run workshops and courses in Chile, Costa Rica, Italy and Colombia with workshops scheduled in Guatemala, Nicaragua, Panama, Brazil, Argentina and Mexico for 2017.

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ableton live
beat building
dan freeman
drum machines
beat making



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Course Outline

  1. Start
    Section 1


  2. Start
    Section 2

    Working with Presets

  3. Start
    Section 3

    Building Your Own Kit

  4. Start
    Section 4

    The Pencil Tool

  5. Start
    Section 5

    Sound Design

  6. Start
    Section 6

    Slice to MIDI

  7. Start
    Section 7

    Advanced Techniques

  8. Start
    Section 8



What will I learn in this course? 

You'll learn how to program drums, create your own unique Drum Rack instruments, get creative with sound design, sample breakbeats, randomize drum fills, humanize your grooves, synthesize huge sub kicks, and more!

Are there any pre-reqs?

There aren't any course requirements, but a copy of Ableton Live is required. If you don't have a license you can follow along with the free demo

What do I get at the Basic level? 

At the Basic level, you get immediate, unlimited access to course materials.

What do I get at the Pro level? 

The Pro level is for students who are ready to take their beats to the next level. You'll receive the same immediate, unlimited access, a downloadable Course Pack, and in-depth personalized weekly feedback from a Course Advisor. This Course Advisor will help you stay accountable to your goals and offer guidance along the way. 

Can I upgrade after I've purchased the course?

Of course! If you've started the course at the Basic level but decide you'd like the extra support from classmates or expert advisors, just send us an email to, and we'll help you make the upgrade. You'll be placed in either a current or a future session.  

What does it mean that the course starts on March 1?

As soon as you purchase a course at any level, you can start exploring the course material immediately. On March 1, the session begins, which means that if you're in the Pro level, you'll receive your Course Pack and begin the guided experience that includes weekly activities, feedback from Course Advisors, and much more. This is intended to help you stay accountable and get the feedback you need to succeed. 

Will there be future sessions of the course?

Yes! We plan to run new sessions roughly every two months. Check back shortly for firm dates, or sign up for a Soundfly account to receive email updates about course dates and new course launches.

How do I give the course as a gift?

Soundfly courses make great gifts for the music lover in your life. To purchase a course as a gift, first sign into your Soundfly account, or create a new account for you (the purchaser). Pick the price level you'd like to give, click to purchase, fill in your information, check the box below the credit card form saying you're buying the course as a gift, and click to pay. You'll shortly receive an email gift certificate that you can give to a friend.

How do I sign up for a course using a gift certificate?

Create your own Soundfly account, navigate to the course you've been gifted, and click to "buy now." On the check out page at the bottom of the form, you'll see a field where you can enter the code on your gift certificate. Enter the code, no credit card info needed, click "Apply," and enjoy the course!