Ableton Live Techniques: Sampling

author.full_name author.full_name

Authored by Loudon Stearns, Erin Barra


Course Code: OMPRD-282

Next semester starts September 23

12 Weeks

Level 2

Level 2

3-Credit Tuition


Non-Credit Tuition


Building on the skills learned in Ableton Live Techniques: Fundamentals, in Ableton Live Techniques: Sampling you will explore the sampler devices in Ableton Live. Sampling concepts learned in this class are applicable to all samplers, and the course goes into great depth, showing the techniques that are unique to Ableton Live. Instructors will demonstrate all sampling techniques within musical examples, and we’ll explore the larger cultural and ethical considerations of sampling. You will analyze contemporary examples of these techniques, apply the techniques within your own compositions, and reflect on the ethical considerations of using sampled sounds.

Read More

Each week you’ll create and share custom-designed instrument presets for peer review in discussions. Weekly assignments give you experience using Ableton samplers within musical compositions.

Upon completion you will have developed a library of custom sampler presets that represent your personal production voice, and you will have created numerous compositions. 

By the end of the course, you will be able to:

  • use Ableton Live’s advanced clip functions creatively
  • compose using Ableton’s sampling devices
  • describe the cultural and ethical considerations of sampling
  • use recording editing and processing practices in Ableton Live effectively in your compositions
  • use custom sampler presets created during the course in your own compositions
  • assemble a portfolio of numerous compositions created within the course
Read Less
Overview Syllabus Requirements Instructors
Request Info


Lesson 1: What Is Sampling?

  • What Is Sampling?
  • Exercise: Exploring Ableton Session View as a Sampler
  • Launching Clips with MIDI Mapping
  • Envelopes
  • Exercise: Create a Sampler Using Ableton Live's Session View
  • Exercise: Warping and Sound Design
  • Assignment 1: A Short Sampled Etude 

Lesson 2: Time Rearranged

  • Warping Review
  • Exercise: Warp It
  • Slice to Drum Rack 
  • Exercise: Slice to Sampler 
  • Exercise: Share Your Sampler
  • Slice, Resample, Discover, Repeat (Creative Workflow)
  • Assignment 2: Slice, Resample, Discover, Repeat 

Lesson 3: Appropriation

  • Discussion: Share Online Resources
  • Power in a Sound
  • Meaning and Culture
  • Sample Preparation
  • Juxtaposing Sounds and Mixing Cultures
  • Arrangement View Editing and Warping
  • Assignment 3: Appropriated Composition 

Lesson 4: Looping and Tuning

  • Polyrhythm and Interval
  • Loop Synth
  • Exercise: Create Your Own Loop Synth
  • Exercise: Granular Sparklepad
  • Evolving Bass Pulse (Creative Workflow)
  • Assignment 4: One-Minute Crescendo 

Lesson 5: Designing Drums

  • Drum Rack Signal Flow
  • Exercise: Electronic Drum Rack
  • Exercise: Acoustic Drum Rack
  • Exercise: Create and Share a Custom Kit
  • Extract, Mix, Match, Layer, and Groove (Creative Workflow)
  • Assignment 5: Extract, Mix, Match, Layer, and Groove 

Lesson 6: Sampling Your Life

  • Reexamining Your Sonic Landscape
  • Recording, Documenting, and Organizing
  • Thumps, Hisses, Hums, and Clicks: Cleaning Tips
  • Assignment 6: A Day in a Minute: A Sonic Time Lapse 

Lesson 7: Sampling Yourself

  • Plan, Record, Edit, Build, and Play
  • Zones and Ranges
  • Levels, Loudness, and Filters
  • Assignment 7: Add Yourself 

Lesson 8: Live Sampling

  • What Is Going On?: Audience Perspective
  • The Art of Multitasking: Performer Perspective
  • Design, Build, Practice, Perform, Reflect, Tweak, Repeat
  • Assignment 8: Live Sampling Performance 

Lesson 9: Sampling Vocal Performances

  • Sampling Meaning: Producing Prosody
  • Creating Harmonies And Melodies
  • Voice Grooves
  • Assignment 9: Final Production Palette

Lesson 10: Sampling Emotion

  • Articulations
  • Alternations
  • Designing Expression
  • Assignment 10: Anticipation and Relaxation 

Lesson 11: Build a Sampler from Scratch in Max for Live

  • Build a Sampler in Max for Live
  • Assignment 11: Finish Final Project 

Lesson 12: Moments of Musical Mystery

  • The Impact of Sampling on Music Production
  • Pitch Drop
  • Sample Replacement
  • Assignment 12: Review and Remix


Prerequisites and Course-Specific Requirements 

Prerequisite Courses, Knowledge, and/or Skills
Completion of Ableton Live Fundamentals or a strong understanding of the basic functionality of Ableton Live is required.


  • No textbooks required


  • Ableton Live 10 Suite or higher
  • Max for Live Essentials (separate installation included with Live Suite)


  • MIDI controller
  • Audio interface
  • XLR microphone and cable
  • One of the following studio monitoring options (both recommended):
    • Studio monitors (pair), such as JBL 305Ps or better, as well as necessary cables
    • Over-ear studio headphones, such as Sennheiser HD 600, Sony MDR-7506, Philips SHP9500, Audio-Technica ATH-M50x, etc.

Student Deals
After enrolling, be sure to check out our Student Deals page for various offers on software, hardware, and more. Please contact with any questions.

General Course Requirements

Below are the minimum requirements to access the course environment and participate in Live Classes. Please make sure to also check the Prerequisites and Course-Specific Requirements section above, and ensure your computer meets or exceeds the minimum system requirements for all software needed for your course. 

Mac Users

PC Users

All Users

  • Latest version of Google Chrome
  • Zoom meeting software
  • Webcam
  • Speakers or headphones
  • External or internal microphone
  • Broadband Internet connection


Loudon Stearns


Loudon Stearns is an associate professor at Berklee College of Music, a course author and instructor at Berklee Online, and an active media-artist. Within the Contemporary Writing and Production department at Berklee College of Music, he prepares students to work as independent composers and producers in a technology-laden music industry. Online, he focuses on the latest electronic music styles and music-technology innovations, showing students how to analyze contemporary styles and use the latest music technology in their own works. An innovator in both education and art, Loudon authored a Massive Open Online Class, "Introduction to Music Production," that has provided high-quality free education to hundreds of thousands of students, received an award from the University Professional and Continuing Education Association for "Excellence in Teaching" and received the "Excellence in Media Art" award from the Emerson College Visual and Media Art department.

Read More

Holding a Bachelor of Music in Contemporary Writing and Production and Bass Performance from Berklee College of Music, and a Master of Fine Arts in Media Art from Emerson College, Loudon pulls from a broad range of skills in the creation of his own multi-media performances that include live music, projection-mapping, dance, visual art and interactivity. Of particular interest is using the entire world as a performance space by using internet streaming to coordinate numerous performers and audiences on vastly different parts of the globe. The technical and aesthetic challenges of this type of performance are new and exciting and require the sort of broad skill-set that Loudon has developed through his extensive institutional and self education in music, sound, performance, motion graphics, photography, programming, and construction. Read Less

Erin Barra


Erin Barra has been a key player in the creative process of many projects from conception to final master to stage performance. With a wide ranging skill set (educator, songwriter, producer, multi-instrumentalist, music technology consultant), she enables people to create content they’re personally invested in and execute their ideas.

Read More

Specializing in music technology integration, she works with artists and bands looking to integrate laptops and digital technologies into their writing, production and stage setups, and has developed, taught and executed several music technology curriculums at the open source (Coursera and ROLI), K-12 (Beats By Girlz), and collegiate levels (Berklee College of Music, Berklee Online).

An authoritative voice in music, tech, and education, Barra is the Director of Popular Music at Arizona State University, Executive Director of Beats By Girlz, course developer for Berklee Online and former Associate Professor at Berklee College of Music in Boston. Specializing in composition, performance, and creative music technology application, she has worked with and represented companies such as Ableton, Splice, ROLI, MusicTech, Moog, and iZotope. She has presented at Loop, NAMM, SXSW, Moogfest, Gearfest, KIEM, Future of Music Coalition, Yale’s EXPOL, and Re-Mixed Media Festival. Check out Barra’s work as an artist on all platforms, and catch her live electronic performances on YouTube. Read Less

Brian Funk


Brian Funk, aka AfroDJMac, is a multi-instrumentalist, singer/songwriter and Ableton Certified Trainer from New York. He began his musical career with the guitar, playing in numerous rock bands, recording albums and embarking on tours on the East Coast of the United States. In an effort to expand his studio’s capabilities and songwriting arsenal, Brian turned toward computer-based music in 2006. As a guitarist and songwriter, he found Ableton Live to be the ultimate tool to unlock his creativity and bring his studio creations to the stage.

Read More

A curious sound designer, Brian regularly releases free Ableton Live devices that challenge conventional sound-design-thinking. His series of Two Minute Ableton Live Tips earned him the title of "a legend in the Ableton Community" (Ableton Blog 6/26/12). In 2017, Brian started the Music Production Podcast, which explores creativity, technique, and philosophy on music making through conversation.

As a writer and high school English educator, teaching Live and music production is the perfect marriage of two life passions. Brian specializes in teaching Live for songwriters and rock musicians, home and professional studio application, and live performances. His experience as a rock musician offers students a unique insight into bridging music of the past with the music of the future.

Brian has written, authored, and produced various courses on Music Production and Ableton Live. Along with his own blog, Brian writes for various music publications on the web. Read Less

Rishabh Rajan


Rishabh Rajan is an educator with eight years of experience in higher education, having taught in schools in India, Malaysia, and the US. He is an Ableton Certified Trainer, Apple Certified Trainer for Logic Pro, and an Avid Certified Instructor for Pro Tools. He is also an accomplished electronic music producer, writing future bass music and performing mashups under the alias code: MONO. He has worked as a sound designer for Twisted Tools, Meta Function, and Bela D Media, and is currently developing sample libraries of Indian instruments with Crypto Cipher. His products have been used by BAFTA-, Emmy-, and Grammy-nominated composers from around the world. He has written three eBooks on sound design, which are all available on the Apple iBookStore. He has also developed over 30 sound design and music production streaming video courses for macProVideo and AskVideo. Aside from being a regular contributor to the online music production news blog Ask.Audio, he also hosts a YouTube channel where he regularly posts sound design/synthesizer tutorials & mashup performances.


Contact our Academic Advisors by phone at 1-866-BERKLEE (U.S.), 1-617-747-2146 (INT'L), or by email at

Get Info