Ableton Live with Chrissie Caulfield

Lucy Cheesman writes:

There were a lot of factors behind my decision to get involved in YSWN but one of the main ones was to stop being intimidated by the idea of producing electronic music.  I was super-excited to get an introduction to Ableton in a friendly and judgement-free space.

The workshop was run by Chrissie Caulfield at Huddersfield University and attended by a small group of interested women.  I wasn’t quite sure what to expect but Chrissie put us all at ease straight away, guiding us through the workshop and encouraging us to ask questions and express ideas.

The evening was a whistlestop tour of various features of Ableton – how to sync soundcards and controllers; an overview of tracks, clips and scenes; layering effects and mapping midi (or ‘the magic blue thing’).  Chrissie introduced us to a range of controllers from the expected (Launchpad) to the very unexpected (Hot Hand USB motion sensors), encouraging us to try things out.  

One of the best things about the workshop was that while Chrissie provided some pre-made beats for us to play with, she also took time to support each member of the group individually, helping us create whatever sounds we wanted.

I learned that the start-up costs of Ableton are comparatively low – it’s possible to purchase a keyboard and Ableton Live Lite for less than £50 and get started.  Feeling inspired I did just that and I’m really enjoying experimenting and learning on my own terms.  Now to pluck up the courage to share…

Many thanks to Chrissie and the University of Huddersfield for volunteering the time and space to deliver the workshop, which managed the very difficult feat of being both practical and inspiring.

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