fbpx

How Long It Takes To Learn Ableton (& How To Learn Faster)

By Matthew Vultaggio

October 19, 2020

When starting to learn Ableton and music production for the first time, it is important to know how long it will take to learn Ableton and see some good results. So I looked it up and wrote about it.

It takes 6 months to learn Ableton. A typical beginner will take between 6 and 12 months to learn Ableton, while someone with experience with other recording programs will take between 1 and 2 months.

Most users of Ableton find that they are constantly picking up on new tips, tricks, and techniques. On top of that, Ableton provides updates quite frequently with smaller updates coming every couple of months and larger updates coming every few years.

So what is the best way to learn Ableton as fast as possible and what are all the factors that go into learning Ableton quickly?

Great question! Let’s dive right in.

How Long Does It Take To Learn Ableton?

Learning Ableton can take anywhere between a few weeks and a few months. Heck, if you’re a really slow learner, it could take even longer than that.

But really, the main thing that will influence how long it takes you to learn Ableton is how much time you dedicate to learning Ableton.

The time it takes you to learn Ableton depends on how often you practice/study, how much experience you already have, and if you are learning by yourself or with the help of tutorials or courses.

The more time and effort you put into learning Ableton, the sooner you will really start to get it. It is also worth noting that Ableton is a very, very deep software. There is a lot that you can do with Ableton, so it will take months to learn but years to master.

So the first thing is to make sure you have a copy of Ableton so that you can start practicing and experimenting. If you don’t have it yet, you may want to find out if Ableton ever goes on sale so you can watch out for deals.

What if you already have experience with recording software?

Sure, if you’ve used other DAWs like Fruity Loops, Pro Tools, Logic, or Cubase, learning Ableton will come much easier to you. In fact, you can actually change the skin if you are used to these programs or find yourself wondering why Ableton looks so bad.

Many of the features you find on one piece of recording software you can expect to find on another. They all, at the end of the day, are very similar and are made to create sweet, sweet music.

So.. what’s the difference between Ableton and other recording software?

If you have used recording software before, the main difference you will notice about Ableton is that it has 2 separate “views”.

The first is the Arrangement view, which looks like your typical recording software and organize the music in a timeline view going from left to right.

The second view is called the Session view, which allows you to record music into “clips” and launch them in a more performative way. If you are more experienced, then it is mainly the Session view which might stump you.

So.. how long will it take YOU to learn Ableton?

When it comes to finding out how long it will take you to learn Ableton, there are a few questions you should ask yourself to find the true answer.

  • How much time can you dedicate each day to learning Ableton?
  • How much experience do you have with other recording software?
  • Do you plan on taking a dedicated course about learning Ableton?

Because the time it will take you to learn Ableton depends on a few different things, I’ve created a table that will give you a better idea. Please remember that these are simply estimates, but hopefully it will make things clearer for you and help set proper expectations.

Experience levelHours per dayTime to learn
Total n00b1 or less6 months
Total n00b2 or more4 months
Used a DAW before13 months
Used a DAW before21 month
A n00b taking a course14 months
A n00b taking a course22 months

Your results will vary, but remember that the more time you put into learning Ableton, the faster you will learn it. It really is that simple.

So before diving into some ways that you can learn Ableton faster, let’s get one thing straight…

Do I Need Additional Equipment to Learn Ableton?

It’s a good question and I have a very simple answer for you:

You do not need any additional equipment to learn Ableton.

As long as you have a computer that can run Ableton and a way to playback your music, then you have everything you need to make music with Ableton.

Yup, even an old junk laptop and it’s built-in tin can speakers can do the trick. You’d be surprised at how low the costs to make electronic music can be (I was after researching at least!).

Things like fancy studio monitors, MIDI controllers, synthesizers, and hardware effects can make it more fun or easy to make music, but it is not at all necessary. Sometimes these things can even help you make better music, but again additional equipment is not at all needed.

Do you need an Ableton Push 2 or audio interface to get started? Probably not, but I do actually personally love and use the Ableton Push 2 today.

If you are starting out, then just make do with what you have and make upgrades as you go. Don’t hold off on starting to learn Ableton because you think you need to buy a specific piece of gear.

Remember that the more time you put into learning Ableton, the faster you will learn it.

You can look at the best gear for Deep House and other electronic music all you want, but the more you wait, the more you are falling behind!

With that said, you do need to make sure your computer is strong enough to run Ableton. So reference the minimum requirements as stated by Ableton to make sure you are good to go:

Windows

  • Windows 7, Windows 8 or Windows 10 
  • 64-bit Intel® (Intel® Core™ i5 processor or faster recommended) or AMD multi-core processor.
  • 4 GB RAM (8 GB or more recommended)

Mac

  • OS X 10.11.6 or later
  • Intel® Core™2 Duo processor. Intel® Core™ i5 processor or faster recommended.
  • 4 GB RAM (8 GB or more recommended)

Ableton does mention that these are the absolute minimum requirements so you may need a juicier computer if you are planning on running 12,000 tracks with a truck load of plugins on each track.

What Is The Best Way To Learn Ableton Fast

Now we have a pretty good idea of how long it will take to learn Ableton and what you need to start making music with Ableton today. So the next logical step is to figure out what the best way to go about Ableton is if you want to learn Ableton as quickly as possible.

I’ve gone ahead and created a list of the 6 things you need to do to learn Ableton quickly. These are both things I’ve done to learn Ableton and things that I wish I did when I first started to learn quicker.

Enough ramble, let’s jump right into it.

  1. Use free YouTube videos. You’d be surprised at how many high-quality videos you can find about learning Ableton on YouTube. Sure, you need to watch out for bad videos but the cream rises to the top on YouTube. Seek out the videos with the most views to start. I still use YouTube constantly today to learn new techniques and see how other producers are doing things.
  2. Set a specific study time/schedule. The number 1 thing that will help you learn Ableton faster is simply putting in the time. So set a time in your routine that will be dedicated to learning Ableton. A simple hour every day can really add up to huge progress. You don’t need to force 3 or 4 hours of work in -that is how you burn out. Slow and steady is the way, baby.
  3. RTFM (read the !@#$ing manual). I would recommend diving into this tip a bit later (after starting with YouTube videos and experimenting on your own). The manual is often overlooked for just about every product, but it does hold literally all the information and clearly tells you what the software can do. It takes a while to get through I will admit. It took me about 3 weeks, reading roughly 30 – 60 mins a day, but definitely helped me get to know the ins and outs of the DAW.
  4. Consider investing in an Ableton course. If you have the money to spend, a course can help walk you through everything you need to know. Courses solve the problem of not knowing where to start or what order to do things. However, you can definitely everything you need by using YouTube if you don’t mind doing some digging and searching.
  5. Just make some dang music. The only way to get better at things is by doing them. Make sure you switch between studying and practicing what you just learned. Have YouTube and Ableton open at the same time, look up things as you need to and apply them directly in Ableton.

What Next?

Once you’ve learned Ableton and recorded some sweet music, you might want to look into getting those tracks up on streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music.

Thankfully, it is actually 100000X times easier to do this than it was 10 years ago.

Sure, when you look at how much Spotify pays per stream, it is not too much but it can definitely add up. Plus, it’s pretty cool to have your music available where everyone can hear it and it takes your musical project to the next level.

To get started, all you will need is a “music distributor” to get your music uploaded to all the popular streaming services and stores.

My top suggestion for a music distributor is definitely DistroKid because you get unlimited song uploads for a small annual fee (it’s also what I personally use).

With that said, I’ve compared DK to other popular services if you would like to search around first to find the right digital distributor:

Or, if you would like a more detailed look into what DistroKid has to offer, you can check out my big fat DistroKid review. 🙂

Related Questions

How long does it take to learn Ableton Push?

Great question! Ableton Push takes 3 months to learn. This time can depend on how experienced you are with the Ableton software, how much time you dedicate to learning, and how experienced you are with music and other equipment.

Check out the current price of the Ableton Push 2 on Amazon.

Is Ableton Live difficult to learn?

Another great question! Ableton Live is one of the easiest DAWS/recording software to learn. However, it is quite a deep software and can be difficult (but rewarding) to master.

How long does it take to learn a DAW?

Another great question? Wow! To learn a DAW you must dedicate at least 3 months of your time. This can take more or less time depending on how much time you commit and if you have learned other DAWs in the past.

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}