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  4.1 Stuck In A Loop: Moving an Idea from Loop to Full Arrangement


How you move from this point is crucial. How do we take our ideas and basic loops, and unfold them into full, legitimate arrangements?

In this video, watch as I show you a very simple but beautifully simple way to give yourself the template you need to succeed at this, so it becomes an automatic behaviour, to the extent that you'll never really give it much thought once you've been through this workflow a couple of times.

Of course, leave your comments, questions and discussions at the bottom of the lecture - it's always great to share your insights with others too!

Learning Objectives:

In this lecture you will learn:

  • How to avoid getting caught in the trap of listening to your ideas endlessly cycle around your DAW
  • How to take your basic track ideas and expand them into full tracks
  • Why writing longer phrases and loops is a better way forward
  • Why using reference tracks isn't cheating
  • Using your DAW's markers and locators to provide a guiding blueprint for your arrangement


  • Using Reference tracks is not cheating - they are used by almost every top level producer you can think of
  • The locators in Ableton Live are there to help you, make use of them!
  • The locators' 'flags' are also play buttons - use them to audition difference arrangement ideas and orders.
  • You don't have to start with a 'blank page' - even if you have an 'end' locator in place, it gives you something to aim for for your arrangements
  • 8 bars in most techno and house genres roughly equates to 15 seconds of time. Working with 8 bar scenes in the Session view will allow you to keep track of the timings for your track
  • Link locators and scenes in your workflow, to break down the track arrangement into smaller, more manageable chunks