When your audio interface is set up and ready to go, close the preferences pane and the help view and take a look at the screen in front of you. I’m going to go through a few of the elements you’re looking at now. When you open Live, it defaults to the session view. You can toggle between session view and arrange view using the tab key on your keyboard but for now we’re going to stay in session view.
Click the arrow in the bottom left of the screen. This shows the Info View. The info view tells you the name and function of whatever you place the mouse over.
Let’s start by looking at the view options on the right hand side of the screen. Each of these buttons shows or hides a different section of the interface. The first toggles the in/out section, where you can set up routing for track signal sources and destinations.
The R button toggles the return tracks, which can process audio sent to them from multiple tracks. The S button shows or hides the send section, where you can adjust the amount of track output sent to each return track. The next three buttons hide and show the mixer section, the track delay section and the cross fader section.

To keep things simple, hide all the view options except for the mixer.
For now, I’m just going to touch briefly on a few sections of the interface that we’re going to need for the next few lessons. To see the names and functions of any other elements of the interface just roll the cursor over them and see what comes up in the Info View.

Along the top of the screen are the transport buttons, Play, Stop and Record, just like on a DVD or VHS recorder. The space bar can also be used to Play and Stop tracks.

The Metronome button activates the metronome, which you can hear when you press play. Leave the metronome on for now.

The Tempo Display shows the current tempo or speed of the track. It can be increased o decreased either by clicking and dragging up and down with mouse, or by clicking then entering a new value with the keyboard ad hitting the enter key. To enter fractional values, type the number followed by a full stop and whatever decimal value is required, then hit enter.

If you have a rhythm in your head but you don’t know what that might translate to in Beats Per Minute (or BPM), you can use the mouse to tap out the pulse on the tap tempo button. After a full bar of tapping, Live will automatically begin playing your track at this tempo.

Beside the metronome we have the time signature denominator, which allows us to select the time signature of the track. For more on time signatures, see the “Introduction to Rhythm” video.

Activate the Computer Midi Keyboard switch to use your computer’s keyboard to play notes into Midi tracks. This is useful for sketching out musical ideas, especially if you don’t have a physical midi controller.

At the far left of the screen we have the browser buttons. The first hides and shows the browser. Click the Device Browser to access Live’s built-in Instruments and Effects. The plug-in browser allows access to your third party instruments and effects. The next three buttons are file browsers which allow you to explore files on your hard drive or other removable storage devices. You can bookmark common file locations by clicking in the file browser’s title bar. The browser also allows you to preview audio and midi files without having to add them to your set. Click the headphone icon to activate preview listening.

Finally, these two buttons on the right hand side with the horizontal and vertical bars switch between the arrangement and session views. Now that you’re a bit more familiar with what all these buttons do, it’s time to look at where most of the actual music making is going to take place. In the session view, each vertical column represents a track, also known as a channel strip. At the top of each channel strip is the Track Title. When you create a new project, Live automatically creates one audio track and one MIDI track. The functions of each type of track will be explained later. The empty boxes in each track are called clip slots. Each clip slot in an audio track can store a clip of audio, while each clip slot in a MIDI track can store one clip of MIDI data.