Electronic Music Performance: Tips and Tricks

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


If you’re looking to up your game in the electronic music performance world, then you’ve come to the right place. In this blog post, we’ll be sharing some tips and tricks that will help you take your live sets to the next level.


In electronic music, the term “live performance” can mean a lot of different things. It might simply refer to playback of a recorded track in front of an audience, or it could entail performing improvised music using a laptop and some external controllers. In this article, we’ll focus on the latter type of live performance – specifically, how to use Ableton Live to improvise and perform original electronic music in front of an audience.

Here are some tips and tricks to help you make the most of your live setup:

1) Use hardware controllers whenever possible. This will free up your hands to play other instruments or manipulate audio effects.

2) If you’re using a laptop, invest in a good quality audio interface. This will ensure that your sound is clean and clear, and that you have enough input and output options for all of your gear.

3) Learn how to map parameters in Ableton Live to your hardware controllers. This will give you real-time control over things like filters, EQs, and delay effects.

4) Practice, practice, practice! The more comfortable you are with your setup, the more confident you’ll be when performing live.

The Basic Set Up

Whether you’re playing a gig or just jamming at home, you’ll need a few things to get started. At the very minimum, you’ll need an instrument (or instruments), an amplifier, and some sort of audio interface to connect it all together.

Your choice of instrument will depend on the type of music you want to play. If you’re looking to recreate the sound of a typical band, you might want to consider an electric guitar or bass, a digital piano or keyboard, and drums. If you’re more interested in creating your own unique sound, you might want to look into synthesizers, samplers, and other electronic instruments.

No matter what type of equipment you choose, you’ll need an amplifier to make any sound come out of your instruments. For most electronic instruments, this means a PA system or keyboard amp. If you’re playing an electric guitar or bass, you’ll need a guitar amp.

Finally, you’ll need some sort of audio interface to connect your instruments and amplifier to your computer. This will allow you to record your performance or play it back through software. There are many different types of audio interfaces available on the market, so make sure to do your research before making a purchase.

What gear you need

No matter what your budget is, you can get started with electronic music performance with just a few essential pieces of gear. Of course, you’ll need a computer with audio production software installed. A MIDI keyboard is also essential for playing and recording melodies, and a MIDI controller will give you more control over your sound. You’ll also need some good quality speakers or headphones to monitor your audio. If you want to get more advanced, you can also add a microphone and an audio interface to your setup.

How to set up your gear

Now that you have all your gear, it’s time to set it up! The process of setting up your gear will vary depending on the type of equipment you have and how many musicians will be playing at once. Generally, you will need to connect your electronic instruments, speakers, and other devices to an audio interface or mixer.

If you are using a laptop, you may be able to connect everything directly to it using USB cables. If you’re using a desktop computer, you may need to use an audio interface that connects to your computer’s sound card. Once everything is connected, you will need to configure your software settings.

If you are using virtual instruments, you’ll need to choose which ones you want to use and load them into your DAW. If you’re using hardware instruments, you’ll need to select the MIDI channels that they are on. Once everything is configured, you’re ready to start making music!

Sound Design

In music, sound design is the process of creating new sounds or modifying existing sounds. A common example of sound design is the creation of new sounds for electronic instruments such as synthesizers and drum machines.

Sound design can also involve the modification of existing sounds. For example, a sound designer might use EQ to adjust the frequency balance of a sound, or add reverb to create a sense of space.

There are no hard and fast rules for sound design, but there are some general tips that can help you get started:

1. Start with a blank canvas. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different sounds and textures.
2. Use filters to shape your sound. Filters can help you achieve a wide range of effects, from subtle tone shaping to radical sound transformation.
3. Add effects for extra impact. Effects like delay and reverb can add depth and dimension to your sound.
4. Be creative with modulation. Modulation is a powerful tool for creating dynamic, evolving sounds. By modulating parameters like pitch, amplitude, and filter cutoff, you can create rich, complex textures that will keep your listeners engaged.
5a). Lighting Effects
5b). Use Lasers Responsibly

How to create interesting and unique sounds

There are endless possibilities when it comes to creating sounds with electronic instruments. With some basic knowledge and a little creativity, you can design any sound you can imagine.

One way to create interesting and unique sounds is to layer different sounds on top of each other. By combining different timbres, you can create complex sounds that would be difficult to produce with a single sound source. For example, you could layer a distorted guitar sound with a synth pad to create a dense, murky texture.

Another way to create unique sounds is to use sound-processing effects. Effects like reverb, delay, and chorus can transform a simple sound into something much more intricate and interesting. For example, adding reverb to a drum loop can give it a sense of space and depth. Or, using delay on an acoustic guitar can create an ethereal, Echo-like effect.

Lastly, don’t be afraid to experiment with unusual or unexpected sounds. Many of the most interesting electronic music is made by pushing the boundaries of what is considered “musical.” So go ahead and explore the vast world of sound design – the only limit is your imagination!


When you’re ready to take your music performance skills to the next level, there are a few things you can do to make sure you put on a great show. First, be sure to practice your set beforehand so that you know the flow of the music and can transition smoothly from one song to the next. It’s also important to have a strong stage presence and engage with the audience as much as possible. Finally, be sure to use effects and visuals sparingly and only when they add something to the performance. By following these tips, you can ensure that your next electronic music performance is one to remember!

How to put on a great show

Great performances come down to two things: a great song and a great performance. The song is the foundation, and the performance is what brings it to life. If you want to put on a great show, you need to focus on both.

The first step is to make sure your songs are ready. They should be well-rehearsed and polished. You should also have a good understanding of the structure of each song and how it builds towards the chorus or climax.

Once your songs are ready, it’s time to start thinking about your performance. This includes everything from your stage presence to your energy level to your interactions with the audience.

One of the most important aspects of a great performance is stage presence. This is how you carry yourself on stage and how you make use of the space you have available. It’s important to be aware of your body language and facial expressions, as they can say a lot about your attitude and energy level.

Another important aspect of a great performance is energy level. You need to bring high energy to the stage if you want to get the audience hyped up. This doesn’t mean that you need to be bouncing off the walls; it just means that you need to be enthusiastic and engaging with your body language and facial expressions.

Finally, you need to interact with the audience if you want them to really feel like they’re part of the show. This means things like talking to them, making eye contact, and involving them in sing-alongs or clap-alongs. If you can get the audience engaged and invested in what’s going on on-stage, they’ll remember your show long after it’s over.

How to interact with the crowd

As an electronic musician, you have a unique opportunity to interact with your crowd in a way that other genres cannot. You are the DJ, the producer, and the performer all rolled into one, and this gives you a lot of power to control the energy of the room.

Here are some tips on how to interact with your crowd:

-Make eye contact: This may seem obvious, but it’s important to remember to make eye contact with your crowd as you perform. This will help them feel connected to you and your music.

-Get them moving: One of the best ways to interact with your crowd is to get them moving! Use your body language to encourage them to dance, and don’t be afraid to get down yourself. The more energy you put into your performance, the more they’ll reciprocate.

-Talk to them: If you have a microphone, use it! Talk to your crowd between songs, tell them what you’re going to play next, or even just chat with them about life. This will help them feel like they’re part of the show, not just spectators.

-Be genuine: Lastly, remember to be genuine in your interactions with your crowd. They can tell if you’re putting on an act, so just be yourself and let your personality shine through.


As with anything else, practice makes perfect. The more you perform, the more comfortable you will become with your equipment and the more confident you will be in your abilities. Remember to always warm up before a show and to take care of your voice after a performance. And most importantly, have fun!

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