Musical Composition for Short Films with Ableton Live

A course by Jonah Schwartz
Musician and Composer. Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Joined June 2020
, Musician and Composer

Learn how to create an original score by exploring the process of recording, editing, and syncing your music to a film

  • 94% positive reviews (67)
  • 2093 students
  • Audio: English
  • English, Spanish, Portuguese, German, French, Italian, Polish, Dutch

Learn how to create an original score by exploring the process of recording, editing, and syncing your music to a film

  • 94% positive reviews (67)
  • 2093 students
  • 20 lessons (4h 8m)
  • 21 additional resources (2 files)
  • Online and at your own pace
  • Available on the app
  • Audio: English
  • English, Spanish, Portuguese, German, French, Italian, Polish, Dutch
  • Level: Beginner
  • Unlimited access forever

Can you think of your favorite soundtrack? Music is the element that ties everything together in any great film. It helps relay the message the writers, actors, and directors are trying to convey. Musician and composer Jonah Schwartz creates original scores for feature and short films, as well as commercials and other productions.

In this course, he gives you a complete walkthrough of how to compose your own song, ready to be synced with a short film. Learn how to use Ableton Live to create original melodies that harmonize with the mood of a scene, and align seamlessly with the atmosphere and tone of a narrative.

What will you learn in this online course?

Course table of contents

  • U1
    U1. Introduction
  • U2
    U2. What Makes a Melody?
  • U3
    U3. Recording Your Music
  • U4
    U4. Finishing Your Piece
  • FP
    FP Final project
View details

Meet Jonah Schwartz, musician, composer, and your teacher for this course. Hear about his music career, which spans nearly three decades, and started in Philadelphia, USA but took him all the way to Buenos Aires, Argentina where he has worked for the last 17 years. He also shares the diverse musical influences that inspire him.

Dive into music-making by defining what makes a melody and exploring famous examples of melodies in the film industry. Learn how melodies work and how to compose a simple one in Ableton Live. Explore the building blocks of music by understanding concepts of rhythm, harmony, and melody.

Time to record your own music. The first step is creating a concept for a song. To conceptualize a piece of music that accompanies a film, Jonah walks you through the two focal points when composing: theme and structure. Once you’ve created your concept, learn how to record a melody and how to add layers before doing an initial sync with the film. Dig deeper into music composition by learning about vertical integration, effects, and the final sync.

Explore Ableton Live’s tools for mixing, plugins, and mastering to make your final piece sound more cohesive. Then learn how to correctly export your work. Jonah shares his tips and experience when dealing with feedback from directors and how to resolve issues accordingly. Wrap up the course by learning the importance of registering your work and how to do so.

What is this course's project?

Compose and record a song for a film from scratch with Ableton Live.

Projects by course students

Who is this online course for?

Musicians, filmmakers, animators, or anyone curious about making music and learning compositional techniques for film.

Requirements and materials

Previous musical knowledge is welcomed, but not required.

To take this course, you need access to Ableton Live, or similar software.


2093 Students
67 Reviews
94% Positive ratings
  • More reviews

Jonah Schwartz

A course by Jonah Schwartz

Teacher Plus
Musician and Composer

Jonah Schwartz is an American musician and composer living in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He taught himself how to play the guitar, mandolin, and banjo when he was a teenager, and after studying film studies in university, he discovered his passion for film scoring. In 2004, he moved to Argentina and soon became part of the music community in Buenos Aires. The following year, his band was named “Best New Band” by Rolling Stone Argentina.

With his band Los Alamos, Jonah toured through Latin America and Europe, sharing a stage with names like Lee Perry, Calexico, Devendra Banhart and The Evens. After the split of his band in 2009, he started working in film scoring, and has worked on numerous productions, from films to commercials. Jonah wrote the musical score for the Hollywood film Hide (2008), Noche sin fortuna (2011), and others. He has also worked with well-known Argentinian production companies such as Tronco, Bamba, Can Can, and Plently.


  • U1


    • About Me
    • Influences
  • U2

    What Makes a Melody?

    • How Does Melody Work 1
    • How Does Melody Work 2
    • Playing a Melody in Ableton
    • Rhythm, Harmony and Melody
  • U3

    Recording Your Music

    • Recording a Melody 2
    • Effects and Final Sync 2
    • Effects and Final Sync 1
    • Vertical Integration 2
    • Vertical Integration 1
    • Adding Layers 2
    • Adding Layers 1
    • Recording a Melody 1
    • Film Music and Structure 2
    • Film Music and Structure 1
    • How to Create an Idea
  • U4

    Finishing Your Piece

    • Registering Your Work
    • Feedback
    • Exporting the Project
  • FP

    Final project

    • Musical Composition for Short Films with Ableton Live

What to expect from a Domestika course

  • Learn at your own pace

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    Ask questions, request feedback, or offer solutions. Share your learning experience with other students in the community who are as passionate about creativity as you are.

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Domestika's courses are online classes that provide you with the tools and skills you need to complete a specific project. Every step of the project combines video lessons with complementary instructional material, so you can learn by doing. Domestika's courses also allow you to share your own projects with the teacher and with other students, creating a dynamic course community.

All courses are 100% online, so once they're published, courses start and finish whenever you want. You set the pace of the class. You can go back to review what interests you most and skip what you already know, ask questions, answer questions, share your projects, and more.

The courses are divided into different units. Each one includes lessons, informational text, tasks, and practice exercises to help you carry out your project step by step, with additional complementary resources and downloads. You'll also have access to an exclusive forum where you can interact with the teacher and with other students, as well as share your work and your course project, creating a community around the course.

You can redeem the course you received by accessing the redeeming page and entering your gift code.

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Musical Composition for Short Films with Ableton Live. Music, and Audio course by Jonah Schwartz

Musical Composition for Short Films with Ableton Live

A course by Jonah Schwartz
Musician and Composer. Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Joined June 2020
  • 94% positive reviews (67)
  • 2093 students