Here are some explanation I gave over at MPC Forums to help explain how an MPC works if you’re coming from and Ableton Live environment.
I came from Ableton myself… and it’s a much different environment.
The main things to get your head wrapped around on the MPC is sampling and sample management, programs (drums and key groups mostly), tracks and how to drop notes across various tracks to group things, and sequences to hold each section of your song.
Where you can do really cool things with samples in Ableton along the lines of warping and such, you don’t have this facility as much on the MPC. On the MPC you really want to be thinking about One Shots (or Note On) for a sample, and for loops you frequently want to chop it up so you can flip the sample. Learn how to do trimming and chopping… while similar on Ableton in Simpler and Sampler… if you get into it you’ll also get a sense for what makes it different and creates a different sound.
Ableton Drum Rack is pretty much equivalent to the MPC Drum Kit Program… and where I appreciate the MPC style more is in the space of leveraging 16 LEVEL and Q-Links… I don’t have a Ableton Push, but I imagine this feels similar in some ways. Ableton Sampler is pretty similar to MPC Key Group Programs… you can probably functionality think of them as similar as far as programming instruments and sounds go.
I would suggest considering Ableton Clips as comparable to MPC Tracks. Though I will caution you… where a lot of folks tend to make mistakes is that they’ll create a drum program with lots of cool sounds, one shots, chords, fx, Vox, and such… and then just record everything onto a single Track. For practicing and playing around this is fine, but if you are trying to build a song you really want to think of each MPC Track as an Ableton Clip. Just like you typically do not want an Ableton Clip to have a full combination of your drums, bass, instrumentals, etc… in one clip most of the time, similarly you generally do not want to do this in an MPC Track either. Just be warned… you’re best to get in the habit of making each track Kick/Snare/Hat/Bass/Piano, or at least Drums/Bass/Lead… trust me, it will help you keep your sanity later on from having to Track -> Copy and then Erase events from each track… or having to do a Track Explode and then join things back together that are related.
Finally… I’d highly suggest thinking of your Ableton Arrangement similarly to your MPC Sequence, in particular… consider that you want your MPC Tracks and Programs to be the same Sequence over Sequence (but maybe playing different patterns), because similar to Ableton Arrangement… it gets complicated to have Snares in your Hats Ableton lanes… and in particular on the MPC… things can get wonky.
All that said… these are all suggestions and gross over generalizations. Don’t feel like any of this is hard and fast, but just things to keep in mind when trying to learn how to think about the MPC with an Ableton mindset. None of this is set in stone, but there are things that are made easier to understand if you can grasp this.