Here’s a nice article over at Memeshift with a lot of resources from all over the intertrons for getting started making electronic music. Even though it’s a bit old (2008), it focuses on basic principles and components, like oscillators, filters, synthesizer programming, and sampling. A nice resource for people just getting started.
The author recommends Ableton Live as the sequencer of choice, because it allows for both live performance and more traditional sequencing and I agree. I would also add that to get some really advanced sound and have control over it at a very granular level, look into MAX / Msp. Despite the steep learning curve, and somewhat unintuitive interface, it allows for some very interesting, interactive and experimental projects, like these over at Musicthing and these over at Create Digital Music. There’s a guy who uses turntables to video mix, someone who created an invisible violin using a wii controller and bluetooth with MAX/Msp, and a crazy balloon + lights + sound installation by Monolake at Mutek.
If you just want to play with something online and get the feel for making electronic music, Audiotool (pictured above) is pretty awesome.
Also, if you live in Chicago, there are other physical humans that can help with your quest at