Arduino Noobie: LED Feedback Without Laptop-to-Microcontroller MIDI?

I just ordered my first microcontroller (an Uno) and I'm sort of just jumping into a large sized project--a touch sensitive controller for live music performance--but I'm currently stuck trying to figure out how I can use open and closed circuits to light the triggers with LEDs. I know there must be a fairly "simple" way without sending MIDI from the laptop back into the Uno. Does anyone have any diagrams or tutorials or suggestions?
Thanks so much!

This is a project of mine. In the schematic you can see how a switch can be an input to a chip and light an LED at the same time.
http://www.thebox.myzen.co.uk/Hardware/MIDI_Footsteps.html
Edit. Sorry wrong project it is this one
http://www.thebox.myzen.co.uk/Hardware/Pendulum.html

Grumpy_Mike:
This is a project of mine. In the schematic you can see how a switch can be an input to a chip and light an LED at the same time.
MIDI Footsteps
Edit. Sorry wrong project it is this one
Chaotic Pendulum

ah thank you so much!