The Joy of GarageBand: It's Not Just for General Music

Disclaimer: I have played around a good bit and I really enjoy GarageBand, but I am not an expert in all its features. There are people who use the full range of capabilities far more than I do, especially in the recording department. If you are one of those people, please feel free to contact me and suggest additional ways to use GarageBand and/or alterations to my suggestions. I'm eager to learn with you! 

My focus here is on ensemble settings and how GarageBand can be used to assist rehearsals & performance opportunities. However, please remember that composition is incredibly important in ensemble classes, too! Composition isn't the focus of this session, but it could be a full session by itself with the range of composition tools GarageBand has. 

GarageBand on a Computer

General Info

  • QuickHelp/"?" in top left is awesome!
  • This is a recording studio.
  • iRig-type device is a great way to connect an instrument to your computer/mobile device.
  • iCloud/Airdrop helps you share files between devices.
  • "Share" tab at top of screen makes sharing very easy. 
  • There's always more you can download, but the stock items are plenty to start with. 

Classroom Suggestions

  • "New Project," "Electronic" or "Hip Hop" options = fun metronome for class.
  • Record practice tracks for your students.
  • Playing a song and can't find a recording? You can make one!
  • Worth having students record "playing quizzes" into GarageBand, if you want them to turn around and do something with the quiz. (Add another instrument part to it. Splice it and remix it. Etc.)
  • Use loops (top right), drag & drop, your students are composing!

GarageBand on a Mobile Device

General Info

  • Again, QuickHelp/"?" in top right is awesome!
  • Again, there's always more you can download, but the stock items are plenty to start with.
  • Again, iCloud/Airdrop helps you share files between devices. "My Songs" reveals sharing options. 
  • So many instrument options to play with! 
    • Keyboards
    • Drums
    • Strings/bass/guitar
    • World Instruments

Classroom Suggestions

  • Mobile devices (especially iPad in my opinion) are very convenient for during-class use. 
  • Remember everything you do/play can be recorded. 
  • Musical/engaging metronome
  • Musical/engaging drone or chordal accompaniment
  • Different metronomes can make "boring" exercises more creative, engaging, and culturally relevant
  • Playing a blues/pop/rock tune that requires drum set but don’t have a set or a player? You do now!
  • Similar to computer, students can record "playing quizzes" into GarageBand and then DO something with them.

One of the best features - GarageBand is free on all Apple devices! Teach your students to use it and they never have an excuse to play without a metronome or pitch reference (if they have Apple devices...).