Lesson 1

Launching GarageBand
Launch GarageBand and you will see the following window:

Note, you may see an open project from a previous session. If so, just click on the red button on the left-hand side of the screen to close the project and to open the
GarageBand Splash window.
New Project and Loops as shown above.
You will now see the following window:
Put your name in the
Save As: box and make sure that you save it to
Desktop. That way you can find it easily.
For our first project we are going to keep the default setting for
Tempo, Signature, and Key.
Click the the
Create button and you will now see the GarageBand
work space:
You should also see your GarageBand project file on your desktop:
Setting Your audio Output for GarageBand
From the
GarageBand pull down men select Preferences-Audio
You will now see the following window:
From the
Audio Output pull down menu you can select your output device.
Unless you have an audio interface connected to your computer, you will select
Built In Output.
Note: For the following tutorial, it would be helpful to have a MIDI keyboard connected to your computer!
Adding a new Software Instrument Track
You can click on the 
image006 located at the bottom left-hand side of the screen.
Or use the track pull down menu, or
Option-command N
Software Instrument
You should now be able to hear a grand piano sound as you play your MIDI keyboard.
Click on the
Track pull down menu located at the top of
This menu allows you to:
Delete a track
Duplicate a track
Select a New Basic Track
Show Movie Track (more on that later)
Changing The Default Piano Track Sound
One of the cool things about GarageBand is that it comes loaded with a wide variety of
Virtual Instruments or as Apple calls them Software Instruments.
Notice the icons on the lower right-hand side of the GarageBand window:
The middle icon, the
i allows you configure your software instrument sounds. When you click on it you should see the following window:
Software Instrument Select Window
To select a different sound for our newly created software instrument, simply select an instrument heading from the left column and then specify your sound from the right column, let's select
Strings, Bright Arco Strings.
Notice that your instrument name and icon have changed in the
Tracks window:
Play your MIDI keyboard and you will now hear a string sound.
Do It! Go through and experiment with all the different software instrument sounds. Some of the instruments are Velocity Sensitive. The harder you play the note the louder the instrument will sound. Note that you need to have a Velocity Sensitive MIDI keyboard as well!
Make notes on any sounds that you find interesting or that you may like to use for your
Final Project (hint, hint).
Note: If you do not have a MIDI keyboard, Apple gives you two options to play and record MIDI in the Virtual world:
Command-K Note that this window can be expanded by dragging the lower right-hand side of the window
Apple's Virtual Keyboard
If you note the icons in the upper left-hand side of the keyboard
Click on the right most icon and you will see the following window:
Apple's Computer Music Keyboard
You can now use your computer keyboard to play and record MIDI.
Try it!
Changing The Track Icon
Notice the icon in the lower left-hand side of the
Software Instrument column.
If you click on the downward arrow, you will now see all the icons that you can use for your
Software Instruments.
Software Instrument Icon List
When you select an icon, it will now show up in the
Track name for the Software Instrument.
change a track name (single click instrument name) in the Track window It will then highlight Blue and you can type in a new name.
To view a brief tutorial on the concepts covered above, click on the following link:
GarageBand Clip 1
The Control Pull Down Menu
Metronome Select when you want a click to play along with
Count In This will allow you to have a count in before you start recording.
If you go to the
Preferences pull down menu and select the General tab, you can configure your metronome.
Command U will turn the metronome on and off.
LCD is the lower window in GarageBand
Chord output in GarageBand
Show Chord in LCD This is very cool if, selected and you play a chord on your MIDI keyboard, GarageBand will show you the jazz notation for the chord that you played. It is VERY good!
Show Time in LCD
If this is selected, GarageBand will give you your song in time code
Hours, Minutes, Seconds.
Time Code in GarageBand
Show Measures in LCD This should be fairly obvious.
Show Tempo in LCD. If you want to double check your tempo and key for a GarageBand project make sure this is selected.
Playback and Record Controls
GarageBand's Playback and record controls
image029 Moves back or forward one measure at time.
image030 Moves to the beginning of your project.
image031 Play and Record buttons.
Note that hitting the
Space Bar on your computer keyboard will also start and stop your sequence.
image032 This turns your cycle region on and off.
The Cycle Region Control image032
Cycle Region control in GarageBand is an important tool It allows you to start and end a sequence and loop a portion of a sequence for playback and recording.
When you click on the
Cycle Region icon image032 you will see a yellow Cycle Region appear at the top of the GarageBand window
GarageBand's Cycle Region
If you position your mouse directly in the middle of the
Cycle Region, you can reposition the entire cycle bar.
If you position your mouse on either end of the
Cycle Region, you can shorten or lengthen the region.
Try It! Practice moving the Cycle Region around.
Also notice that when you hit the
Spacebar on your computer keyboard, that the sequence will start playing directly from the start of the Cycle Region.
Recording With Loops and Instruments:
Auditioning a Loop File
Select the Loop Browser  
Depending on which Apple Loop libraries you have purchased, you will now see several selections.
You have two options for viewing Loops:
Column View
And Music Note View:
Make sure that the
Music Note View is selected image036
We are going to start with a basic drum beat.
Click on the
Beats Button  image038 
Any Loop that has a
Blue icon next to it is an Audio loop and can’t be edited.
Blue Audio Loop
Any Loop with a
Green icon next to it, is a MIDI loop and can be edited (more on that later)
Green MIDI Loop
To audition a loop, just single click on the icon to start and stop the loop from playing.
Audio Loop playing, notice the speaker icon.
Some loops will contain temp and key information as well as the number of beats that the loop will play.
This loop was recorded at a tempo of 77 BPM and lasts for 32 measures.
Notice that there is no key information. That is because it is a drum loop and is not in any key.
Once you find a loop that you like, simply grab it with your mouse and drag it into your project.
Dragged drum loop. Notice that GarageBand will automatically create
a track for you.
Just like in
Cycle Record, if you grab a loop in the middle, you can move it around the sequence window.
To Shorten The duration of a loop, point your mouse to the lower right-hand corner of the loop and drag to the left. You may also do this going from left to right.
To Extend a Loop, place your mouse in the upper right-hand corner of the loop and you will see a circular arrow. This will allow you to extend the length of the loop.
Do it! Try changing a loops length and placement in the GarageBand window.
If Snap To Grid is selected in the Control Pull Down Menu your loop will automatically snap to the beginning of a measure. Turn this off, if you want to slide a loop without it locking to a beat
Duplicating a Loop File
The easiest way to duplicate a loop file is to hold down the
Option Key on your computer key board, click on the loop while holding down the mouse and drag the loop to the right. It will now duplicate the loop.
Editing a Blue Loop File
You can’t change the notes in a Blue loop file (not yet anyway). But you can change the key.
Add an audio loop that has a key center to your GarageBand project
Note: You may have to click on the Reset image045
button, so that all the loops are available again in the loop browser.
Double click on a blue loop file. You will now see the
Track Editor.
 You can also turn the Track Editor on and off my clicking on the Scissor Icon image048 located at the bottom left hand side of the screen.
To Change the pitch of the loop, look at the
Audio Region column on the left hand side of the Track Editor. Make sure that the Follow Tempo and Pitch box is checked.
You may now move the slider to change the pitch of the audio loop. One step for each half/step higher or lower for a scale of -12 to 12 or an octave higher or lower.
Once you do this, the loop will show the change in your tracks window with a number in the lover left-hand side of the loop.
This loop has been raised 4 half steps, or a Major 3rd.
Editing a Green Loop File
The cool thing about
Green Loop Files is that you can really get in and change things!
Drag a
Green melodic MIDI loop into your GarageBand Project.
Double click on a
Green Loop to open up the Track Editor
You will now see the following added buttons:
Piano Roll editing allows you to grab notes, move them up and down, drag the left and right and really mix things up. I find it is MUCH easier to edit in Piano Roll mode!
MIDI Loop in Piano Roll Mode
Notice that there is a grid that the notes will slide to when you move them. To change the grid click on the
ruler located in the upper right hand corner of the editing window:
image054 Grid Ruler in the Edit window
Automatic if you want to freely move notes around. You can also experiment with the different quantize levels listed in the pull down menu.
Score View image056 allows you to see the music notation for the loop. You can also edit it using score view if you prefer.
Delete a note, just select the note with your mouse and hit delete on your computer keyboard.
To insert a note, select the note value using the above pull down menu and then Command-click to insert that note value into your loop.
Note: if there is not room in the loop for the note value you selected. GarageBand will choose the note value for you.
To change the
Velocity (volume) of a note. Select the note and use the above slider to select the velocity of that note. MIDI velocity is measured from 0-127. GarageBand does not like the 0 concept so you have a scale from 1-127.
You may also grab the ruler in the middle and reposition the entire ruler. This comes in very handy when you only want to work on a specific section of a song.
More Track Info
Notice that you have two small icons located in each track under the track name:
image060  If you select the headphones, you will solo that track. Only that track will play.
image061 If you select the speaker with the two lines through it, you will mute that track.
image062 The Pan icon allows you to pan a track to the Left, Center, or right
image063 The track volume slider allows you to control the volume of the track.
Exporting To an MP3 File
GarageBand also allows you export a project to an MP3 file so that you may play in on an MP3 player or burn a series of projects to a CD.
We are going to be talking about recording "real" instruments, adding effects, and automated mixing in our next lesson.
Once you have completed a project, it is very easy to export it as an MP3 file.
Go to the
Share pull down menu located at the top of the GarageBand window and select Export Son To Disk…
You will now see the following:
GarageBand Export Window
Make sure the
Compress box is checked. This will make the file size smaller
Make sure that
MP3 Encoder is selected in the top pull down menu.
The other choice is
AAC Encoder. You would select this if you wanted and audio file for burning to a CD or if a client requested an audio file rather than an MP3 file. Audio files are generally better quality than an MP3 file, but are also larger in size and take up much more space on your hard drive.
Now go to the
Audio Settings pull down menu and select Custom
You will now see the following Window:
Bit Rate pull down menu allows you to select the sampling rate of your project The higher the rate the better the quality, but also the larger the file.
A bit rate of
96 kbps has a small footprint and will sound just fine for our purposes.
Click on the
Export button and you will see the following:
Make sure that you save your MP3 to the desktop, that way you can locate it easily.
You should now see the following file appear on your desktop:
The .mp3 suffix tells us that it is an MP3 file.
To listen to your MP3, click on it once so that it is highlighted. Then hit the
space bar on your computer keyboard. It should start playing.
I recommend experimenting with the different bit rates and listening to the sound differences. It is very hard to hear any real difference on consumer speakers with bit rates of 128 or higher.
Save space on your hard drive and choose a smaller bit rate. I am a composer in my other life, and average about 75-100 compositions per year for the Weather Channel, Cable TV, commercials, and film projects. Do that for 15-20 years, and your hard drive starts to fill up very fast! Most of my clients want audio files, so storage space is always an issue! I find myself purchasing more and more external hard drives for audio storage.
You never know when you are going to get a call for some specific piece of music for a client's project. If you have already written something that a client could use and can send it out fast, the client will be happy, call you again, and you can make more money!
Always save your compositions, you just never know when you may need them. I would also recommend putting together a database with the title of your composition, style of music, tempo, key etc. That way you can reference it easily. I have thousands of songs in a database, with that info. It makes, locating something very easy.
To view a brief tutorial on the concepts covered above, click on the following link:
GarageBand Clip 2
Create a GarageBand project using at least one drum loop and a software instrument playing a melody. You can keep it simple or get creative. Maybe you can even sell it one day and make some royalties!

You would be amazed at how many GarageBand loops are being used for TV commercials these days. I am not ashamed to say, that I have put together many GarageBand loop projects for clients when they needed the music quickly. They were happy, I made money, and I delivered them music well ahead of their unreasonable deadline. And the best part of all is that they will call again and I get a chuckle when I keep making royalties. Thank you GarageBand!

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