GarageBand iPad tutorial: Create a song with GarageBand for iPad and iPhone

Create a song with GarageBand on the iPad and iPhone

Learn the basics of building a song using GarageBand and step through the various Smart instruments that will make your creation sound amazing.

by |Macworld UK


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Step 1 of 10:

On launching GarageBand you’ll find a project called ‘Curtain Call - Demo’. This shows you what can be achieved with a little effort and time. It’s worth tapping on it and seeing how the project is arranged. Tap My Songs in the top left to return to the project screen, then tap the ‘+’ sign to create a new composition.

Next Prev slideshow image

On launching GarageBand you’ll find a project called ‘Curtain Call - Demo’. This shows you what can be achieved with a little effort and time. It’s worth tapping on it and seeing how the project is arranged. Tap My Songs in the top left to return to the project screen, then tap the ‘+’ sign to create a new composition.

Step 2 of 10:

Large icons represent the type of instruments you can add. There are two types – Smart and regular instruments, best thought of as automatic and manual. You can add new instruments by tapping Instruments from the project page. Always lay down the rhythm section first, so tap on Smart Drums.

Step 3 of 10:

A large grid is flanked by various parts of a drum kit. On the left you can see what kit is currently selected; tap this to see what else is available. To create patterns simply tap and drag any of the kit icons on to the grid in either the Loud, Complex, Simple or Quiet sections. Experiment with moving these around.

Step 4 of 10:

Once you’ve settled on a pattern (you can always change it later), it’s time to lay down the first track. Tap the red Record button at the top of the screen and you’ll hear a four-click intro, then the drums begin to record (press Record again to stop). You can adjust the beat in real time by moving the icons on the grid.

Step 5 of 10:

To the left of the Record button are two icons: one is the active instrument; the other takes you to the Project page. Open the Project page and you’ll see the drum track at the top. Double-tapping this gives you a few options, including copy or delete. Tap the ‘+’ sign to move on to the bass.

Step 6 of 10:

Select Smart Bass from the menu and you’ll be presented with a new control panel. Ensure the rocker switch is set to Chords, then press any of the columns with a chord letter at the top to hear it play. Press the Play button and jam along with the drums by selecting various chords.

Step 7 of 10:

When you’re happy with the groove it’s time to lay down the track. Again, simply press the Record button, wait for the four-click intro, then play along to the drums. If you make a mistake, stop the track, hit Rewind, then start again. Jotting down the chord sequence will aid you when adding more instruments.

Step 8 of 10:

Follow the same process to add guitars and pianos as for the bass. It’s a good idea to add a rhythm guitar track to build a bit of body into the song. When the rhythm track is done, add a new Smart guitar. Switch the rocker to Notes and you can play along in much the same way as you did with the chords.

Step 9 of 10:

Creating riffs is more difficult than using smart patterns, so GarageBand also includes an editor. Go to the Project page, double-click your riff, then select Edit. The editing screen breaks down the riff into individual notes, displayed as bars. Drag these horizontally to fix timing issues, or vertically to change the note.

Step 10 of 10:

With a number of tracks you’ll want to balance their volumes. In the Project page drag out the instrument column on the left. You’ll now see volume sliders for each; adjust these until you’re happy with the balance. Finally, tap My Songs, then tap and hold your project until the Share options appear.

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