Playing music with other people is much more fun than composing on your own. You can bounce ideas off fellow musicians, and they’ll be able to tell you when your more ‘creative’ ideas are terrible.
Happily, GarageBand supports this type of collaboration. The app used to be a solo affair, but Apple has added the ability to play with other people over Wi-Fi or Bluetooth in ‘jam sessions’. These let up to four people play in sync and record tracks together in real time.
All you’ll need is four iOS devices, each with a copy of GarageBand. Hook them together by getting one person to create a jam session, and you’re ready to rock and roll. Be sure to save the results for later perusal, too. One day, when you’re the next Beatles, you’ll want those recordings handy.
Time required: 30 mins
What you need:
GarageBand (£2.99, itun.es/i6J8397)
iOS 5.1 or later
Step 1: Get your band together
The first step is to put your band together, with up to three other people who have iOS devices. They’ll all need to own a copy of the most recent version of GarageBand. A pair of headphones for everyone is a useful addition too, so you can hear exactly what you’re doing.
Step 2: Create a jam session
Make sure you’re all on the same Wi-Fi network, or have Bluetooth AirPlay enabled. Tap the note icon in the top bar, and hit ‘Create Session’. This will set up a server on your device that other instances of GarageBand can connect to. Get your friends to join the session.
You can’t play with others without coming up with a band name first. A great way to pick a name is to go to Wikipedia and hit the Random Article button until you come up with something good. How about ‘Linganamakki Dam’ or ‘Oleksandr Papush’?
Step 3: Keep control
It’s a good idea to set ‘Bandleader Control’ to the ‘On’ position, as you’ll get to start and stop playback, keeping everyone in sync. If you turn it off, individual band members can control recording and playback on their device separately, which could be handy if you want something more experimental.
Step 4: Pick your instruments
Once you’re all connected to the jam session, everyone should select an instrument. Try to pick something different from each other – you don’t need four drummers. Plus at some point someone’s going to have to play the bass. Remember, you can switch around during the session.
Step 5: Rock out
You’re now all set to start. Pick a key, get the bandleader to hit play, and you’re off. Try to work out some kind of chord sequence, so you’re all playing approximately the same thing, though don’t feel that you have to stick to it like glue. If it sounds good, it sounds good.
Step 6: Record the song
When you’re all happy, it’s time to record. Get the bandleader to hit the record button, and do your thing. You can re-record as many times as you like, so it doesn’t matter if you screw up. When you’re happy, the bandleader can collect the recordings and export the song as normal.