GarageBand is Apple’s freeware Digital Audio Workstation, designed for beginners and professionals alike. The software features a number of advanced features including MIDI recording, virtual synthesizers and an in-built library of a number of plugins and Loops, packed in a very minimalistic and sleek design. The interface for GarageBand is pretty easy to use and has been hailed for amateurs and beginners. If you are just starting out in GarageBand, it’ll take you only a small while to get used to it, here’s our guide to help you with a few basics of GarageBand.
BTW If you are using Windows computer, make sure to read – how to download garageband for PC post.
Opening a project in GarageBand
- If you’re opening GarageBand for the first time, you’ll automatically find the Project Template window opened by default. Here you have to select the New Project option.
- Garageband offers 8 templates that you can choose from, each of which opens up a new project that comes preloaded with its own set of preloaded track types, effects and instruments which makes it easy for you to get on your particular project depending on the type and genre.
- For example, if you choose the songwriter template it will conjure up a mix of tracks, effects and instruments which work best for a professional singer and songwriter, while other templates load up tracks, instrument and effects best suited for those genres.
- For those who are willing to work on a project independent from pre-loaded genre effects, the Empty project is the best template. It gives you the ultimate freedom, allowing you to select any track type, effect and instrument depending on the project you have in mind.
- When you relaunch GarageBand after shutting it, the software will automatically open the last project that was opened on GarageBand. To start a new project, go to ‘File’ in the toolbar and click on new. A new project will promptly be opened.
Downloading all content
When you first open GarageBand, the first thing you are likely to notice is that a lot of sounds you want to work with are greyed out. This is because when you first download GarageBand from the mac app store, all you get is the basics of the software. To maximize the potential of GarageBand, you need to download the rest of its own library separately. You can start the download by clicking on any of the greyed items that you see – in the loop browser, for example. Alternatively, you can select the GarageBand option in the toolbar at the top of the screen, hover over the sound library, and then click on ‘download all available sounds’
Depending on your internet connection, this may take some time.
GarageBand offers three types of tracks for any project :
- With the software instrument track, you can play and record all of the virtual instruments and sounds that are pre-included with the GarageBand package. To play these instruments you can use an external MIDI controller or you can do musical typing with your Mac’s keyboard.
- The Audio track has two subtypes –
- With the real instrument track, you can record audio vocals or your real physical instruments with an external microphone or the built-in microphone on your device.
- -With the guitar track, you can access GarageBand’s pre-included library of electric and bass guitar amp synths.
- Unlike the audio track, with the drummer track, you don’t need actual instruments. You can add a virtual session drummer that you get to choose from about 31 different options spanning over a number of genres including Dubstep, hip-hop, hard rock, etc. Whatever your project may be, these can be a great addition to your audio.
GarageBand Loops are pre-recorded snippets of audio that you can add to your project. The software comes with a huge built-in library of loops and includes a browser that you can use to search for loops using filters like genre type, instruments and even the key that the loop is in.
- Click on the loop icon at the top right-hand side of the GarageBand window to open the loop browser.
- Here you can use the filters at the top of the window to find a specific loop type that you require
- You can also click on the beats, tempo, and key column at the bottom half of that window to sort them that way.
- Click on any loop to play it. When you are satisfied with one, drag and drop it into the workspace to add it to your project.
There are three different types of the loop on GarageBand, and they correspond to the three-track types available in the software. Blue loops are clips of recorded audio, green loops open a software instrument track, and yellow loops open in a drummer track.
When you’re ready to start using GarageBand’s huge library of software instruments, you might have to rely on Musical typing if you haven’t gotten around to buying yourself a MIDI controller yet or just don’t have one at hand. Musical typing means that instead of a MIDI controller you can actually use your Mac’s keyboard to play music on GarageBand. You’ve only got a single octave to play with here, but it’s pretty usable and a great way to jump into GarageBand’s huge sound library.
- Click on Window in the toolbar at the top of the GarageBand window
- Select ‘show musical typing’
- A keyboard window will now pop-up. On the keyboard, the middle keys correspond to the white keys on a piano and the W, E, R, Y, U, O. and P keys correspond to the black keys. When you press a key on your keyboard, the corresponding key will play on the keyboard on the screen.