According to Wikipedia: "GarageBand is a software application for OS X and iOS that allows users to create music or podcasts." At its very core, yes, that is what GarageBand is, but it can be so much more. If you have an Apple product, you may have come across GarageBand, but didn't do anything but record your voice with a funny vocal effect. So, today I'm going to talk a little about what GarageBand is capable of doing.
Upon the first inspection of GarageBand after opening it, it can seem overwhelming. In front of you lies an empty project sequence showing you a metronome, key, tempo, and time signature. Where do you go from there? That depends on what you want to do. My suggestion is to explore the hundreds of pre-recorded musical loops.
GarageBand comes with a vast array of pre-recorded loops for you to use in any way you'd like. It's all organized very nicely, too! As you can see in the picture, it narrows the loops down to exactly what you want to use. And if any loops are overlapping in any category, it will let you know and you can then narrow your search even further. From there, you just drag and drop the loop onto the sequence. Then, you might want to find a few loops to accompany your first track. Maybe find a bass line or drum beat. Then, match the loops up together and see what it sounds like! Not all loops are in the same key or tempo, so you may have to use trial and error to find a good fit. From there, the key, the tempo, and time signature can all be changed to your liking.
For even more customization to your sound, you can try musical typing with the many pre-made MIDI synthesizer sounds, guitar sounds, drum kits, string ensembles, etc. Just create a new track and select Software Instrument and it will show you more categories. For musical typing, go to Window and click on Musical Typing and you'll be able to use your computer's keyboard as the instrument. As you can see, it can get very detailed as the Musical Typing keyboard has pitch bend, modulation, octave changes, and more!
When you're ready to record vocals, there are plenty of funny and serious vocal effects as well. If you want, you could even add a few extra vocal tracks so that you can harmonize with yourself! It's all possible!
In your sequence, you can control all the tracks to start and stop when you please. You can control volume for each track and fade in and out wherever you see fit. You can add echo and reverb and so much more. GarageBand allows for almost endless customization. When you're finished, you may have a song that looks like "Go Boy" by Chris Labonte, which was made here at NCTV. Have a listen to one of Chris Labonte's other tunes made with GarageBand down below!
If you'd like to learn more, NCTV will be hosting a GarageBand workshop on July 12, 2016. We will be going over the interface and some basics and then we'll see where it goes from there! We would love for you to join us! If you're interested, you can sign up at www.norfolkcable.com/classes.