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Create Music and Record Audio using GarageBand

How do I start a new project?

To start a blank project from scratch:


Screenshot: Creating a blank project

  1. Open GarageBand and click on "Empty Project"
  2. Expand the "Details" menu by clicking on the triangle in the lower-left corner of the project selection box if you would like more control over project properties such as tempo and time signature. You can change this later.
  3. Click "Choose" in the lower-right corner

To start a project for recording audio:


Screenshot: Creating a recording project

  1. Plug in your external microphone to the computer you're using GarageBand on
  2. Open Garageband and click on "Voice" 
  3. Expand the "Details menu by clicking on the triangle in the lower-left corner of the project selection box
  4. Click on the dropdown box where it says "Input Device:" and select your microphone from the list. You can also adjust project properties such as tempo and time signature in the Details panel. You can change this later.
  5. Click "Choose in the lower-right corner

How do I add a new track?

Screenshot: Adding tracks in GarageBand

  1. Click on the button with the "+" sign in the top-left corner of the tracks panel
  2. Choose a track type. There are 4 track types in all. Read the descriptions to figure out the type of track that you want to create.
  3.  If you choose an "Audio option", GarageBand allows you to plug in an external microphone or electric guitar to record or play. Click on the "Input" dropdown and select your external device from the list.
  4. Click on "Create"

How do I record sound?

Screenshot: Recording audio


  1. Select the track that you will be recording to by clicking on the track header in the tracks panel
  2. Click on the red circle or press R on the keyboard to begin recording
  3. Click the square stop button or press the spacebar to stop recording

How do I play and record GarageBand instruments?

Screenshot: Adding a new software instrument track

  1. Add a new track by clicking on the button with the "+" sign in the top-left corner of the tracks panel
  2. Choose "Software Instrument" as the track type
  3. Click "Create"

Screenshot: Playing software instruments


  1. On the left, there will appear a panel of instruments to choose from and play
  2. You have the option of playing an onscreen keyboard using your computer keyboard or you can plug and play an external MIDI keyboard such as the iRig keyboard in the Media Studio
  3. To record, simply select the track that you will be recording to by clicking on the track header in the tracks panel, then click on the red circle or press R on the keyboard to begin recording. Click the square stop button or press the spacebar to stop recording.

How do I record multiple takes?

Screenshot: Recording multiple takes

Screenshot: Editing and choosing takes


  1. Select the track where the original take was recorded by clicking on the track header in the tracks panel
  2. Move the playhead to the start of the original take
  3. Click on the red circle or press R on the keyboard to begin recording. The audio "overwriting" the original take is automatically saved as an additional take.
  4. Click on the number in the top left corner of the recorded segment to see a list of all recorded takes. Select the take that you wish to keep and click "Delete Unused Takes" to delete all other takes.

How do I import my own audio files?

Screenshot: Importing audio files

  1. Click on Finder in the Mac Dock
  2. Locate the file that you wish to import. Click and drag the file onto an existing track or a new track in GarageBand. GarageBand supports the following formats: .AIFF, .CAF, .WAV, .AAC (except protected AAC files), Apple Lossless, .MP3, .MIDI

How do I split an audio region?

Screenshot: Splitting an audio region


  1. Select the track that you're working with by clicking on the track header in the tracks panel
  2. Move the playhead to where you want to split the audio region
  3. Press Command+T on the keyboard

How do I adjust the track volume?

Screenshot: Volume slider


  1. Find the track header for the track to adjust in the tracks panel. Drag the volume slider to the left or right to adjust the track volume

How do I use the metronome?

Screenshot: Metronome on/off


  1. Click on the metronome icon to turn the metronome on and off (the metronome always plays at project tempo). Click on the "1234" count-in icon to the left of the metronome to have the metronome count you in when you press record. If you only want to hear the metronome during the count-in, make sure that only the "1234" count-in icon is highlighted.

Screenshot: Count-in adjustments


  1. To adjust the duration of the count-in, click on Record > Count-in in the upper toolbar. Choose between no bars, 1 bar and 2 bars.

How do I add equalization effects to tracks?

Equalization is the process of adjusting specific frequencies in an audio recording to create different timbres which can change how the sound is perceived.

Screenshot: EQ effects

  1. Select the track that you want to equalize by clicking on the track header in the tracks panel
  2. Click on the Smart Controls button, found near the top-left corner of the screen
  3. A window will appear at the bottom of the screen. Click on the tab that reads "EQ"
  4. The dropdown box to the left of the EQ graph offers a list of preset options designed for vocals, spoken word and instruments such as "Clear Vocals" and "Warm Piano"

How do I add Apple Loops?

Apple Loops are pre-recorded snippets of music that you can add and remix in your music project. Apple Loops include audio loops, software instrument loops and drummer loops.

Screenshot: Apple Loops browser

  1. Open the Apple Loops browser by clicking on the "Apple Loops" icon near the top right corner of the screen.
  2. Click on a loop in the list to listen to a preview. Click and drag the loop onto a track to add it to your music project.
  3. Filters near the top of the Loops browser allow you to discover Apple Loops based on instrument type, music genre and mood.

How do I loop an audio region?

Screenshot: Looping an audio snippet


  1. Click and drag the top-right corner of the audio region to adjust the number and length of loops
  2. Alternatively, you can click on the audio region and press "L" on the keyboard so that the audio region will loop continuously

How do I add a video to my GarageBand project?

You can import a video file to your GarageBand project that will play in sync with the video audio while you add sound effects, dialogue and soundtrack music.

Screenshot: Adding a video

  1. Go to File > Movie > Open Movie...
  2. A file explorer window will open. Locate and double-click on the video whose audio you would like to edit
  3. A track will automatically populate with the audio from your imported video. A video screen will appear, allowing you to watch the video in sync with the audio as you edit. In order to maintain synchronization with the video, the video audio cannot be moved.

How do I export my finished project?


Screenshot: Export Song to Disk


  1. When you're ready to export your music project, click on "Share" in the upper toolbar and go to Share > Export Song to Disk...

Screenshot: Export Options


  1. A dialogue box will pop up where you can enter the file name, save location, file format and sound quality. When you're done filling in the information, click "Export" to export your audio file. GarageBand allows you to export your project as an .MP3, .AAC, .AIFF or .WAV file.

How do I record voiceovers on GarageBand for iPads?


Screenshot: Instrument selection - audio recorder


  1. Open the GarageBand app and choose "Audio Recorder" from the instrument selection panel. You can plug in an external microphone or use the iPad's built-in microphone.

Screenshot: Automating bar count


  1. Tap on the "+" sign in the upper right corner
  2. Tap on "Section A" in the window that appears

Screenshot: Recording audio


  1. Toggle the "Automatic" switch to "On" (the switch will turn blue)
  2. Tap the red circle to begin recording

How do I export my iPad projects?


  1. After recording your audio, tap on "My Songs" in the top left corner of the screen

Screenshot: My Songs


  1. Find your project in the list and long-press on the project thumbnail until the options panel appears above the thumbnail
  2. Tap on "Share"

Screenshot: Share project


  1. To export your recording as an audio file, tap on "Song". GarageBand allows you to export your recording as an .M4A, .AIFF, .WAV or Apple Lossless file. To export your recording as a GarageBand project for further editing on a Mac computer, tap on "Project".

Screenshot: Export as audio file or project

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