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Top tips for Garageband on an iPad

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Started by Tessa Gray 26 Apr 2012 10:24am () Replies (13)

Hi all, I'm wanting to quickly crowd-source some ideas before Monday 30th.


I have been asked to do a workshop with Garageband on iPads with some students. I'm familar with using Garageband on a Mac and I'm searching through online tutorials, but thought there are so many experts in this group.... there's bound to be someone who can help me in time?

Signed, desperate...


  • Carol Kendall (View all users posts) 26 Apr 2012 5:08pm ()

    I'm about to embark on this myself so we can compare notes (pardon the pun!) - "some just-in-time-learning" Laughing. So far I've used the following video (an Apple marketing video but with a great overview for Garageband: Apple iPad2 - Guided Tour Garageband and shown it to students, and parents, and then left them to explore (we only had 15-45 minutes so it didn't develop further at the time.

    This following video would also be useful for you: From iPadCreative, A superb 40 minute Garageband Tutorial video.

    This video might give you some ideas for an activity using the drums on Garageband.

    Now I really want to have more purposeful learning and to get children being part of a band, and also composing their own music. Even though I have some musical background, it would be great to have some first steps to work through....

    This post by Megan Iemma looks useful too - 4 chord combinations for Garageband iPad app

    Feel free to Facetime (madmacnz@me.com) me if you want to bounce around ideas, but right now the limit of my knowledge is outlined above.

  • Tessa Gray (View all users posts) 26 Apr 2012 9:16pm ()

    These are a great start, thanks so much Carol for these links. Wow the 40min tutorial had one fast speaking presenter, but had everything I needed. The first link didn't seem to work for me :(

    I'm practicing now and will update you with any resources I create (to use with the students) over the next few days. The challenge is not knowing their individual musical ability before I start with them, and with limited time, I'm thinking a combination of chords and loops might be a good place to start. Our theme is, "Making a difference".


  • Carol Kendall (View all users posts) 26 Apr 2012 9:22pm ()

    Tessa, I've fixed that first link and think it's ok now. It's a great motivational starter, though I wouldn't play the whole thing.

    How long is your workshop, and what age group are the students?

  • Tessa Gray (View all users posts) 27 Apr 2012 3:17pm ()

    Hi Carol, thanks for the starter file, this will defintely work. I also have some Garageband examples I can share with the students (8 upper Primary), 2 days workshop.


    I'm crafting a print-out of things to consider in terms of:

    Using artist's models, identifing genres or types of music, shape or organization of music, e.g ABA (chorus, verse, bridge), pace/speed, melody, harmony, beat, bass and lyrics. I also want to discuss the order in which to plan and create (a powerful message) to a chosen audience using loops, instruments, recordings and voice.

     I'll update you on how this goes Smile

  • Carol Kendall (View all users posts) 28 Apr 2012 12:02am ()

    You're way ahead of me then, Tessa!

    I think they could have fun creating a rap, if they will be working on your theme of making a difference. A couple of years ago I made this Livebinder with a selection of resources about making a rap. I notice that a couple of the items in the binder no longer work, but there are still some useful ideas there.

    They could have fun creating their own vocal sounds using the voice instrument in Garageband, and putting them together into their rap.

    Creating a sound picture, or a sound story.

    Do you have the Belkin Rockstar and cables to plug together your iPads and put the sound through a speaker? That's something I'm wanting to try soon.

  • Merryn Dunmill (View all users posts) 30 Apr 2012 8:36am ()

    I've just started using the iPad with GarageBand - it brings a whole new dimension to GarageBand and the YouTube clip pretty much covers it all. IK Multimedia have made some great add-ons as well that are quite reasonably priced.


    At the end of the clip it mentions being able to continue your iPad GB work on your iMac. This is a great feature for GB and iMovie (iMovie on an iPad is just stunning!) and if that not enough try seewhat you could do with an iPad band! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F9XNfWNooz4 and if you thought that wasa bit 'setup' and 'unreal' check this http://www.patrickmlarkin.com/2012/01/check-out-bhs-ipad-band.html

    Best for the workshop Tessa. Let us know how it went. My neighbours' kids (2 girls under 10 and their baby sister) spent the weekend showing me their iPad band compositions. Stunning. 

  • Tessa Gray (View all users posts) 02 May 2012 3:53pm ()

    Thanks so much Carol and Merryn for your contributions. When I told teachers I had put out a call out for help and it fast-tracked me to results, they were keen to know more…they didn’t know about the VLN.

    What did I do?

    As part of the lesson, I created some hand-outs ( Using Garageband on an iPad ) for additional support, introduced the theme - "Making a difference", shared the Interface of Garageband on an iPad (using the smart instruments and the loops) as well as explanations for musical elements along the way. This was a lot of instructions in a short amount of time. Next time I would start with some freeplay.


    The first part of the lesson was aimed at individual use. Students were fully engaged in structured play/creation – with guiding ideas about beat, chords, melody throughout. Second part of this lesson was to come together asa group band using the Keyboard, Drums, Bass, Strings, Guitar and Recorder tools. As well as the useful videos you shared Merryn, I found the 24 piece Ipad performance inspirational. I wasn’t there for the final performance on this unfortunately (will follow up), but I know the students were very keen to come together collaboratively.


    Tonya comments in, What do your students think about using technology for learning? are timely where she says,

    “It is essential for us to have alternatives - hand-outs and printed documents to retain their interest in course….when students know they it is not compulsory to use new technology they are more open to trying it…”


    What I also found from this experience, was - a great group of students:


     • who demonstrated high levels of engagement

     • were willing to take risks and learn

     • not wanting to have to following any hard-fast 'rules'

     • who differed in wanting to share progress back to the whole group

    • who gained a great deal of musical knowledge in a short amount of time


    I have some musical knowledge, so am wondering how technology can help teachers with limited confidence/ability/background in music theory or practice? What do you think?


    Where to from here?

    Wonderful resources in your Livebinders folder Carol, thank you so much. I would love to revisit the Rap machine resources from Digistore. Really powerful. Thanks again. Smile

  • Carol Kendall (View all users posts) 06 May 2012 8:08pm ()

    This is a wonderful report, thank you for sharing your experience, Tessa. The handout will be very useful too Smile.

    Did you get any recordings of your students' work that they/you would be prepared to share. I'd love to hear what they came up with! I'm also interested in what equipment you used to connect everything up and have students perform as a band. Did you have a set of headphones? I have a RockStar and connectors, and a good speaker, but no other fancy gear. Will that be sufficient, do you think?

  • Tessa Gray (View all users posts) 07 May 2012 9:39am ()

    Hi Carol, unfortunately this lesson was so brief (part of a two-day conference) - it focused more on exploration and free-play with limited time to create some type of structured outcome. I have asked some local schools if I can follow this particular lesson through with them, they have agreed, so  I'll come and back and hopefully add examples/recordings to the thread.


    Yes to headphones, and no to any other fancy gear or instruments, just what was available in Garageband to bring the band together. Again, I need to collect some video examples of this process in action...watch this space....

    Does anyone else have lesson sequences/examples/recordings to share?

  • Tara Fagan (View all users posts) 07 May 2012 12:17pm ()

    Have been enjoying reading everyone's comments - thanks.

    Another resource that might be usefull is the Learn GarageBand in 30 days App, which is currently free on the AppStore (normally about $6).

  • Tara Fagan (View all users posts) 07 May 2012 12:17pm ()

    Have been enjoying reading everyone's comments - thanks.

    Another resource that might be useful is the Learn GarageBand in 30 days App, which is currently free on the AppStore (normally about $6).

  • Barbara Reid (View all users posts) 09 May 2012 1:41pm ()

    Here are some suggestions for using Gareageband in the Classroom

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