Arts and Digital Media in Educational Practice

iPads & GarageBand – Beginner’s Tutorial
Here you will find a guide to using the basic functions of the iPad and the GarageBand App.
iPad Basics
Waking the iPad from Off Mode (Black Screen)
If your iPad is turned completely off, you will need to turn it back on by pressing the Wake/On button on the top of the iPad (when held in portrait mode). Press the On button and the display will illuminate. While illuminated, the screen might still need to be unlocked:
To unlock the screen, you will see a “Slide to Unlock” button. Take a finger, and drag the arrow horizontally to the right. This will unlock and “open” your iPad.

Home Button
The Home Button has several purposes, including (a) waking the iPad from sleep mode or (b) exiting an application and returning to the home screen seen below.
Holding an iPad
The ideal way to hold an iPad is by grasping the device with your non-dominant hand, and holding the device at an angle (either resting your arm on a table or using a smart cover stand). By holding the iPad at an angle, and not on your lap or knee, you will reduce the amount of strain on your neck. It is not suggested to place the iPad on a flat surface to interact with the device, as this will not provide an ideal user experience. You can hold the iPad in portrait view (as seen in the above photo), or rotated 90° degrees for landscape view.

GarageBand for the iPad – Basic Tips for Beginners
Click the GarageBand icon on your iPad screen. It will present an instrument selector. This is where you choose your first instrument/track.

You will have a selection of instruments, including Smart Instruments (*recommended), which allow you to play single notes, chords or preset strumming/picking combinations that sound complementary.
Smart Instrument Picker

Use a finger to swipe through the options, and click on your instrument choice (e.g. Smart Guitar). You will be brought to a screen in which you have a virtual display of a guitar fretboard, with strings and various knobs.

You will be by default in “Chords” view.
You will be able to tap or pluck each of the strings with your finger, and pre-created complimentary chord combinations have already been set forth in front of you.

By tapping the picture of the “Acoustic” Guitar on the left side of the screen, you can choose the genre of guitar you would like to play.

Select one of the four AutoPlay modes (circled above), and the strings disappear.
Tap a chord, and a preset strumming pattern will start playing.
Tap the same chord to stop it; or tap on another chord to switch.
You can change the AutoPlay mode with a quick tap on the other mode.
You can now create a song with ease.

To record, press the red dot on the top of the screen. A metronome will tick to keep you in time.

You will also see that the play marker will travel along the top of your guitar, and mark down your recording in red. This is how you know that you are in recording mode.

To stop recording, press the “Stop” button that looks like a white square.

Now that you have recorded a snippet of music, you might want to record other tracks, or add to it. You will need to go into Trackview to see more.

At the top of your screen, you will see there are Instrument view and Track view – which are circled in red below. You can toggle back and forth between these to go from your instrument back to viewing all the tracks/instruments you have created.

Tap the three lined button – this takes you to TrackView.

Whenever creating a new song, you begin with one instrument track.
You will see that in TrackView, you can see your current instrument, the Guitar, and the clip of your recording in Green.

You can create additional tracks/instruments by tapping the plus sign (+) on the bottom left-hand corner.

The instrument selector allows you to choose which instrument you would like to add to that track (e.g. Smart Drums – simply tap the large cog & drumsticks icon to create the track for that smart instrument).

You can add up to eight (8) tracks in total to your composition. Tracks can be any of the instruments, loops, audio samples, or direct input via the microphone or from a physical instrument.

Functions In TrackView:

  • You can tap on a track to get other options: Cut, Copy, Delete, Loop or Split.
  • Each of these actions only work on the track you have selected.
  • If you make a mistake, tap the “Undo” button on the top left of your screen.
  • To just listen to one track – swipe the control panel of instruments to the right.
  • You will now have access to the independent volume controls for each instrument,
     and can mute select tracks.
  • The speaker with the strike-through will mute that particular track.
  • The headphones icon will allow you to listen to only that track.

When Choosing an Instrument
All Smart Instruments have a Silver Cog Wheel around them.
Smart Instruments are the recommended starting point in GarageBand.

Quick Start Guide:

Quick Start In Smart Guitar, Smart Strings or Smart Bass:
Select the Instrument Genre
Select an Auto-play mode (1, 2, 3 or 4) and Tap on the chord

Quick Start in Smart Drums
Drag any of the drum icons from the right side of the screen into the grid, and drum beats will start playing. Drag drum instruments into different parts of the grid to change sound features: Volume (Loud to Quiet) – drag the icon Up or Down.
Complexity of beat (Simple to Complex) – drag the icon Left or Right

Quick Start in Smart Piano
Select an Auto-Play Mode
You have the choice of Treble and Bass clef chords (Right and Left Hand Piano Parts)
Tap on the Chord to Play – choose to play both hands to create more complex songs

Quick Start in Audio Recorder
Point your iPad in the direction of the sound you want to record (e.g. someone singing)
Press record – when done, Press Stop
You can now apply effects (e.g. Robot or Chipmunk sound effects)

Quick Start in Sampler
Point your iPad in the direction of the sound you want to record
Press Start – when done, Press Stop
This is useful for short snippets of sound/audio (e.g. a laugh)

Quick Start to Loops
When in your TrackView of your song, you can click the loop button on the top of your screen, as seen here in red. This button will bring up a menu of preset loops provided by Apple –
Ranging from a few bars/seconds of instruments not available in the app (e.g. Mandolin or Woodwinds), to atmospheric sound effects.
You can drag a selected loop from the menu directly into your TrackView.
Though keep in mind, dragging a loop into a track will provide you with a loop of 8 bars, and you may have to cut or split the loop to the length you would like it to be. Also, make sure not to drag your loop onto your existing recordings – as it will write over them.

Saving Your Song & Creating Multiple Songs
Saving Your Song
To save your song tap on the “My Songs” in the top left hand corner of your GarageBand screen. This will save your song. It will default to the title “My Song”, you can change this.
Simply press and hold on the title text for one second, and it will allow you to “Rename your Song”. Once you have typed in the name you would like for your song using the keyboard, press done. Your song now has a new name.

Sharing, Duplicating and Deleting Your Song
You can also click the Edit button on this page to gain access to icons on the top left corner of your screen. These will allow you to delete your selected song, share your songs to YouTube, Facebook etc., duplicate/copy your song and various other actions.

Creating a New Song
When not in Edit mode on this page – you can easily create a new song – just tap the Plus sign (+) on the top left hand corner of your screen. Tap “New Song” and select your first track.

Common GarageBand Issues & Questions
Where Did My Song Go?
If your screen goes black/”off”, don’t worry, just press your Home button!

When strumming or tapping on an instrument using four or five fingers, the iPad multi-touch gestures may bring you back to the Home page. This is fixable! Just look on the screen and tap on the “GarageBand” icon, and it will take you back to where you were.

If you were recording a track, and you have returned to the Home Screen by mistake, you will see a red bar on the top of your iPad that states GarageBand (Recording). Just click this red bar, and it will return you to the GarageBand app.

8-Bar/Second Loop Limit
GarageBand defaults to 8-bars per each recording session, to provide the user to build multiple 8-bar sections for a traditional “pop” or “rock” song sequences of Section A or Section B. This eight-bar limitation can be quite frustrating when wanting to record/compose freeform, and can be easily fixed.

In TrackView, click on the Plus sign (+) in the top right hand corner where the ruler is located. This is the Song Section button. Tap on Section A, and select ‘Automatic’ – this will allow you to record beyond the initial eight bars.

Recording More than eight (8) tracks:
If you have decided you are ready to commit to a particular set of tracks, but want to record more tracks (beyond the 8 track limit), simply “merge” two or more tracks together to make space for a new track. Make sure you are finished with those tracks, as you are then finalizing those tracks together, and cannot edit them later.

In the TrackView, click on the instrument in the control bar on the left. You will see the options for: Delete, Duplicate and Merge. Click “Merge”. Select the other track you would like to merge that track with (e.g. Merging the Grand Piano Track with the Acoustic Guitar Track), and select the Merge Button on the top right hand corner of your screen.
Both tracks are now combined as one – and will now change to a Purple colour to indicate their merge status. You may now add another track to your song.

iPad Guides
For more information about using the iPad within the classroom, or for other guides to using an iPad, you can find more information here: iPad Guides