GarageBand Can Be Fun
Learning How to Use GarageBand Can Be Frustrating
GarageBand is free for anyone who owns an iPad, and it has a lot of cool features. The downside is that it’s taken me nine months of weekly recording to get a groove on with it. It just seems like it shouldn’t be that hard! Since I want my students to learn this skill so they can have fun too, I decided to make the most basic of tutorials possible. What I will outline here is how to import a karaoke track and record yourself singing along, which, by the way, IS REALLY FUN! I highly recommend giving it a go.
What You Will Need
- an iPad
- $2.05 to buy a karaoke track at Karaoke-Version.com or some way to download an accompaniment track onto your iPad
- earbuds or headphones
- a quiet place to record
Skip to What You Need To Know
There are almost 60 steps here, but perhaps you already know some of this stuff, so I’ve broken it into the following five sections that you click to from here:
- Get an accompaniment track onto your iPad (Step 1)
- Import the track into GarageBand (Step 5)
- Change default settings in GarageBand (Step 27)
- Record your vocal track (Step 33)
- Export the recording as an .m4a file that you can share (Step 46)
Obtain Accompaniment Track
Whatever accompaniment or karaoke track you want to use must reside on your iPad somewhere in order for you to import it into GarageBand.
Step 2: Buy Karaoke Track
Search for and buy the karaoke track you want to use.
Step 3: Click “My Files”
Step 4: Download files
Sometimes you have to click the “Download files manually” button.
Import Track Into GarageBand
Step Five: Open Garage Band
Step 7: Create a New Project
Or sometimes you get this option:
Step 8: Add Vocal Track
Step 9: Click + Icon to Add Bars
This is the dumbest default setting EVER! Unless you change this setting, you will only be able to record eight bars. I don’t know about you, but most of the things I need to record are longer than that.
Step 10: Click 8 Bars
Step 11: Slide Automatic to On Position
Step 12: Click + Again to Exit Menu
Step 13: Click Tracks View Icon
Step 14: Click Loop Browser Icon
Step 15: Click Files Tab
Step 16: Click to Browse Items
Step 17: Exit iCloud Drive
If your track is miraculously in iCloud drive, you can actually skip to step 24. If not exit iCloud Drive, and continue to Step 18.
Step 18: Click Browse
Step 19: Navigate to Karaoke Track Location
Since I can’t see or guess the file structure you have on your iPad, this part may be a little tricky.
If you are able to find your track, you can skip to Step 24.
If you’re sure the karaoke track has been downloaded to your iPad, but you do not see the location showing up here (AS I DIDN’T!) – continue to the next step.
Step 20: Click Three Dots for More Options
Step 21: Edit Sidebar
Step 22: Move Sliders
I store most of my karaoke tracks for students in Google Drive, but I only figured out how to find them upon writing this tutorial. YAY!
Step 23: Navigate to Karaoke Track Location
God be with you.
Step 24: Click Karaoke Track File & WAIT for Import
I’m not sure why, but on my iPad, it took a moment to import the track. In my impatience I would click again and again, and then several copies would end up importing (as you can see in the next screenshot), and sometimes the program would even crash and throw me out.
Step 25: Click & Drag File Onto New Track
This can be a little tricky, but be patient with yourself.
Step 26: Check Out Your Track in Track View
Change Default Settings
Step 27: Click Settings Gear
Step 28: Change Tempo
Step 29: Click Metronome Count In
Step 30: Turn Off Metronome Count In
And click gear icon to exit.
Record your vocal track
Step 33: Plug In Your Headphones & Put Them On
Now the fun begins!
Step 34: Click + To Add Second Vocal Track
Step 35: Choose Voice
Step 36: Turn On Monitoring
This is the fun part! If the microphone on your iPad is functioning properly, you should be able to hear yourself loud and clear in the headphones. In fact, it should sound a little weird. I’m not sure why Garageband makes you sound that way. I actually like how it sounds because it helps me sing better. Take heart, though. When you listen back to the track, you won’t sound so weird. You’ll sound like a slightly hipper version of yourself.
Step 37: Start Recording!
Step 38: Stop Recording
If you’re the 1% of the population that can get it in the first go, skip to step 46.
For the rest of you who went “Oh! Wait! What?” and missed the first go, guess what? We gotta delete this track and do it again.
Step 39: Click the Track View Icon
Step 40: Tap to Select Track You Just Recorded
Upon properly selecting, it’ll get little handles like you see in the next step.
Step 41: Tap Track Again to Bring Up Track Menu
Upon properly tapping, it’ll bring up the menu you see in the next step.
Step 42: Click to Delete
Step 43: Start & Stop Recording Again
Step 44: Repeat Steps 40-43
Until you have a recording that you’re happy with.
Step 45: Listen to Your Recording!
Share Your Song!
Step 46: Click the My Songs Icon.
Step 47: Click My Song Icon in Files App
Step 48: Rename Your Song
Step 49: Long Click Filename to Bring Up Menu
Step 50: Click Share Icon
Step 51: Click Song Icon
Step 52: Click Share
Step 53: Navigate to File Destination
Step 54: Wait for Song Export
Step 55: Navigate to Your Account
Step 56: Navigate to Destination Folder
Step 57: Click Upload
Very important! I’ve often gotten to the step before this and forgotten to hit upload.
Step 58: Wait for Upload
Step 59: Share Your Song!
If I get positive feedback on this and can ever recover from having created this post, I may have the courage to create GarageBand 101 Part 2 which will explain how you can have fun editing as well as recording with different instruments.