Connecticut Shoreline Studio for Music Lessons
in Voice, Piano, Guitar & the Fundamentals of Music

All Skill Levels Welcome, Ages 4 -104

Connecticut Shoreline Studio for Music Lessons
in Voice, Piano, Guitar & the Fundamentals of Music

Clef Notes

GarageBand 101 for Singers: Part 1

GarageBand Can Be Fun

I’ve been having a lot of fun lately with many of my voice students making GarageBand recordings during lessons and special sessions. Over two Saturdays in the last month, a brave few came in and recorded video at the same time. Eowyn O’Hara agreed to let me share her lovely video, and I have a link to it at the end of this post.

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 or some way to download an accompaniment track onto your iPad
  • earbuds or headphones
  • a quiet place to record
  • patience

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:

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 1: Create an Account at

Step 2: Buy Karaoke Track

Search for and buy the karaoke track you want to use.

Step 3: Click “My Files”

Karaoke Version - My Files

Step 4: Download files

Karaoke-Version - Download Track

Sometimes you have to click the “Download files manually” button.

Karaoke-Version Download Track Manually

Import Track Into GarageBand

Step Five: Open Garage Band

Step 7: Create a New Project

Garage Band - Create New Project Icon

Or sometimes you get this option:

Garage Band - Create New Project Icon

Step 8: Add Vocal Track

Garage Band - 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.

Garage Band - Add Bars

Step 10: Click 8 Bars

Garage Band - Add Bars

Step 11: Slide Automatic to On Position

Garage Band - Add Bars

Step 12: Click + Again to Exit Menu

Garage Band - Add Bars

Step 13: Click Tracks View Icon

Garage Band -Tracks View Icon

Step 14: Click Loop Browser Icon

Garage Band - Loop Browser Icon

Step 15: Click Files Tab

Garage Band - Files Tab

Step 16: Click to Browse Items

Garage Band - Browse

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.

Garage Band - Exit iCloud

Step 18: Click Browse

Garage Band - 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.

Garage Band - Navigate to Track Location

Step 20: Click Three Dots for More Options

iPad - Three Dots for More Options

Step 21: Edit Sidebar

iPad 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!

iPad Edit Sidebar Sliders

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.

Garage Band - Navigate to Track Location

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


Garage Band - Track in Track View

Change Default Settings

Step 27: Click Settings Gear

Garage Band - Settings Icon

Step 28: Change Tempo

Garage Band - Change Tempo

Step 29: Click Metronome Count In

Garage Band - Metronome

Step 30: Turn Off Metronome Count In

And click gear icon to exit.

Garage Band - Metronome

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

Garage Band - Add Second Vocal Track

Step 35: Choose Voice

Garage Band - Add Vocal Track

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.

Garage Band - Turn On Monitoring

Step 37: Start Recording!

Garage Band - Start Recording Icon

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.

Garage Band - Stop Recoding Icon

Step 39: Click the Track View Icon

Garage Band - Click Track View

Step 40: Tap to Select Track You Just Recorded

Upon properly selecting, it’ll get little handles like you see in the next step.

Garage Band - Select Track

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.

Garage Band - Tap Track

Step 42: Click to Delete

Garage Band - Delete Track

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.

Garage Band - My Songs Icon

Step 47: Click My Song Icon in Files App

Garage Band - My Song Icon

Step 48: Rename Your Song

Garage Band - Rename Song

Step 49: Long Click Filename to Bring Up Menu

Garage Band - Long Click Filename

Step 50: Click Share Icon

Garage Band - Share Icon

Step 51: Click Song Icon

Garage Band - Share Song Icon

Step 52: Click Share

Garage Band - Share

Step 53: Navigate to File Destination

Garage Band - Navigate to File Destination

Step 54: Wait for Song Export

Garage Band - Song Export

Step 55: Navigate to Your Account

Garage Band - Navigate to Your Account

Step 56: Navigate to Destination Folder

Garage Band - Click My Drive

Step 57: Click Upload

Very important! I’ve often gotten to the step before this and forgotten to hit upload.

Garage Band - Click 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.

And now for the lovely Eowyn O'Hara....

6 thoughts on “GarageBand 101 for Singers: Part 1”

    • Ha ha! Yeah – a lot of steps. I should have said something like “Even though it’s almost 60 steps, after you get the hang of it, it only takes about five minutes to set up a project.” I just did it yesterday with one of my students. I’ll pass the word to Eowyn!

  1. Wow, thank you, Kirsten!! I would love to be able to do some recording projects with you in 2021 whether it’s on GarageBand or SoundTrap. I’ll pass the word to Eowyn!


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