GarageBand for iPad is the must have app for anyone who enjoys dabbling in music creation. It’s also the perfect tool for people without any musical experience to get a feel for making their own music.
Whether you harbor dreams of music stardom, want to express yourself artistically or simply fancy dabbling with a few musical sounds and doing a bit of recording then GarageBand for ipad is for you.
You’re probably aware of it as it’s been around for a good few years as part of the iLife suite of programs for Mac. Well now it’s arrived on the iPad and it’s feature packed and full of musical goodness.
The app comes with a whole host of built in instruments, synth effects and keyboard sounds ranging from pianos and organs to electronica. You can also recreate drums, guitars and many other instruments and play them in real time on screen. You don’t have to have any musical training, knowledge or talent to start bashing about a bit of a tune. If you are more musically adept you can also plug in actual instruments such as guitar and bass and make use of a range of effects while laying down tracks. It also comes with a sampler that enables you to record sounds and play them back using the built in on-screen keyboard.
The Smart Instruments function enables you to play chords at the touch of a button. You can set the effect to strum or finger picking for guitar and then record the results to start mixing your musical masterpiece.
The beauty of GarageBand for iPad is that it enables people with absolutely no musical knowledge to make their own music. You can create beats by dragging and dropping percussion affects onto a grid, create loops and trim and move sections around as-you see fit. With eight tracks to play with the limit is only set by your imagination and creativity. If you are a musician then you’ll get even more out of it and it represents incredible value for money. You get a functioning recording studio and mixing desk that offers great flexibility and functionality as well as dozens of virtual instruments. At the very least it serves as a great little notebook for musical ideas if and when inspiration hits you on the move. It’s more than that though and anybody who has any interest in making music should definitely check it out.
Best of all it’s easy to use and that’s the real cherry on top. You might be sceptical about how much you can actually expect for the price but don’t let your preconceptions get in the way. No iPad owning musician should be without it and to anyone who yearns to express themselves musically but has never had the opportunity, that opportunity is now knocking!
As we’ve already noted, ease of use is a big part of GarageBand’s appeal but it might still seem rather daunting for the uninitiated at first glance. The best way to tackle it is to take things one step at a time and build your tracks up layer by layer. There are eight tracks available in total enabling any combination of instruments, samples, effects and percussion. A beat is the place to start as this will give your track an anchor and a solid base to build on. Select Smart Drums in Smart Instruments. Choose a drumkit that suits your sound then drag the different drum effects onto the grid to create your loop. It couldn’t be simpler and you can create complex-sounding beats in no time.
Once you’ve got a rhythm track nailed down you can start to compose your masterpiece. Smart Instruments gives you access to a various virtual instruments. Experimentation is the best way to learn about the sounds and effect you can get from each one. Using the guitar you can play chords with a single button press and choose whether you want them picked or strummed. You can also add effects such as delay and distortion to get the exact sound you’re looking for. As well as the traditional instrument effects there several synths included and playing with the various settings gives you an almost limitless array of potential effects. Continue to build your track with a base line, vocal track, samples or whatever else takes your fancy. You can cut and paste parts and loops to create whole sections with ease. The key is to be methodical and you’ll find you can create multi-layered tracks with ease.
Experiment with effects to make your tracks sound more professional. For example if it all sounds a bit flat try adding reverb for a bigger more resonant sound.
When you’re happy with the results of your toil you can export your track to iTunes. You can also save the tracks out separately and transfer them to a desktop computer where they can be edited in the full desktop version of GarageBand which has even more features. There’s more than enough functionality here to get started though, and when you’re feeling more confident with it you can plug in some real instruments and really have some fun.
GarageBand For iPad Summary
GarageBand offers the sort of features you’d expect to find in recording software and hardware many times more expensive. Whether you’re an accomplished musician and composer with recording experience or a beginner looking to express yourself, GarageBand for iPad combines flexibility with ease of use and offers amazing value for money.