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GarageBand How–To

Getting Started

Go to your dock and find GarageBand icon, it will look like a guitar. Click to open. if icon is not in dock, select Finder, choose Applications and click on GarageBand to open.

choose window

Creating New Track

If opening GarageBand for the first time, what you will see is the Option Window that allows you to either create a new project or open an excisting project. We will create a New project. Here we are asked what we want to name the project as, and where we want to save it. We will call this Storytelling, and save it in the Music folder and GarageBand folder. Because we are doing a voice only, we will not worry about tempo, time, key, or major.

New Project Window

Once you've selected the garage band folder click Create. A new GarageBand window will open showing grand piano track and keyboard, we will not use this track but will create a new voice track for our Storytelling.

Openning Window

Close keyboard by clicking Close button, delete grand piano track (to delete track, select track by clicking on it, and go to Track in Menu bar, and choose > delete track).

Track drop-down menu

Now we need to create a Vocal track, go back to track in Menu bar. This time select New track. The new track window will appear, select Vocals > No Effects, then click the Create button.

Turning Off Metronome

Once our New track is created, because GarageBand has a built in metronome that will sound while the vocal is recoring, we will need to turn this option off before we begin. Go to Menu bar > choose Control, and Uncheck metronome.

Audio Input

If using a microphone other than built in iBook microphone, you will need to change the Audio Input setting in GarageBand. In Menu bar go to > GarageBand > Preferences > audio/MIDI.

Preference Window: audio/MIDI

Here you will see your Audio Output and Audio Input. Audio Output will remain at built in setting if you are using the built in microphone. If you are using something other than the built in microphone, such as the iMic or USB microphone adapter, select that. Then close the Preferences by clicking the Close button.

When changing the Audio Input, GarageBand should ask to change the driver, answer yes.


  • Press the Record button at bottom of window to begin recording.
  • While recording a purple bar will move across the new track this is also referred to as a region.
  • The PlayHead shows where the recording will start in the timeline.
  • Stop the recording by pressing the spacebar on the iBook keyboard or clicking on blue Play/Stop button.
  • Go to the beginning of the timeline by clicking the Go to the Beginning button located to the right of the record button or drag the Playhead to a location on the timeline.
  • Click the Play/Stop button or the spacebar to start and stop the playback

Playback/Record controls

The audio for your Story/Interview can be created in regions/sections. All recorded regions will appear in the track and can be moved backward or forward if needed.

When the entire Story/Interview has been recorded, replay it to make sure all the information was included in the audio. If there are long gaps with no sound shorten the region. Click and hold onto the end that is being edited. Drag the end to where the audio should start or stop. Check to make sure it is correct. Remember Edit > Undo.. will undo the last change.

(Before changing the length of the region, look at the audio waveforms to see where the line is flat. The higher the spike, the louder the sound. A flat line means there is no sound.)

After Recording

Now that the Story has been recorded it is time to export the audio to iTunes. Go to File > Export to iTunes. The export proceses opens iTunes and places the audio in the Library. To search for the file, type the name in the Search box in ITunes.

When audio file is exported quit out of GarageBand. (Garageband > Quit GarageBand), or you can continue working on track.

Background Music: Loops

Now that we have our vocal track down, let's add some background music. In the bottom left hand corner of the GarageBand window, click on the icon that looks like an Eye. Here we see our Loop Browser.

Loop Browser


The Loop Browser contains small muscial tracks such as piano, drum, electric guitar, etc. If we select piano we see all the different piano loops in the loop preview box to the right. Selecting one of the loops will automatically start to play. Select a loop, click and drag to just underneath the vocal track and release.

Automatically a new piano track is created. This track can be moved, copied, and pasted along the timeline. With your cursor at the end of that loop the c-curved arrow symbol appears.

Loops added

If you click and drag to the right you will see that the loop can be dragged out to repeat over and over for the length of your vocal track. We can adjust the volume by using the volume slider under the mixer.

New Loops

Once we have our piano loop we can add as many other loops as we need/want. In our loop browser click on Reset and again we see all the loop options. Perhaps we want to add guitar, click on guitar and if you click and drag the loop into the track window and release, the guitar track is created and we can continue and build a track to go along with our story.