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Songwriting in GarageBand

with Garrick Chow

Video: Welcome

Learn how to write, record, and mix a song in GarageBand in 9 simple steps.
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Songwriting in GarageBand
Video duration: 0s 1h 36m Beginner


Interested in writing your own songs? GarageBand is a natural place to start. It's an accessible program anyone can turn to when inspiration strikes. In this short course, author Garrick Chow teaches 9 basic steps to writing, recording, and mixing a song in GarageBand. He starts from an empty GarageBand project, records scratch tracks, and finds the best tempo for the new song idea. Then he creates a beat, lays down additional tracks, and adds effects. Next he shows techniques for recording and combining multiple takes, and arranging the song using GarageBand's Arrangement Track. Finally, he shows how to create a rough mix and then how to bounce down the track and share it with the world.

Want to learn about other tools for songwriting? Check out Songwriting in Pro Tools.

Audio + Music


Everyone writes songs in their own way. Inspiration comes from a variety of places and often at seemingly random times. Some songs start with musical elements like a guitar rift or a beat. Some start with a lyric idea, or a melody without lyrics. All of these techniques are of course valid. In this course, I'll show you how to use Apple GarageBand in your Mac to first get your demo song ideas done quickly and then we'll look at ways to make your rough ideas sound good enough to present to your songwriting partners or band mates, to your producer, or to anyone else you want to share your music with.

We'll start with an empty GarageBand template, customize it, and then record a piece of music. From there, I'll show you how to determine and set the tempo and key for your song, and then we'll start adding other instruments around your idea, including bass guitar. And we'll look at the many options GarageBand offers for adding beats to your song, such as working with loops. Using the drummer track or playing the beats yourself with a MIDI keyboard. Once we have the basic elements in place, we'll see how to use GarageBand's arrangement track to organize or reorganize your song sections, as well as how to add some basic effects to improve the sound and performance.

And then I'll show you how to create a rough mix of your song, balancing the track volumes, panning the tracks, and adding a fade to the end of the song. Lastly, we'll bounce the song down to a file you can then share with others. So, join me as we jump into Songwriting in GarageBand.

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