The new GarageBand features are impressive. You can fix your guitarist’s inability to keep a beat. You can extend that final note of your song. You can even keep track of your progress as you learn the guitar or keyboards.
But before you get the guitar, keyboards or mics out, it’s actually helpful if you know how to use some of the big ticket items without fumbling around for hours. We even highlighted a few little known features to help round out your GarageBand knowledge.
Set up Your Info
By default, GarageBand uses your account information on your Mac as your artist name. Before you start working on your tunes, it’s probably a good idea to change this information.
GarageBand>Preferences under the My Info tab. Change it or you’ll end up like me with a lame Artist name.
Turn off your Screensaver
It seems like a no brainer, but when you have your guitar all hooked up and ready to rock, the last thing you need is your Hello Kitty screen saver popping up right before you strum that first note.
Head to System Preferences > Desktop & Screen Saver and turn it off.
Record with Multiple Devices
Apple tells you that you can now record multiple tracks at once. You plug your guitars in and nothing happens. Here’s what you need to do to get the band back together.
You’re going to create an Aggregate Device. This will alow you to have multiple devices plugged in to your Mac and have GarageBand recognize them individually instead of just one input.
Head on over to Utilities/Audio MIDI Setup. Navigate to the Menu Bar Window>Audio Devices.
Plug in all your fancy musical instruments.
Click on the + symbol in the Audio Devices window. Clcik on Aggregate Devices on your new item and give a name. We chose Geetars for our bass and electric guitars.
Your instruments and how they are connected to your Mac should show up on the right hand side of the Audio Devices window. Check the Use box next to the connections of your instruments. We utilized the Built-in Input for the guitar and an XLR to USB converter called the CEntrance MicPort Pro for our bass.
Launch GarageBand and head on over to GarageBand>Preferences. Click on the Audio/MIDI tab and select your new Audio Input device.
Head up to the Menu Bar and select Track > Enable Multitrack Recording.
In your project, create Real Instrument tracks for your instruments. Don’t bother with Electric Guitar track, it won’t work.
Select each track and click on the i in the lower right hand corner. From there you can select the Input Source for each track.
You can connect up to eight instruments like this. That’s half of the Arcade Fire connected to one Mac.
Write Your Lyrics in GarageBand with Notes
While you’re recording your awesome new single, you can finally have your lyrics right in front of you on the screen instead of scribbled on that Taco Bell napkin or in another application that stops you from interfacing with GarageBand. Just head on over to the Menu Bar and select Window>Notepad.
Smaller GarageBand Project Files
If you’re sharing your project files with band mates over the Internet, sending the larger files can be a huge pain. Thankfully Apple has used some magical Pixies’ dust and made those files smaller.
New artist lessons include Tom Sawyer by Rush and Soul Meets Body by Death Cab for Cutie
Whether you’re into Prog rock or Indie, you should be happy with the new lessons available in GarageBand. Apple says we can expect more. Hopefully they’re right, and hopefully one of them is Prince. Seriously, how rad would it be to have Prince teach you Purple Rain?
Pretty darn rad.
Magic GarageBand Got Easier
Magic GarageBand was a pain to use before. You’d click on an instrument and maybe a few minutes later, it would switch over. Now the instruments switch over at the beginning of the next measure. It just seems more
iPad and iPhone as MIDI Controllers
Using Wi-Fi you can setup your iPad, iPod touch, or iPhone as a MIDI device if you have an app installed that utilizes OSC.
This is especially helpful if you want to play the piano but hate the keyboard version in GarageBand and you don’t have the money to go out and buy a MIDI keyboard for a few projects.
The apps will need an OSC server on your Mac. Some apps work with Pure Data, while others work best with OSCulator. Either way, you’ll be controlling GarageBand with your iPad or iPhone from across the room.
If you’re feeling like Wi-Fi just won’t cut it, Line 6 has the MIDI Mobilizer dock accessory.
Feeling a little Mozart?
Add a Software Instrument. Play your song then click on the Scissors/edit button in the lower left hand corner. Then click on the score button. Now you can adjust the score of your masterpiece.
Select and drag your notes or Command+click to add new notes.
Adjust Audio in your Videos
Flex Time isn’t just for music.
In the Menu Bar go to Track > Show Movie Track
Open the Media Browser and click on the Movies tab. Grab one of your videos and drop it into the movie track.
Click on the edit Scissors at the bottom left of the GarageBand window and now you can stretch out the audio of your movie with Flex Time.
Just like your music, you can extend the length of your movie’s audio, including your dialogue. Yeah, it’s fun to make your words last 20 seconds. Especially if it’s a voice over. Besides the fun factor, this can be helpful for ADR that’s already tied to a video you have.
Oh, and you can score your video here too.