What should you know about GarageBand

GarageBand: The best tips and tricks for the perfect song in the digital music studio

Recording studio and music school for five euros. That's how succinctly Apple's music program GarageBand can be described. With it, even beginners can easily compose their own music - provided you have a little musical flair. You don't even need a real instrument for this. Because virtual instruments are integrated into the program. You play these with the Mac keyboard. It would of course be easier and more intuitive with a real keyboard for the first steps - but being able to play with the Apple keyboard is still practical. In this way, you not only play the keyboard of a piano, but also the strings of a guitar or the head of a drum kit. To record vocals or spoken texts for a podcast, the internal microphone is sufficient at the beginning, if available.

Connect the instrument

If you want to play real instruments and have GarageBand record their sounds, connect them to your Mac. This works with a keyboard, for example via a USB input. The easiest way to connect a guitar to the line-in connection. To do this, you usually need an adapter from a large to a small blade connector. There is also an intermediary device, a so-called audio interface. You can connect this to the Mac via line-in, USB, Firewire or Thunderbolt input. Connect the instruments to the audio interface.

Integrated loops

To make it particularly easy, Apple has integrated a large number of loops. A loop is a fixed sequence of notes from one or more instruments. You can use these as an accompaniment or compose a piece of music from them alone, without having to play an instrument yourself. Also possible: You load a piece of music by a well-known artist from your hard drive and experiment with it a little. This option is particularly useful if you want to create your own ringtone of a favorite hit for your iPhone.


GarageBand creates a separate track for everything you play, whether it's played in software or with a real instrument. You can edit these specifically; shorten it, change the tone with a filter or vary the volume. The program plays tracks that are on top of each other at the same time. You can record instrument by instrument one after the other and then combine them into a complete song. You can add vocals just as easily.

GarageBand on the iPad

GarageBand is also available as an app for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch (4.99 euros). The app comes with so-called smart instruments. These can play chords fully automatically. You change them with just one tap. In this way, convincing melodies can be composed quickly and easily. As on the Mac, you can arrange individual recordings on the iPad in different tracks to create a complete work. Additional loops and filters are also available for this. Also possible: connecting a guitar.

Logic Pro X is an alternative to GarageBand (199.99 euros). To make it easier to switch from GarageBand, users will find their GarageBand projects just as they were when they opened in Logic. It also displays the user interface that you are already familiar with the first time you use Logic Pro. Later you can activate advanced functions.
Logic Pro has many professional tools that you can use to create and shape sounds, such as drum kits, rhythm sounds, MIDI and audio effects plug-ins, and additional loops. To get more out of your own Performances and combine them into songs, Logic Pro has precise tools and take folders.

You can edit pieces of music created on the iPad on the Mac. The data exchange takes place via iCloud Drive. However, the way is a one-way street. Once music has been transferred from the iOS device, the Mac cannot resend it to the iOS app.

Workshop: How to compose your first song

Workshop: How to import a song from the iOS app

Workshop: How to make a ringtone for your iPhone