GarageBand Creative Projects

About this workshop

GarageBand is a fantastic resource for any music teacher and has hundreds of possibilities for curriculum integration. From arranging and composing with loops and recording your own original material, to making backing tracks or scoring films, GarageBand does (almost!) everything.

Who is this workshop for?

This course is best suited to music teachers of middle school students.


There are no pre-requisites for this workshop.

Workshop length and delivery

This workshop is available in a full-day (6-hour) or half-day (3-hour) format. It can also be adapted and delivered lecture-style.

Preferred full-day format is as follows (the start time is negotiable and breaks can be adapted to your school day timetable):

  • 9am-10.30am Session 1
  • Morning tea
  • 11am-12.30pm Session 2
  • Lunch
  • 1.30-3pm Session 3

The half-day workshop is a 3-hour session with a 15-20 minute break in the middle. Workshop content will be reduced to allow for the shorter time.

Workshop Requirements

  • Hands-on workshops: Mac computer lab or laptops – preferably one per person
  • MIDI keyboards optional
  • Software required: GarageBand
  • Please note: this workshop is not suited to the iPad version of Garageband (see iPad workshop)
  • For the presenter: data projector and speakers, a table, access to a powerpoint, wireless internet access if possible

Workshop Outline

The full-day workshop will be broken into 3 parts:

Session 1: Composing the blues

Using the 12 Bar Blues as our basis, we’ll learn how to start a new project and use loops to construct a blues bass line. Discover how to transpose and edit audio and create a fade-in and fade-out. Learn how to record your own MIDI drum part and save it to the loop library for future use in other projects. Extend your song by adding new sections. Learn how to add an audio track so you can record voice, guitar or another live instrument. Save your project and share/export the final product.

GarageBand skills covered include the following:

  • how to start a new project
  • changing project settings
  • learn how to navigate the loop browser
  • create your own original loops and add them to your content library
  • add new tracks
  • change instrument sounds
  • record from a MIDI keyboard or the Musical Typing window
  • edit MIDI parts
  • share your music

Session 2: Remixing

This session will begin by looking at arranging techniques and compare multiple versions of a single song. Remixing is a great way to teach students arranging techniques – such as layering, changing key, altering tempo, incorporating different musical styles, harmonies and texture – using technology. Import a classical-style MIDI file and transform it by chopping up the parts, copying sections, adding a backing in a new style and altering instrumentation. Then create your own remix of provided audio stems (the separate instrumental and vocal tracks from a recording).

GarageBand skills include:

Skills covered:
  • importing MIDI files
  • editing loops
  • beat-mapping audio loops
  • saving loops into the library
  • layering
  • selecting and changing instruments
  • adding effects
  • fade-ins and fade-outs
  • volume and panning envelopes
  • using notation
  • mixing skills
  • saving and exporting projects

Session 3: Radio shows and podcasting

Podcasting is an excellent group activity that allows students to research a music topic and present their findings as a radio show. Students can take on a range of tasks: researching, scripting, narration, creating or finding background music. Discover how to record narration in a busy classroom and how to edit the results. Add in some intro and outro music and create fade-ins and outs. Lastly, discover ways you can expand your content library with a range of free music and loops that are copyright-free or Creative Commons licensed – useful for both podcasting and remixing projects.

Provided Materials

  • Full workshop notes provided in a digital format (PDF)
  • Useful links to follow-up reading and videos where applicable
  • Professional development certificates for all attendees (provided upon request)

I’m interested in this workshop. What’s next?

1. Check the Upcoming Events page for scheduled public workshops.

2. Book a workshop for your school (minimum booking 3 hours). Contact Katie to arrange a time.

Make workshop enquiry

Online Course Version

An online course version of this workshop is in development. More information will be available soon.

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