App Review: GarageBand

For less than five bucks, the Garageband App on the iPad is an amazing steal. I hadn’t quite realized it until I sat down yesterday morning to work on a new song that my guitarist/friend John had started writing as a sort of theme song for our band, Duke Rushmore. The idea is to have a short, jumpy song to get us into the night. He asked me to write some lyrics, and I decided to use GarageBand on the iPad to replicate his riff and add some drums.

I am still waiting for an adaptor that will allow me to connect my Snowball Microphone directly into the iPad, so I had to bounce down tracks and email the master file to my laptop, where I worked on adding the vocals. But the music was all done directly on the iPad. I really love the drum feature, which is built as an intuitive touchscreen creator. You move elements of the drums around a cartesian coordinate system (loud/soft, simple/complex) and the beat changes. For the bass and keyboards, I turned off the automatic chords (which are fun to play with) and plucked strings/hit chords and notes on the keyboard to create the music, and while it is not perfect, it worked for a demo.

I also handed the app to my 8 year old son and my 12 year old son, and within minutes, they were creating songs, and having a blast. It’s that simple to use. And I like the feature that allows you to email the file or set up an account on Soundcloud to instantly share the music that way, too. There’s a lot to like, and for $4.99 — it’s got to be on the best deals out there.

Here is the song that I ended up with: Dancing with the Duke. Remember, it’s only a demo. We’re going to funk it up a whole lot more than this.

Peace (in the muse),
PS — this is a great tutorial site for the app.


  1. Don’t miss out that it’s a universal app, and runs on the iPhone and iPod touch. As a past music teacher I see it as an amazing app.

    And it still runs on the iPad 1.

  2. Both versions included, no additional charge.

    There’s a jam feature when you have multiple devices that I’ve been dying to try out too. 🙂

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