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Introduction: Getting Started

Introduction: Getting Started

Welcome to the official training course for GarageBand 2, Apple’s dynamic and powerful music arrangement software. This book is a detailed guide to recording, arranging, and mixing music using GarageBand, instrument recordings, and the library of more than 1000 royalty-free Apple Loops that is included with the software. It is based on the premise that a training book should go beyond a basic tour of the application by providing you with practical techniques that you will use on a daily basis to add professional-quality music and sound effects to your projects.

Whether you are a seasoned composer or have never written a piece of music before, you will learn how to use GarageBand for a variety of real-world scenarios, including recording, arranging, and mixing music from scratch. You’ll work with Real Instruments, MIDI Software Instruments, and prerecorded Apple Loops to edit music and add effects that sweeten your finished songs. Finally, you’ll export your finished music to iTunes, where you’ll learn to share it with the other iLife applications.

The Methodology

This book emphasizes hands-on training. Each exercise is designed to help you learn the application inside and out, starting with the basic interface and moving on to advanced music editing, arranging, and mixing techniques. The book assumes a basic level of familiarity with the Apple OS X operating system. If you are new to GarageBand, it would be helpful for you to start at the beginning and progress through each lesson in order, since each lesson builds on information learned in previous ones. If you are already familiar with GarageBand, you can start with any section and focus on that topic.

Course Structure

Each of the nine lessons in this book focuses on a different aspect of creating music with GarageBand 2. Each lesson expands on the basic concepts of the program, giving you the tools to use GarageBand for your own projects.

The lessons in this book are informally divided into four groups or sections:

  • Lessons 12: Learning the interface and working in the Timeline

  • Lessons 35: Using the different types of GarageBand musical regions, including Software Instruments, Real Instruments, and Apple Loops

  • Lessons 68: Arranging, mixing, and exporting a finished song

  • Lesson 9Appendix: Advanced GarageBand tips and techniques and the Jam Packs

System Requirements

Before beginning to use Apple Training Series: GarageBand 2, you should have a working knowledge of your computer and its operating system. Make sure that you know how to use the mouse and the standard menus and commands and also how to open, save, and close files. If you need to review these techniques, see the printed or online documentation included with your system.

Basic system requirements for GarageBand 2 are as follows:

  • Mac OS X version 10.3.4 or later.

  • GarageBand can be installed on a Macintosh computer with at least a 600 MHz G3 processor.

  • At least 256 megabytes (MB) of physical RAM, 512 (MB) recommended.

  • DVD drive required to install GarageBand.

  • For use of Software Instruments, a Macintosh G4 or G5.

  • In order to make full use of all features of GarageBand, a screen resolution of 1024 × 768 pixels or more is recommended.

  • Approximately 4.3 GB of free disk space to install the GarageBand application and media.

System Requirements for Software Instruments

Software Instruments require a Macintosh G4 or G5 and at least 256 MB of physical RAM. If you are working on a G3, you will not be able to play or record Software Instruments in GarageBand. You will be able to open the song; you just won’t be able to play it without overloading your processor.

If you are working with a slower computer, follow along with the exercises in the book using the actual lessons to learn how to work with Software Instruments. Then, download the alternative G3 version of the projects from this book’s companion Web site, www.peachpit.com/ats.gb2. The G3 versions of the songs there are recreations of the songs using Real Instrument regions instead of Software Instrument regions. You will be able to play the songs in the G3 project to hear the different tracks and the finished songs.

If you are working with a slower computer, you will find some useful tips and techniques for dealing with slower computers in the first part of Lesson 9.

Hardware Compatibility

GarageBand can operate with any Core Audio- and Core MIDI-compliant audio interface, USB MIDI interface, or even a microphone, keyboard or guitar with the correct adapter. You may need to install additional drivers from the manufacturer of the audio interface in order to provide full Mac OS X support.

For a list of supported audio and MIDI interfaces that work with GarageBand, see the GarageBand Web site at www.apple.com/ilife/garageband/accessories.html.

Installing GarageBand

To install GarageBand, double-click the GarageBand installer and follow the instructions that appear.

If you see a message that you do not have sufficient privileges to install this software, click the lock icon in the installer window and enter an administrator name and password. The administrators of your computer are shown in the Accounts pane of System Preferences.

The installer places the Instrument Library, the Apple Loops Library, and the index for the Apple Loops Library in the /Library/Application Support/GarageBand folder on your computer’s hard drive. Do not move them from this location.


The GarageBand loops, on the other hand, are handled differently in GarageBand 2. In fact, GarageBand 2 has actually changed the format and storage location for loops. If you install GarageBand 2 on a machine that already had GarageBand 1, it doesn’t move the old loops to the new location; it leaves them in their original location, and installs the new loops in a new location.

Copying the Lesson Files

This book includes an ATS_GarageBand CD-ROM containing all the files you’ll need to complete the lessons. Inside the Lessons folder are Lesson subfolders organized by lesson number. Within each numbered Lesson subfolder, you will find projects for each exercise.

When you install these files on your computer, it’s important to keep all of the numbered Lessons subfolders together in the main Lessons folder on your hard drive. If you copy the Lessons folder directly from the CD-ROM to your hard drive, you should not need to reconnect any media files or have problems opening projects.

Installing the Lesson Files

Put the ATS_GarageBand CD-ROM into your computer’s CD-ROM drive.

Create a folder on your hard drive called GarageBand_Book_Files. Drag the Lessons folder from the CD to the GarageBand_Book_Files folder.

To begin each lesson, launch GarageBand. Then follow the instructions in the exercises to open the project files for that lesson.

About the Apple Training Series

GarageBand is part of the official training series for Apple iLife applications developed by experts in the field and certified by Apple Computer. The lessons are designed to let you learn at your own pace. Although each lesson provides step-by-step instructions for creating specific projects, there’s room for exploration and experimentation. You can progress through the book from beginning to end, or dive right into the lessons that interest you most. It’s up to you.

For those who prefer to learn in an instructor-led setting, Apple also offers training courses at Apple Authorized Training Centers worldwide. These courses, which use the Apple Training Series books as their curriculum, are taught by Apple Certified Trainers and balance concepts and lectures with hands-on labs and exercises. Apple Authorized Training Centers have been carefully selected and have met Apple’s highest standards in all areas, including facilities, instructors, course delivery, and infrastructure. The goal of the program is to offer Apple customers, from beginners to the most seasoned professionals, the highest quality training experience.

To find an Authorized Training Center near you, go to www.apple.com/software/pro/training.


Apple Training Series: GarageBand 2 is not intended to be a comprehensive reference manual, nor does it replace the documentation that comes with the application. For comprehensive information about program features, refer to these resources:

  • The Reference Guide. Accessed through the GarageBand Help menu, the Reference Guide contains a complete description of all features.

  • Apple’s Web site: www.apple.com.

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