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Use Your iPad to Make a Music Album

Let your inner musician play out loud with the GarageBand app!

Tech has never been so good for up-and-coming musicians.

It wasn’t so long ago that becoming an artist … a painter, a published writer or a musician, meant that you had to have access to industry professionals. You had to find a teacher, and have the means and the time to pay that virtuoso of their craft for their expertise.

But, now? Artists have access to educational options all over the world—using their smartphones, laptops, and tablets. Want to learn how to play the sitar? Do a quick search for tutorials on YouTube. Or seek out a website with sitar tab charts. Or, find classes you want to take at Udemy.com. The options are almost endless!

For all the bad that comes with being connected (personal data breaches and internet trolls, for example), tech shines as a great leveler of the playing field. These days, it’s a real possibility that your favorite singer on the radio rose to fame due to YouTube exposure!

True, not everybody can expect their photos, ebooks, digital art or music to gain viral notoriety overnight, but there is another motivation behind using apps and devices to make and edit art: it’s just plain fun. And, hey, if you’re feeling proud of your work, you are only a couple of clicks away from sharing it with your social network!

One of the most popular apps for creating, editing and recording music is the Apple favorite, GarageBand. And, pssst…we’ve linked to a couple of great Android music recording app options at the bottom of the blog! 

About GarageBand          

The beauty of this iOS app is that musicians of any level can use it. Want to learn about tempo, recording, even playing instruments? GarageBand has you covered. Use the sounds already loaded into the app to make music, even if you’re not a musician! The app lets you turn your iPad or iPhone into a number of different musical instruments, “playing” and recording each instrument on the touch screen.

For those a little more advanced along their musical journey, GarageBand lets you create and edit songs—with real-world instruments—to make your own musical album!

Curious if making an album with the app was really as simple as it sounds, we asked singer-songwriter C.J. Lucas to put this feature of GarageBand to the test.

C.J. reported that she loved using the iPad to record her album! She’d been using her computer to make and edit music, but switching to the tablet gave her more freedom, and afforded her a more intimate interaction with her music. Also, the interface on the iPad vs. her Mac was more user-friendly for her.

She found that functions like ducking (automatically lowering background sound when the foreground sound is louder) and layering tracks, as well as cutting and splicing sections of her recordings, were pretty intuitive with GarageBand. For example, the app provides visual cues to work with, like color-coding for different types of tracks (Green for Touch instruments, purple for Guitar Amp or Audio Recorder.)

A tip from our musician: adapters and connections to improve your recording experience on the iPad

C.J. suggests buying an iRig Pre, which connects her studio-quality microphone to the iPad using an XLR connection.

You can use a simple microphone adapter, as well, but you won’t have the ability to use headphones to monitor sounds. 

The iPad does have a built-in microphone, but the sound quality really goes up with an external mic.

Getting Started with GarageBand

If you’re ready to give the app a try, follow these steps:

  1. Experiment! There are tons of different vocal and instrument sound effects to try.
  2. Use your layers. As you record each track, they appear as layers. Layer as many tracks as you want to add harmony, different instruments, drum loops, etc. (You can always mute a layer, or delete it entirely, if you’re experimenting!)
  3. Share the joy. Once you’re happy with your project, it’s easy to share the track with a friend through email, iTunes, iCloud, Google Drive or Dropbox.

It’s pretty simple to get started, but be prepared to spend hours in the GarageBand, once you fire it up! It makes DIY sound production pretty fun.

Once you’ve got a handle on the basic GarageBand functions, bring on the jam! You can connect up to three different Apple devices through wifi or Bluetooth for a jam session with this rockin’ app, with no real instruments required!

If you’re itching to make your own music, but don’t have an iPad, check out this article with suggestions on GarageBand alternatives for music production on Android, like Magix Music Maker Jam and PocketBand. They have functions similar to GarageBand, so you can get creative with your Android-powered tablet. 

What are you waiting for? It’s time to get going on your own musical album with GarageBand!

And, if you loved C.J.’s album, check her out on YouTube and give her all the likes!

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