9 Things You Didn't know about GarageBand for iPad

While preparing for an all-day iPads in the Music Classroom workshop, I ended up reading pretty much all of the GarageBand for iPad manual. Reading manuals is something I quite enjoy (strange, I know) because I always manage to pick up new tips. I thought it might be useful to share some of the less-obvious GarageBand for iPad tricks here.

If you have any other GarageBand tips, please share them in the comments below.

1. Drums #1: play patterns with ease

If you touch and hold two fingers on the bass drum, it will play a repeating patten (the first and third beat in the bar). Move your fingers apart slightly to play crotchets and further apart again to play quavers. It also works on the snare, but the repeating pattern is faster: crotchets, quavers and semiquavers.

2. Drums #2: increase and decrease volume

When playing a repeating pattern with two fingers, slide your finger upwards to make the pattern louder or downwards to make the pattern softer.

3. Strings #1: tips for pizz

When playing pizzicato chords on the Smart Strings, it’s all about the release. The chord sounds on the release of your finger, not on the tap. Touching different sections of the chord strip allows you to play different inversions of the same chord.

4. Strings #2: all about arco

Stroke your finger up and down the chord strip in the Smart Strings to play sustained chords. Stroking faster will result in a louder chord and stroking slower will give a softer chord.

5. Strings #3: re-voice a chord

You can alter the voicings of chords in the Smart Strings by tapping on the instrument icons at the top of the screen to remove them from the chord.  For instance, remove the upper strings by tapping on the violins and the viola so that you’re left with a moody, dark chord played by only the celli and basses.

6. Quick switch: track view to instrument

When in Track View, you can double-tap on instrument icon to go quickly to Instrument View.

7. Instant playback

When in Track View you can double-tap in the ruler at the top of the screen to move the playhead to that position and start playback all in one go.

8. Keyboard: customise and save keyboard sounds

A number of the keyboard instruments allow you to customise their playback sound. You can add reverb, change the attack, add delay and so on. Once you’ve made some changes you can save your settings: tap the instrument icon in the middle of the screen, tap Save and give your custom instrument a name. Tap Done and your new instrument will appear in the Custom tab.

9. Edit guitar chords

When using the Smart Guitar (or any of the other melodic Smart instruments), you can edit the chords that are available. Even if the ones you need are already present, you may want to edit the order in which they appear so that it’s easier for students to play. To edit chords, tap the Song Settings button (looks like a spanner) and then tap Edit Chords. Tap one of the chord strips on the instrument and then edit the chord by swiping the chord wheels above. You can choose the chord, its quality and an alternate bass note.  Editing the chord strips in one instrument will edit them for all Smart Instruments in that project.

What about you?

Do you have any tips of your own that you’d like to share? Add them in the comments section below.

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