9 ways to create spooky music sounds for soundscapes and storytelling

Updated October 2020
Note: this lesson was originally created back in 2013.  Although the GarageBand screen looks a little different in the videos below, you and your students should still be able to follow along.  The written instructions in the handout give generic directions so they should still make sense.  

Back in 2013 I put together a series of lessons for an ebook titled iPad Projects for the Music Classroom.  Since that time, all of the projects from the ebook, plus the video tutorials and other resources have been moved into the Midnight Music Community and made available to members. A more recent version of the GarageBand projects that were part of the ebook have been created and now form part of the newer Music Teacher’s Guide To GarageBand course and lesson plan collection.

This spooky music project was one of the first I shared and it is always popular around Halloween.  It’s a simple project which is easy to adapt and it works well in the music classroom and also in the general classroom. You can download a PDF copy of this sample iPad music project at the bottom of this post.

Using the spooky music creation techniques suggested in the video below, students can make their own programmatic music for storytelling activities or for movie soundtracks.

The spooky soundtrack that students create can be paired with a scary-looking image, or a short video clip by using video editing software.

In the video you’ll learn how to make these spooky sounds:

1. The Suspenseful Drone

2. The Suspenseful Drone version #2

3. The Dissonant Drone

4. Creepy Pizzicato Footsteps

5. Terrified Heartbeat

6. The Erie Piano

7. Crunchy Chords

8. Dramatic Diminished 9th

9. The Monster Roar



Using your spooky sounds: an example

I put together a short example project using the spooky sounds in a storytelling activity which you can take a look at in the video below. I recorded the narration on the top track using the Audio option in GarageBand’s instrument screen. The spooky sounds were recorded on the remaining tracks.



Download your copy

Would you like to take a copy of the Spooky Music for GarageBand on iPad lesson with you? Click the button below and a copy of this will be sent directly into your inbox.

Click here to download

Looking for More Resources for Music Teachers?

Hello! I’m Katie Wardrobe – an Australian music technology trainer and consultant with a passion for helping music teachers through my business Midnight Music.

I’m a qualified teacher but no, I don’t currently teach in a school. I help teachers through my online professional development space – the Midnight Music Community – where there are tutorial videos, courses, links and downloadable resources.

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