Song-Writing Made Simple

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We often hear about how easy it is for the average user to dive into one of Apple’s applications. But that message never hit home more dramatically for me than when my nine-year-old son started to teach me how to build songs in GarageBand.

I use GarageBand all the time to record riffs and solos, make loops and put my guitar overtop of guitarists like Eddie Van Halen and Zakk Wylde. I also lay down three of four tracks from my guitar and add some of the custom loops from one of Apple’s collections to build an entire song.

Frankly, for amateur musicians like myself, GarageBand has been indispensable.

Recently, my son Michael asked me for one of the loops I made of me playing guitar. I dropped it on my wife’s desktop where he was using GarageBand and to my surprise he was able to build a song that sounded as good, if not better, than the one I had made. He used effects, drums, other guitars, and many other instruments to make what was initially a hard-hitting guitar riff into an eclectic mix of heavy metal meets electronica.

People who buy the iLife suite for iMovie, iDVD, and iPhoto but never bother to launch GarageBand probably don’t realize how user-friendly Apple’s music-creation software actually is. (If you’ve been reluctant to give the app a try, you really should look at our excerpt from Jeff Tolbert’s ebook, Take Control of Making Music with GarageBand for a hands-on lesson with GarageBand.) What was amazing to me about my son’s GarageBand experience was how fast he took to the application. He quickly figured out how to add loops, change the position of the loops to allow for the different sounds to interact, extend loops and add sections of the loop in different places on the timeline.

It seems strange for me to be taking musical advice from a nine-year-old, but that’s the beauty of using a well thought out application—anyone can be a musician. Give GarageBand a try, and you'll discover the same thing.

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