Garageband Tutorial For Beginners: A Simple and Effective Guide

Garageband has seen its fair share of changes over the years, from introducing new features to releasing new versions; it’s hard to keep up with every single change and still be able to teach people how to use it with accuracy. 

There are many reasons why it’s been adopted so widely by music-makers of all levels, from professionals to beginners. Garageband offers various tools that allow users to quickly produce high-quality audio and music files, regardless of their prior experience with music editing software or instruments. So if you’re new to Garageband, don’t worry – this tutorial will get you up and running in no time.

What is GarageBand?

Garageband Interface

GarageBand is an application that Apple Inc developed. GarageBand allows users to easily make and share great-sounding music using their Macs, iPhones, iPads, iPod touch, or select Apple Watch models. In addition, users can create tracks with instruments, vocals, and more using just about any Mac or iOS device.

If you’re considering getting into music production, you’ve heard of Apple’s excellent Garageband app. Whether you want to use Garageband to produce songs and instrumentals or its loops and samples as the building blocks of your songwriting, it’s a potent and easy-to-use tool that can be fun to work with.

And you can use GarageBand on all your devices—you don’t have to buy separate versions for each one! It’s also free, so there’s no reason not to try it out. If you give it a chance, it may become a regular part of your musical routine. 

Downloading and Installing

Here’s a quick rundown of what you’ll need to start GarageBand. Mac users can download GarageBand 10 directly from Apple’s website, but if you plan to create any iOS music apps, it would be worth downloading and installing version 10.2. The users with windows PC can also use Garageband by following a few steps mentioned here.

The latter comes bundled with Logic Pro X—Apple’s professional audio editing application—and is available as a free upgrade for all customers who purchased an Intel-based Mac in 2012 or later. PC users should check out GarageBand 10 for Windows, also available via direct download from Apple’s site. Both versions are compatible with OS X Yosemite (10.10) and Windows 7 or higher; they also require at least 2GB of RAM and 20GB of storage space (Mac) / 4GB RAM (PC). 

If you don’t already own one, you will also need a USB microphone to record vocals or instruments. Lastly, we highly recommend using headphones when working with GarageBand. The program has some built-in speaker options that work fine for primary monitoring purposes, but nothing beats listening through high-quality headphones when recording or mixing your project.

The User Interface

GarageBand is a pretty straightforward app to understand. And it’s got a clean, intuitive user interface to help you quickly learn your way around. Let’s start with an overview of GarageBand’s various features.

First, look at GarageBand’s workspace – that area in front of you where all your songs come together. The workspace has five sections (the fifth being virtual instruments), each with its functionality. At first glance, they may seem like they overlap, but there’s no need to worry about getting confused. 

Each section serves its purpose – so don’t worry if something doesn’t make sense immediately. We will go over everything in detail below. Here’s what you can expect to see when looking at GarageBand’s workspace: 

1. Track List

This list shows every track available for your use in creating a song. There are several different types of tracks that we will cover later on, but for now, let’s focus on tracks that contain audio or MIDI information. 

You can create as many tracks as possible, though only twelve appear by default. To add more, click on New Track from GarageBand’s File menu. To delete a track from your project, select it and press Delete.

It is also easy to cut a track in Garageband; check our guide to know the process.

2. Timeline

This vertical line represents time itself! It starts at 0 seconds and ends at 10 minutes (if you have added any tracks). Click on Settings… in GarageBand’s View menu to change these values. In addition to changing your timeline length, you can adjust tempo here. 

3. Playhead

When recording new material into GarageBand, you can watch your play move along while using other tools such as Loop Browser and Virtual Instruments. Section 

4. Loop Browser

This tool allows you to browse through loops to find just the right piece of music for your project. Loops are pre-recorded pieces of music that you can then drag onto a track and modify to fit your needs. 

5. Instrument List

This area displays all virtual instruments currently available in GarageBand. Once again, we will talk more about these later on. Now that you know what parts of GarageBand’s workspace so, let’s start learning how to use them! First up is Tracks. Tracks place recorded audio and MIDI information into your songs. 

Understanding the Buttons

GarageBand comes with three main window panes. The Windowpane is where you can adjust your preferences, import sounds, view sample projects, etc. This window should be open by default when you first open GarageBand. 

The Media Browser pane displays all of your sounds arranged by instrument type. Here you will find loops and other available instruments in your project. Finally, the Tracks pane is where you’ll do most of your work in GarageBand. It contains a list of tracks (audio recordings) you can add to your song. 

Each track includes several instruments corresponding to different audio files (e.g., guitar, piano, drum kit). When an instrument is selected from a track, it appears as an icon in the Tracks pane on top of that track. 

By clicking on one of these icons, you select it as part of your song. You can also drag and drop instruments into a new track or rearrange them within a track. Then, click on any blank area in your Tracks pane to start recording. You will then see a red circle appear underneath it; at that point, you have begun recording! 

Selecting Instruments

When you first open GarageBand, you’ll be asked to select from various instruments. These include guitars, pianos, drums, keyboards, bass, and percussion. We recommend choosing some simple instruments if you’re starting with the music-making software.

You can learn to make basic beats and melodies without worrying about more advanced sounds. Once you’ve mastered these basics, moving on to more complex sounds will be much easier. 

Remember that most popular songs are written using only a few instruments. Don’t get overwhelmed by all of your options! Start small and work your way up. Here is a list of our favorite instrument choices for beginners: 

  • Piano.
  • Drums.
  • Electric.
  • Guitar Strings. 
  • Acoustic Guitar.
  • Synth Keyboard.

You’ll be guided through a series of screens where you can customize your sound and choose which tracks to use in your song. Most beginners should start with an intro track before moving on to another instrument track. It doesn’t matter what order you add these tracks; they can permanently be moved around later if necessary.

Saving your Project

Save is a good idea no matter how far along you are in your song. Press Command-S to save your project every time you make any change—at least once an hour. This will help ensure you don’t lose everything if something happens to your computer or files. 

And on a less dire note, if you ever want to come back and work on your project later, those files will be there waiting for you. In addition, it’s always a good idea to backup your music files by copying them onto an external hard drive or flash drive, so they aren’t lost in case of disaster. 

Cloud storage services like Google Drive and Dropbox allow you to access your music from anywhere with internet access; remember to back up these online files! Also, remember to save your songs regularly. Save after you add tracks and effects. Save after editing a track’s volume level or adding products to it. 


GarageBand is a free, easy-to-use tool for creating your music and other soundtracks. There’s no need to shell out hundreds of dollars for expensive recording software or equipment because Apple has made GarageBand available for iOS devices, including iPhones, iPads, iPod touches, and Mac computers. 

And while it might seem intimidating at first, with just a little knowledge, you can use GarageBand to create some fantastic tunes. Hope this article was proven helpful? If you have any queries, you can head to our FAQs page or Let us know if you have any questions or comments below.


Hello Readers! My name is Andy Cage, and I am the founder of I have completed my master's in music from Berklee College of music, Boston, and providing all music-related services professionally. I have been using Garageband Software for the last 7 years for all professional editing, so I thought to share my experience with music lovers through my blog. I love to discuss new things always about the music.

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