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How to build your first song from GarageBand Loops

GarageBand is incredibly easy to use, even if you have no musical experience, follow our step-by-step guide to creating your own songs using loops on your Mac.

GarageBand Tutorial - Using Loops - Featured

GarageBand Tutorial - Using Loops - Sidebar
GarageBand Tutorial - Using Loops - Featured
It can be a daunting experience starting to work with a new piece of software, and music-based apps can strike more fear than any other as there is an expectation that you need to be musically educated in order to have any success.
 This is absolutely untrue and Apple has built GarageBand specifically for those people that want to be musically creative, but lack that training. In order to achieve this they have created a set of loops which are a bit like musical lego blocks. You can just stack them together to create something of your own. What’s great about the system is that it’s so simple you can build really decent tunes using trial and error. Just preview your loops, drag them into the main interface and move them around as you please. They will all be played at the right tempo so everything is in time – all you have to do is find the ones that you think go best together.

GarageBand Tutorial - Using Loops - Step-by-Step

GarageBand Tutorial - Using Loops - Step 1

Step 1: Get picking

Load GarageBand from your Dock or Applications folder and you will see this window. Click on New Project on the left, then Loops and click Choose.

GarageBand Tutorial - Using Loops - Step 2

Step 2: Name, time, go

You now have to pick a name for your track and a location to save it. You can also change the tempo, time signature and key. Leave alone if you are unsure.


GarageBand Tutorial - Using Loops - Step 3

Step 3: So empty

You will now see a very empty interface. On the right are your Loops categories. Click on one of these to see individual loop details. All Drums is a good place to start.

GarageBand Tutorial - Using Loops - Step 4

Step 4: Missing loops?

If this is the first time you’ve loaded GarageBand you may find a bunch of missing loops. Click on the arrow here to download your loops for free from Apple.

GarageBand Tutorial - Using Loops - Step 5

Step 5: Follow the prompts

This interface will now appear prompting you to pick whether to download the loops now or later. Make your choice and then click OK.

GarageBand Tutorial - Using Loops - Step 6

Step 6: Fill it up

With your loops downloaded you can now simply drag and drop them into the main window in the middle section of the GarageBand screen.

GarageBand Tutorial - Using Loops - Step 7

Step 7: Quick copy and paste

Hold down the Alt key and you can drag a copy from your original loop allowing you to quickly stack them along the timeline and get building.

GarageBand Tutorial - Using Loops - Step 8

Step 8: Resize it

Use this slider at the bottom of the interface to zoom in and out of your arrangement. You can then see the whole structure of your song in more detail.

GarageBand Tutorial - Using Loops - Step 9

Step 9: Go nuts!

There are hundreds of loops in GarageBand of all different kinds. This is the chance to throw them all together, and create something amazing.

(Click the image below to zoom in and view the annotations)

GarageBand Tutorial - Using Loops - Annotated