- Goodwin Elementary School

6 How to Record an Improvisation Track in “Garage Band” With the Source
Originating In “Google Drive”, “Google Classroom”, or “i-Cloud Drive”
Set Up Procedures for a Recording Track and a “Non-Garage Band” Resource Audio File
Go to my songs.
Touch the “+” at the top left hand corner of your screen and select a "Create New Song".
In "Tracks”, select the black and white piano key picture titled "Keyboard".
Touch the "metronome" icon (the blue triangle) at the top right corner of your screen, turning it white.
Touch the "wrench" (to the left of the circled “?”) at the top right corner.
Then, under "Settings", turn the "Count – In" off by sliding the slider to the left (turning it white).
Also touch "Metronome Sound" and then touch the bottom choice "Visual Only", placing a “checkmark”
at its right end in that window. Touch anywhere outside of the "Metronome" window to move on to
the next task.
Return to the "Settings" window (the "wrench") and go down to about the middle to the word “Key”
and set up the appropriate key using the “Key Selection” window. Also, (if necessary) you can
predetermine your resource song's tempo, and adjust that number by selecting "Tempo" just above the
"Key" selection option. Touch anywhere outside of that window to move on to the next task.
While you are still at the "Instrument" window, in the middle of the screen touch the "Scale" button
(which is the third button from the right). Note: In addition to the word “Scale”, you will also see two
quarter notes on the left side of that button.
You must set up the appropriate "grey" keyboard by the selecting the correct scale or mode from the list
given to you at the bottom right corner of your screen. Most of my arrangements have the key and
scale type (and sometimes tempo marking) included in their title.
Now touch the center button in the middle of your screen ("Glissando") changing it to “Scroll". Touch
any grey key at the bottom of your screen and slide your finger (probably to the right). You want to set
up a lower “tonic” pitch. These keys are indicated by the darker grey shading and are identified by a
letter (key) and a number (I like octave “2”) on the bottom.
Press the i-Pad’s "side button" returning you to the home screen. Locate the Google Drive, Google
Classroom, or i-Cloud Drive icon on your i-Pad and touch it.
Locate the audio track you desire and touch it. You will then be taken to the "playback screen" in
Google Drive, Google Classroom, or i-Cloud Drive. Slide the timeline marker (white circle near the
bottom of the screen) all the way to the left returning it to the “0:00” position. Note: For this to work
you must select an audio file where a "lead in", or silent section, has been added to the beginning of its
How to Create Your Own ‘click track” and Set Up Garage Band to Record or Edit an Improvisation Solo
In order to have an editing "point of reference", first set up a “click track” by recording a four count rhythm
pattern (Quarter, Quarter, Quarter, Rest) once you hear the music beginning to play.
Touch the "play" button at the bottom center of the Google Drive, Google Classroom, or i-Cloud Drive
playback screen. After “0:01” is showing at the bottom left of your screen, immediately touch your i-Pads
side button to return to the home screen and select Garage Band. Once in the Garage Band, go to the top
center of either the editing or instrument window and touch the “Record” button (the red circle).
Listen to your resource song until you have the tempo solidly in your head and then start tapping the rhythm
indicated above. You do not have to lay down a “click track” for the entire song, about 1/3 to 1/2 should be
sufficient. We will later use this “click track” to match up with the “click track” from the opening section of
your improvisation solo.
On the left side of your screen, in the center of the "instrument picture" bar, you'll see three short parallel
lines. Hold the three lines down with your finger (or anywhere along the vertical light and dark grey border)
and slide your finger to the right. This will open up the "track editing" window.
In your first track (your “self-created” click track) will be the picture of a piano on a grey background. Go all
the way to the left and touch the “mute” button (the “slashed speaker” icon). This will silence the “click
track” you just recorded since you will only need it for editing purposes later on.
Go to the bottom left of your screen and touch the “+”, adding a second piano track. This will take you to the
"Instrument Selection" screen and once again touch the icon with the black and white keys labeled
You will be taken to the default setting of the traditional piano with black and white keys. We need to return
to the correct grey keyboard setting by once again touching the "Scale” button located at the right side of
your screen, just above the “black and white” keys. When the "scale selection" window appears (bottom
right) re-select the same scale or mode setting you did earlier. The light and dark grey keyboard will reappear automatically on your “Instrument Window”.
In the center of your screen, just above the grey keys, once again touch the "Glissando" changing it to read
"Scroll". Also, double check your “measure scroller” and be sure it is located at the first bar position (the
“#1”near the top left corner below “My Songs”) by sliding it all the way back to the left, or touching the "back
to the beginning" icon (the backward triangle, on its side, pointing to a line) located at the top center of your
“Instrument” screen.
Press the i-Pad’s "side button" returning you to the home screen. Locate the Google Drive, Google Classroom,
or i-Cloud Drive icon wherever your resource audio track is located, and open it.
Return to the "playback screen" in Google Drive, Google Classroom, or i-Cloud Drive and repeat the same
procedures as you did before.
This time however, “tap out” your “click track” rhythm (same as before) prior to beginning your
improvisation solo. When improvising, you never start soloing at the very beginning of a song. There will
always be a “lead in” or "introduction" first. You will continue to “tap out” the four count pattern until you
are about ready to begin your improvisation solo. The opening “click track” section of your improvisation
solo will be needed to line up with the earlier “self-created” one later. HAPPY RECORDING!!!!
Sending Your Improvisation Solo As an Assignment, or To Be Considered For Posting
After you have finished recording your improvisation solo, touch the “editing window” icon (the “stacked bricks”)
and be sure everything looks correct. Then touch “My Songs” at the top left corner of your screen.
BE SURE to watch where your project file “shrinks down to” in “My Songs”. Now touch ONLY the lettering below
the project picture’s or icon. After the “alphabet” keyboard appears, you can title your project and add any
information needed to send out the audio file you just created. When you are finished, touch “Done” on the blue
button at the right side of the alphabet keyboard.
Now touch the word “Select” at the top right corner of your screen. All project files in “My Songs” will begin
Touch the recently finished project’s icon, creating a blue outline around it. Next, touch the “up arrow inside a
square” icon at the top left corner of “My Songs”. You will be given several options, including; e-mail, i-Tunes, iCloud Drive, “Air Drop” and others. Select which one is appropriate for where you wish to send your file and then
touch “Done”, which is now at the left corner of your screen.
All project files will then stop “jiggling” and you are now ready to move on to your next “Garage Band” project.
How To Line Up Your Created “click track” and Resource Track With Your Recorded Improvisation Solo
After importing the desired resource track from your Garage Band's iTunes library, slide that audio track
all the way to the left or to the beginning of the project.
First, line up the resource audio file with your own created "click track". Place your thumb and pointer
finger in the center of your instrument screen and spread them out making the measure sizes as large as
possible. This will help make your editing simpler and a lot more accurate. Find a prominent downbeat
in the original song you are improvising with and move the “measure cursor” to that exact spot. Using
the vertical line extending down the screen from your cursor, line up the first of three in a row sound
wave “dashes” with your created "click track".
Go back to the beginning and listen to those two tracks together to be sure they sound together
throughout the song. You will not have to listen to the entire song to do this, just enough to feel
confident that you have successfully aligned the created “click track” with the original resource audio
Next mute the created "click track" and un-mute solo improvisation audio track. Listen to these two
tracks and decide about where you want the improvisation introduction to end and your solo to begin.
Approximate where this will occur on your measure number time line and advance the beginning of
your “solo” waves to that position. Now a trial and error process begins. There are four counts in each
measure and you will have to decide whether to begin on count 1, 2, 3, 4, or one of the upbeats in
between. When you think you're close to the correct spot, slide back to somewhere near the beginning
and visually realign your improvisation solo’s “click track” with the one you created. Go back and check
the beginning of your solo once again and it should line up exactly with the resource audio file.
Now mute the resource track and then visually line up the created “click track” with your improvisation
solo’s "click track". Adjust the position of your improvisation track if needed. Double check by listening
to both tracks to be sure they also sound together. Note: The two “click tracks” might be a little off in
the beginning, after a while though your two “tapping” tempos will become more consistent, making it
easier to line them both up.
A blues song is fun to improvise and an excellent way to learn the skill of recording and editing. Since
the "triplet feel” is so defined in the “blues”, it is easy to locate the down beats and to hear if you are off
when playing the resource and improvisation solo tracks together.
Take your thumb and index finger, place them once again on your screen and pinch both toward the
center. This will make the measure sizes smaller and easier to see. Scroll to where you see your click
track ended and your solo improvisation began. Select an "open area" (no sound waves or white
dashes) in your improvisation track and place your measure cursor there by touching that point on your
measure time line. Press the green background of your solo track a second time and a horizontal list of
“choices” will appear just above it. Touch the word "Split" and you will see another cursor just below the
first, this time white with a picture of the pair scissors inside. Touch and hold the scissors down with
your finger and slide it down two times creating a "split" in that track.
Touch the left side of your improvisation track (the side where your “click track” is located) and you will
notice a white outline around that portion of the improvisation track. Touch inside the highlighted
green field and you will once again get a horizontal choice menu directly above.
This time hit the delete button of the "click track" portion of your improvisation track (which is the one
you used to line up with your original "click track" with) and it will disappear.
Note: I suggest you keep the "click track" you created and just leave it on “mute”. If you need to edit
or match up any “spots” later, having the original “click track” sound wave "dashes" can be a
tremendously helpful visual aid. If you insist upon deleting the created “click track” anyway, this is what
you must do.
Touch the picture of the piano on your originally created "click track" turning the "editing window"
portion of that track a light grey. Touch the picture of the piano a second time and you'll get a choice
menu just to the right of that piano picture. Select "Delete" from that list and that entire track will then
Finally, touch the "go back to the beginning" icon (the backward triangle facing left toward a vertical
line) and then hit the play icon (the triangle next to the last icon, facing toward the right).
Take some time to listen to the improvisation solo and resource tracks together and balance their
volumes to your satisfaction. This can be done by using the volume sliders in each of the "editing
windows" located on the left side of both tracks. HAPPY LISTENING!!!!!!
For Added Fun:
If you are not already in the "Instrument" window, touch your improvisation solo track's piano picture
(highlighted in grey) and then touch the little piano picture icon at the top left of your screen. Now
touch the picture of the piano labeled "Grand Piano" in the middle of the instrument window screen.
You will then see a whole series of instrument categories, as well as individual instrument selections in
each category. While you are listening to your improvisation solo, experiment with the different sounds
created by this large variety of instruments available to you in Garage Band.