Monday, October 21, 2013

2013 workshop: Creating Digital Music 101: Using GarageBand

This is my "ECA"/ volunteer activity this year.

2013 Creating Digital Music 101 - GarageBand

From the GoLibrary programme blurb:
This programme will focus on the use of Apple's GarageBand, covering the basics of the software and how it can be used to unleash your creativity. If you are a beginner with no formal musical training and have not used any Digital Audio Workstation or software, this session is perfect for you.

You should bring your own MacBook (preferably with version 11 of GarageBand). Participants should be familiar with using Mac OS X and above. Please bring along your own earphones.

At the end of the session, you would have gained knowledge of GarageBand and learned the rudiments of using the software to create a music track of your own composition using built-in instruments and loops.

Limited to 20 participants. The workshop is free but registration is required. Should the programme be fully registered and you would like to be placed on the waiting list, please email your name and contact number to with the programme title as the subject.

This programme is part of the technological arts quarter (Oct - Dec) and is brought to you by "Fill Yourself with the Arts". Look out for exciting programmes during this period on the use of technology in the arts!

About the trainer:
Mr Ivan Chew aka the “Rambling Librarian”, is a self-taught musician, amateur poet and artist, who has published five digital music albums together with his band Starfish Stories, all produced with GarageBand

Last year's workshop worked out quite well, judging from the feedback forms. That participants were totally serious about learning how to use GarageBand was something I appreciated a lot.

I felt the only hitch was that most did not have their GarageBand loops installed before they came. We'll be informing registered users ahead of time (my colleague, Galvin, would be doing that actually -- he's the unsung hero behind the sessions).

The decision to design the workshop for Mac users only was a practical one. There are several nice Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) software out there, for Windows and Macs. Just that Macs already come pre-installed with GarageBand, and quite a few people started buying Macs.

I'm looking forward to conducting the session again. One bonus is that I'll have Chinmay Pendharkar helping me at the workshop. I got to know Chinmay some years back and he's always been generous with his time in helping with Creative Commons Singapore meetups, among a lot of volunteer activities he's involved on top of his day job. I asked Chinmay if he'd like to help share his experience in producing his podcasts for Tech65. Plus, he's a trained Acoustician.

Pictures from last year's session (courtesy of Galvin Soh):
Creating Digital Music 101: GarageBand, 10 Nov 2012

Creating Digital Music 101: GarageBand, 10 Nov 2012

The course outline, the same as last year's, is re-posted here for ease of reference:

Hour 1: Getting to know GB; learning the basics.
Hour 2: Composing your own track/ Some ‘audio production’ tips.
Hour 3: Continue + Showcase.

The no-frills outline:

Demo of a track composed in GB - 20mins
Musical concepts - “Bars”, “patterns”, “Even counts”
Layering concept - like photoshop

Pair up - check with a “musical buddy for the day”

Opening a new GB project (file names, tempo)
The GB environment and controls
File menu, add tracks, LCD, Loops, Instruments
Shortcut Keys - Copy, Paste, Undo, Redo, Zoom in/ Out

Preferences panel

Using loops to create music - 20mins
Change tempo
Drag loops into workspace
Extend loops
Edit - Split/ cut/ copy

Instruments - 20mins
Experiment with different instruments
Musical Typing
Changing MIDI notes

Individual Track controls
Effects (“i” Edit)

Audio Production tweaks