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Songwriting & Music Production In GarageBand- A Total Guide!

Learn how to use the powerful tools that GarageBand offers for creative songwriting and high quality music production!
Dean Davis
2,999 students enrolled
English [Auto-generated] More
Master the GarageBand interface and be able to comfortably navigate its features
Discover and master six powerful songwriting tools that GarageBand offers you for creative songwriting
Learn to use the tools that GarageBand offers you for high quality music production (a beginner's guide to recording, editing, mixing, and mastering your music!)
Learn to build your own home studio from scratch using high quality, budget friendly equipment and learn to set it all up step by step!

Is this course for you??  Check out these reviews from recent students-

“Wow. I just learned more in 15 minutes than I did in an entire semester of a digital music class I took in college.”  -Jordan Miller

“I rarely leave reviews for anything but I had to leave one for this course!  I’ve always wanted to record my music but thought it was too complicated… This course helped me get past those misconceptions and I am now recording all the time with ease… This instructor is easy to follow and really funny which makes it fun to watch. And the quality of these video lessons are incredible… I would recommend it to anyone looking to grow in recording their own music through GarageBand.” -Austin St.Laurent

“Very informative, practical, easy to understand, funny and it’s getting me excited to write music!” -Sam Masterson

“Great course on Garageband and thorough introduction to modern music production techniques.” -George Theotokis

“Hands down the best introduction to GarageBand out there. Dean takes it from the basics, but fills in enough detail to keep the course engaging and inspiring even if you have a little experience with the program already. He has a really fun teaching style, which makes for an entertaining as well as informative course. Probably the best thing about it is the fact that there are lots of examples of real songs Dean has written and produced in GarageBand. These aren’t just great for demoing GarageBand techniques, but they’re also pretty inspirational as jump boards for your own songwriting too. Really happy with the course – recommend it wholeheartedly for anyone just starting out, or returning to GarageBand after a long time away!” -Richard West-Soley

Are you a SONGWRITER who is eagar to write, record, and mix your music in GarageBand but you have no idea how to get started?!  This course is designed to take you on a step by step journey through the entire lifecycle of your song.  We’ll learn how to write, record, edit, mix, and master your music with high quality!

In section 1, we’ll start by mastering the basics of the GarageBand interface and then discover the powerful songwriting tools that GarageBand offers you for creative, dynamic songwriting.  

In section 2, we’ll dive into the tools that GarageBand offers for producing- recording, editing, mixing, & mastering– your music with high quality (and have a lesson on how to share & sell your music online for free)!  

In Section 3, we’ll look at how to build your own home studio from scratch using budget friendly equipment and then we’ll learn how to set everything up step by step!  

This course finishes with a CHALLENGE to take what you’ve learned and put it into practice by writing and producing an original song!  You will then have the opportunity to share your song with our Udemy student community for encouragement and feedback!

Now, don’t worry!  If any of these topics intimidate you, we are going to break down each one of them in detail and make them easy to understand and simple to execute in your projects.  You do NOT have to have any prior knowledge of GarageBand or music production to master the content in this course!

Before We Begin... Update To The Latest Version Of GarageBand!

Before you get started, I highly recommend that you update to the latest version of GarageBand (10.2)!  It's not hard to do, just watch this 30 second video to see how!

The Songwriting Tools

Introduction To Section 1

Get a roadmap of where we are going in the Songwriting section of this course!

Why Most Songwriters Never Finish & Release Their Songs!

The majority of songwriters never finish & release any of their music!  Why is that?  We'll take a look a one big reason in this video!  The rest of this course is dedicated to helping you overcome this specific roadblock so that you can become one of the few songwriters who finishes and 

GarageBand in 5 Minutes

Master the basic functions of GarageBand and be ready to start making music in just 5 minutes!

MIDI Instruments Part 1- What Are They & Why Are They So Powerful?!

In this video, we start diving into one of GarageBand's most exciting songwriting+production tools- MIDI Instruments!  Watch this video to find out what MIDI Instruments are and why they are so powerful for your songwriting process! (... and how they are the building blocks for making pop & electronic music!)

MIDI Instruments Part 2- How To Use MIDI Instruments!

MIDI instruments are one of the most powerful tools that GarageBand offers you for writing and filling out yours songs!  (You do NOT want to miss this unit!)

MIDI Instruments Part 3- Downloading Instruments & Using A MIDI Controller

To finish our discussion on MIDI Instruments we'll talk briefly about two practicals:

1. How to download all the latest MIDI Instruments GarageBand currently offers

2. How to hook up your MIDI controller (+A recommendation on which MIDI controller I use!)

Check Out A Pop Song That Was Written & Produced ENTIRELY In GarageBand!

That's right, you read it correctly!  This song was created in my home studio using budget equipment and GarageBand!  

The Session Drummer Part 1- What It Is & Why It's So Powerful

Are you a songwriter who doesn't play the drums?  Then you will be incredibly excited to discover the Session Drummer feature that GarageBand gives you for creating drum performances with ease!

The Session Drummer Part 2- How To Use The Session Drummer!

Are you a songwriter who doesn't play the drums?!  No worries!  GarageBand offers you an incredible feature called the Session Drummer, which gives you a library of digital drummers (acoustic & electronic) that write drum performances to fit your song!  You can even adjust the Session Drummer's performance to make sure it matches your song!

The Session Drummer Part 3- Advanced Techniques

Now that you have a solid drum performance from the Session Drummer, let's look at a few techniques to enhance that performance and make it exactly what you want!

Can You Make Great Music Using GarageBand?

When you talk about using GarageBand to make music some people ask, "Can you actually make high quality music in GarageBand?".  For the answer to that question, check out this video!

The Arpeggiator

What in the world is the Arpeggiator?!  Great question!  Essentially, the Arpeggiator turns you into a piano player!  Check out this video to find out how the Arpeggiator allows you to take very simple piano lines and turn them into complex lead lines... by simply clicking a few buttons!

The Arpeggiator- Part 2 One Click Presets!

Now that we've looked at the different features of the Arpeggiator, let's make things easy by checking out the one click presets that the Arpeggiator offers.  Also, see how these easy to use, one click presets can be used for creative writing ideas!

How To Make A BIG AMBIENT Piano In GarageBand!

An extra lesson on how to make your piano sound GIANT!

Apple Loops

What if I told you that GarageBand offers you an immensely creative band member who plays every instrument imaginable and this band member allows you to use any of his ideas in your songs for free?!  Let me introduce you to Apple Loops!

Guitar Rig

Are you a guitarist (or bass player) who dreams of having endless amps, cabs, and effects pedals?!  Well there's good news for you!  GarageBand has something called Guitar Rig that you are going to love!  Check out this video to see what Guitar Rig is and how it works!

Listen To A Synth Pop Song Produced ENTIRELY In GarageBand!

Collaboration is a powerful songwriting tool that helps you maximize your creative efforts by pulling on the strength of others around you.  What's that you said?  The person you want to write with doesn't have a schedule that matches up with yours and they don't live nearby?  Check out one way to collaborate with your writing partners digitally!

Collaboration- Part 2 Sharing Project Files

If track sharing wasn't awesome enough, check out how to share entire project files digitally!  Work on songs together with anyone, anywhere, anytime!  Schedules are not longer an issue, location is no longer an issue!  You're free to collaborate!

Section Review

Let's catch our breath and do a quick review of what we learned in the Songwriting section!

The Production Process

Introduction To The Production Process

The Production Process is where we clean and polish your song!  Let's lay out a road map for where we're headed in the Production Process!

Lessons In Recording

3... 2... 1... Recording... WAIT!!  Before you hit the red button, let's talk about a few best practices for recording!  Recording is the first step in the production process so we want to start things off on the right foot!


Editing helps us eliminate sounds that we don't want to hear in our recordings.  (After all, it would be a shame for little, annoying noises to distract listeners from your great song!)  More than deleting unwanted sounds, editing also helps us tighten up our musical performances so that they sound more powerful and professional!

Editing- Part 2

Now that we're familiar with basic editing techniques and how to use the quantize feature, let's get a bit more practice using these tools by editing the rest of our MIDI tracks!


Panning?  Is this a cooking show!?  No!  Find out how to use Panning to make your mixes sound wider and bigger!

Tracks Effects

What is cake without icing?!  In mixing, Track Effects work as the "icing" on the "cake" of your song adding subtle hints of warmth and color.  You may not know how to effect your tracks, but that's ok, because as usual, GarageBand makes it easy with one click presets!

Pitch Correction (Including Auto Tune!)

Have you ever wanted to use AutoTune on your vocals to get that classic "T-Pain Effect"?!  Maybe you've just wanted to use gentle pitch correction to sharpen your vocal performance.  Check out this video on using GarageBand's Pitch Correction feature for subtle and dramatic pitch correction!

Volume Balance

Before you send your song to be mastered you'll want to make sure your mix is tastefully balanced.  Check out this video for tips on Volume Balance!  (And test your skills with some ear training!)


Mastering allows us to raise the volume of our track and add subtle hints of warmth and color.  Sounds nice... but how in the world do I do that?!  What if I told you it was as easy as ONE click?!  Check out this video to see how to master your music in one click! (Well, maybe it will take a few clicks...)

Production Process Review

Now that we've completed the Production Process, let's review what we've learned and enjoy the pay off of our hard work by comparing our song before and after the Production Process!

My Top 5 Keyboard Shortcuts!

Check out this YouTube video where we look into several very usable, very practical keyboard shortcuts!

Sharing & Selling Your Music Online

You've taken time to write an amazing song.  You've taken more time to polish that song by putting it through the production process.  It's just natural that now you would want to share that song with others!  Check out this video for 1 great resource for sharing and selling your music online!

Bonus Mini Course: Build Your First Home Studio!

Introduction To Building Your Own Home Studio

Are you interested in building your own home studio?!  That's what this section of the course is all about!

The Key Components Of A Home Studio

Every home studio needs a few key items.  In this video we'll dive into 10 things that you'll want to have in your studio!

Gear Suggestions

Looking to buy some home studio equipment but you have no idea where to start?!  I would LOVE to share some equipment with you that I have found to be high quality, user friendly, and easy on the wallet!  This video is my recommendations on gear for your home studio!

3 Studio Options

Here are 3 options for building your home studio that range from $0 to $500 (and my suggestions on which option might be best for you!)

Setting It All Up!

I bought some studio gear!... It's really nice!... But it's been sitting on my desk for three months because I have no idea how to set it up and use it!  This video is a step-by-step guide on how to set up your studio equipment and use it with GarageBand!

Course Wrap Up

Course Wrap Up! (& THE CHALLENGE!)

The course is nearly over but there's one thing left... A CHALLENGE!  Are you up to the challenge?!

BONUS LECTURE: Want To Keep Growing With Free Weekly Training?!
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2 hours on-demand video
4 articles
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