Using GarageBand with VoiceOver

macOS & Mac Apps

I've been trying to learn how to use Garage Band with VoiceOver, however, there was only so much I could learn myself by just looking around the application. I was wondering if there's any help available online for VO Garage Band users. Like tutorials or written guides?
Does anyone know of anything that could be helpful?



Submitted by Riss on Thursday, March 5, 2015

i would pay someone to teach me how to do multitrack recording with garage band logic x pro and main stage free, money is not an issue at all.

Submitted by Hubert on Friday, March 6, 2015

As for Logic, music production side with it isn't too accessible. But as for garage band, I really would like some online resources to be available out there for VoiceOver users. Because you can only learn so much by just playing around with the software.

Submitted by Joseph Westhouse on Wednesday, March 18, 2015

I agree with the above comments - with all the resources available on this site, I'm actually really surprised that some GB pro out there hasn't posted a series of podcasts, or even a "Getting Started" post with some written instructions. I think that if someone was to provide something like this, it'd be invaluable to the community.

Submitted by Hubert on Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Yes, when I searched on here I was very surprised that there was nothing there. I did expect that there will be at least something. I've been playing around with it, but there's only so much you can find by this method.

Submitted by Ekaj on Wednesday, March 18, 2015

I'm actually wondering the same thing. Last I checked, which was about a year or so ago, Garage Band was only marginally accessible as far as I could tell. I think Mac for the Blind had some stuff on it but that was out of date. It might've been updated though, I haven't had much time to check. But when I last was in Garage Band, I could not get any of the sounds to play other than VO and one short video about guitar playing..

Submitted by peter on Wednesday, March 18, 2015

<p>There is a very helpful e-mail forum for blind musicians, audio production, and music enthusiasts. A number of the people on that list have experience with Garage Band using VoiceOver. The list is called the MidiMag list and one can subscribe by sending an e-mail to:</p>

<a href=""&gt;</a><p>
Just write a note introducing yourself and asking questions. Everyone is friendly and knowledgeable.

Hope that helps.


Submitted by Ekaj on Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Thanks for this. I just subscribed to that list. It seems to be run by one of the ACB affiliates.

Submitted by Bo Jingles on Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Folks, because I really struggled with learning to use GarageBand with VoiceOver myself, I want to share some basics with you. There is undoubtedly more than one way to do this but here is one way that works. If you discover faster ways then please share with this group. What follows is very detailed so I hope you can follow my explanations.

To edit a drum track and to create and record an audio track do the following:

1. Create a new project using the songwriter option. Don't worry right now about key or meter settings.
2 Press tab key until you hear Tracks Group and interact with it. by pressing Shift+VO keys+down arrow.
3. Press VO+right arrow until you hear Track Headers group and interact with it.
4. For the sake of simplicity, delete all tracks leaving just the SoCal drum track. (Select a track to be deleted and press Command+Delete.)
5. Stop interacting with Track Headers group (Shift+VO keys+up arrow). Press VO+right arrow until you hear Track Contents group and interact with it.
6. SoCal is already selected since it is the only track. Interact with it. Using VO keys+ left or right arrows you will cycle through two regions named Verse and Chorus. Each happens to be predefined to be 16 bars long. Again, use VO+left or right arrows to cycle between the two regions. When you hear verse, the verse region is selected. When you hear chorus, the chorus region is selected.
This concept of which region is currently selected is critical to performing edits.
7. Select the chorus region and cut it using Command+X. Check that the chorus region has really been cut by trying to cycle through the regions as described above. You should now only hear "verse". Remember that the chorus region has been cut and is now in the clipboard. We will come back to it later.

As I previously mentioned, the two initial regions were 16 bars long for a total of 32 bars. The verse region begins at bar 1 and extends through to the end of bar 16. Before cutting it, the chorus region started at the beginning of bar 17 and extended through to the end of bar 32. In 4/4 time which is the default for the Songwriter project, each bar is subdivided into 4 beats. Each beat is subdivided into 4 divisions, and each division is subdivided into 240 ticks. (These levels of subdivisions allow for very fine adjustments to the playhead position.)

Now, press the return key to send the playhead to the beginning of the timeline. You should hear "1 bar, 1 beat, 1 division, 1 tick". If not, press the spacebar and let the drums play for a few seconds and press spacebar again to stop playback. Press the return key to send the playhead back to the beginning of the track.

Okay, as an example I will describe how to build up a drum track consisting of a 2 bar intro, two 16 bar verses, 1 16 bar chorus, 1 more 16 bar verse and 2 final 16 bar choruses.

The first thing to do is to place the chorus region farther along the track timeline in order to make room for 3 verse regions. The first of these three verse regions will eventually be cut down into a 2 bar verse region which will become the 2 bar intro. But in order to keep the math simple, we will shorten the first verse region as the final step in creating our drum track.

Note: Since the initial verse and chorus regions are each 16 bars in length, think in multiples of 16 with regard to the timeline. Sorry but it will take some basic math and some planning ahead to build up a drum track.

The 1st 16 bars start at 1 bar, 1 beat, 1 division, 1 tick (1st verse)
The 2nd 16 bars start at bar 17, beat 1, division 1, tick (2nd verse)
The 3rd 16 bars start at bar 33, beat 1, division 1, tick 1 (3rd verse)
The 4th 16 bars start at bar 49, beat 1, division 1, tick 1 (1st chorus)
The 5th 16 bars will start at bar 65, beat 1, division 1, tick 1 (4th verse)
The 6th 16 bars start at bar 81, beat 1, division 1, tick 1 (2nd chorus)
The 7th 16 bars start at bar 97, beat 1, division 1, tick 1 (3rd chorus)

1. Remember that we were just interacting with SoCal in the Track Contents group and that we cut the chorus region and placed it on the clipboard. Now, use the VO+I command and enter "bar" to search the screen for occurances of "bar". . Arrow down until you hear "1 bar, 1 beat, 1 division, 1 tick". The next four items in the search results list are "1 bar," "1 beat," "1 division," and "1 tick". You can interact with each of these in order to make increasingly smaller adjustments to the playhead position. For now, select "1 bar" and press the return key. Focus is now on that control so interact with it. By using VO+left or right arrow keys you can change the value of the bar control. Looking at our chart above, we see that we want to paste the first chorus region into the area of the timeline which starts at 49 bar, 1 beat, 1 division, 1 tick. So, interact with the bar control and increment to the desired value.
2. Press the tab key until you hear Tracks Group and interact with it. Select Track Headers group and interact with it. SoCal, being the only track in the project, should already be selected.
3. Paste the chorus region into the SoCal track using Command+V.
4. If you want to check that the chorus region was really pasted into the SoCal track, stop interacting with Track Headers group and interact with Track Contents group. Interact with SoCal and use VO+left or right arrow keys to determine how many regions are present. You should hear verse region and chorus region. When you hear "chorus region" and then press VO+right arrow, you should hear an audible click that tells us that we went past the end and returned to the first (leftmost) region which in our case should be the verse region. The difference from when we first started this process is that instead of the chorus region being adjacent to the verse region, they are now separated by a 32 bar gap into which two verse regions will be later pasted. Unfortunately VoiceOver doesn't tell us about the empty area. We just have to trust that it is there.

Since the chorus region is still in the clipboard, lets paste it two more times into the SoCal track at the appropriate places as determined by the playhead position on the timeline.

5. Use VO+I and type "bar" as we did earlier and again arrow down to the bar control and press the return key. Interact with bar control and increment the bar value to 81 bar, 1 beat, 1 division, 1 tick as specified in our chart above.
6. Press the tab key until you hear Tracks group and interact with it. Select Track Headers group and interact with it. SoCal is already selected. Paste the chorus region using Command+V.

Repeat the previous two steps only incrementing the bar value this second time to 97 bar, 1 beat, 1 division, 1 tick.

Let's go back to check on our progress by interacting with SoCal in Track Contents, we should now hear verse, chorus, chorus, chorus. Unspoken is the fact that there is a 32 bar gap between the verse region and the first chorus region and a 16 bar gap between the first chorus region and the second chorus region.

Since we are already interacting with the SoCal drum regions, let's now fill in the missing verse regions. Select the existing verse region and then press Command+C to copy it into the clipboard. Repeat steps 5 an 6 above three times. For the first time, set the bar value to 17 bar, 1 beat, 1 division, 1 tick. For the second time set the bar value to 33 bar, 1 beat, 1 division, 1 tick. For the third time set the bar value to 65 bar, 1 beat, 1 division, 1 tick.

Let's again check on our work by interacting with SoCal in the Track Contents group. We should now hear verse, verse, verse, chorus, verse, chorus, chorus. Pressing VO+right arrow once more we should hear a click and be returned to the first verse region.

Pressing the return key at any point in the above process and then pressing the spacebar to start playback will let you hear the results at any step along the way. Of course, if there are gaps you will hear corresponding sections of silence.

The final step in creating our drum track is to cut the first 16 bar verse region down to a 2 bar region which will become the two bar intro.

I. Since we are currently interacting with SoCal in the Track Contents group, select the first verse region. If you are really on the first verse region, VO+left arrow will cause a click and a wrap around to the last chorus region. VO+right arrow will produce a click and a wrap around in the other direction to the first verse region.
II. Repeat step 5 above setting the bar value to 3 bar, 1 beat, 1 division, 1 tick. (If you want a four bar intro you would set the bar value to 5 bar, 1 beat, 1 division, 1 tick.)
III. Repeat step 6 above but instead of a copy or paste command, press Command-T to split the first 16 bar verse region into a two bar region and a 14 bar region.
IV. Interact with SoCal in the Track Contents group. Using VO+right arrow you should now hear verse, verse, verse, verse, chorus, verse, chorus, chorus. Pressing VO+right arrow once more you should hear the click noise and wrap around to the first verse region which is only 2 bars long. Press VO+right arrow once more to select the second verse region which is now 14 bars long. Stop interacting with SoCal. Stop interacting with Track Contents.
V. Interact with Track Headers group. SoCal is already selected.
VI. Press VO+M to access the GarageBand menu bar. VO+right arrow until you hear Edit. VO+down arrow until you hear "Delete and Move." Press the return key(enter key). This should delete the 14 bar region and cause all the remaining regions to the right to move left filling in the gap that would have otherwise been created if, for example, we had used the cut command which would have left a 14 bar gap.

You should now have a customized drum track consisting of a two bar intro, two sixteen bar verses, a sixteen bar chorus, another sixteen bar verse, folloed by two more sixteen bar choruses. You should be able to generalize the above instructions in order to build any drum track configurations that you need for your projects.

The final thing that I will briefly describe is how to create and record an audio track using a mic or a line in input.

1. PressOption+Command+N to create a new track.
2. You will be asked to select a track type. Press VO+right arrow until you hear the audio mic, line-in option. Then press VO+spacebar to select it.
3. VO+right arrow over to the details group (you may need to expand it first) and interact with it in order to set your input source (E.G., built-in mic input or external audio interface with multiple inputs to choose from.)
4. Stop interacting with Details and VO+right arrow to the creat track button and press VO+spacebar.
5. Interact with Track Headers group and select the new audio track.
6. Press "R" to begin recording.

Look folks, I know that this was a lot of detail but I hope that it helps some of you get going with GarageBand. Once you've mastered the above process, other GarageBand features start making more sense. I hope that some of you will share what you learn with the rest of us.


Submitted by Ekaj on Friday, August 28, 2015

These are excellent instructions. Now if only you or someone else who really knows what they're doing and knows how to communicate it properly without tons of errors, could do something like this about iTunes that'd be awesome. I realize iTunes is off topic for this thread and is probably a whole different thing, but just saying.

Submitted by Leo on Monday, November 7, 2016

I'm getting back into music after over 20 years' hiatus, long enough to raise a kid. Well, I got a bass guitar and just started looking at Garage Band.
A friend from high school uses it, though he's not blind.
I was able to figure out how to load the tracks, set up my input source. I'm guessing though that I need to establish preamps, etc., because my bass is barely audible. I used to be a keyboards guy / synthesist back in the late 80s early 90s, so am well acquainted with at least the hardware version of what should be happening.
But what I am dealing with, I can load a patch by selecting it in the table, but cannot modify any of the settings. I select a modern stack, but can't see the specs for that amp. I did select to monitor the instrument so I can hear it.
How do I set the preamp, EQ, power amp, effects pedals, etc.?
Weird since when I do play out, I never use effects with bass, a bit of contrast compared to the big techno stuff I used to do.
I feel like I must be missing something obvious here, but can only see the browser list, and the Save button. Save seems pointless if I can't modify the patch at all.
If I was doing MIDI through, that wouldn't be as important as I could do it from the synthesizer, presuming we can even do that with synthesizers anymore. Anyhow, with something like a bass, my second instrument, I need to be able to modify the effects. I'm pretty sure that's why I can barely hear it, I need to set the gain / preamp, as I would on a real amp.
The other stuff on here was really helpful. I can see how once you learn this it could be really useful. I feel a bit dysphoric looking at it, knowing I should be able to change the amp and settings, knowing what I would change, but not having any idea how.
This is with Mac OS Sierra.
There is a tutorial with what is probably a really old Garage band, the guy is using a MIDI controller keyboard, and has access to a ton of popup buttons. I can't see a single one, no pedals, no effects. I know this must be possible as my friend continues to send me Facebook Messenger links from his Garage Band that sounds like what we used to do with thousands of dollars worth of gear. You shouldn't need a direct box to take an input at line level. And while I can see patches, I can't set a gain.


Patches are edited in Smart Controls. Once edits have been made, the edited patch can be saved under a new name as a custom patch in the Library editor.

When a track is selected in the tracks area which has a bass guitar patch applied to it such as Modern Stack, a virtual bass amp can be tweaked within Smart Controls. Output level, gain, bass, mids, treble, etc., can be adjusted to taste.

To access the virtual bass amp, open the Smart Controls Group by pressing the letter "B" which is the Smart Controls shortcut key. Once the Smart Controls window has opened up, interact with the Smart Controls Group. There are initially two sub items within the Smart Controls Group, namely, Smart Controls Toolbar and Smart Controls Layout Area. Interact with the Smart Controls Toolbar. You should find that it contains the following six items:

Show Inspector checkbox
Master button
Compare button
Controls radio button, 1 of 2
EQ radio button, 2 of 2
Amp checkbox

Check the Amp checkbox. The sighted user will see a graphic of a generic basss amp appear on the screen. The VoiceOver user will be taken to a bass amp dialog box. Unfortunately, VoiceOver doesn't speak the names of the various parameters that can be tweak. You will need the help of a sighted friend to write down the name of the various parameters. But for now, here is how to get to the parameter that increases the output level of the amp:

1. Press Control+Option+Home. This will jump the VoiceOver cursor to the text field that describes the selected track in the tracks area, in this case, Modern Stack.
2. Press Control+Option+Left Arrow one time and the VoiceOver cursor will move to the Close button.
3. Press Control+Option+Left Arrow once more and VoiceOver should say: 30.7% slider. This is the output volume slider.
4. Interact with the output volume slider
5. Press Control+Option+Right Arrow to turn up the output volume and press Control+Option+Left Arrow to turn down output volume.
6. Stop interacting with the output volume slider.
7. Press Control+Option+Right Arrow one time to bring the VoiceOver cursor to the Close button.
8. Press Control+Option+Spacebar to close the virtual bass amp dialog box.

FYI, for the past year, I have been writing a tutorial to teach VoiceOver users how to use GarageBand on the Mac. The section on Smart Controls is very long and very detailed. I expect the tutorial to be ready early in 2017. When it is, I will post information on how to obtain it on this site.

I realize that the instructions above may not be detailed enough for a beginner but it sounds as though you already have some ability to navigate around in GarageBand.

Hope this helps.

some ability

Submitted by Tree on Tuesday, November 8, 2016

I have taught myself how to use garage band, and I regularly use it to create music for my podcast. You can check out some of that music with the link below. I created all of the music in this piece with GarageBand, With the exception of the opening songs that play while the podcast hosts do the intro.
I would be willing to make a series of audio lessons, illustrating how to use GarageBand. However, to do a good job I believe I might have to charge for the tutorials; I was thinking around 30 dollars would be reasonable, since similar tutorials for Amadeus Pro and Pro tools cost more then that.

I believe I could cover all major aspects of GarageBand, with the caveat that, as far as I can tell, a few things are not accessible. For example, I have never figured out how to use automation.

Let me know if your interested, and what you would like me to cover in a hypothetical series of lessons. If there is enough interest I could finish the project in a few weeks; I would send a link to the audio lesson files to each individual who is interested, upon which they would send the agreed upon money to me through Pay pal. We would work out all of the finer details through email.

Forgive me if my offer is not compelling, or if I'm breaking any Apple vis rules by posting this; I just saw that people were interested, and I would love to help, just need to pay the bills at the same time.

Submitted by Aaron on Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Hi Guys, Any luck finding tutorials? I've been putting together a resourse website for blind engineers and this fits what I'm trying to find. I can add Garageband tutorials to my list of things to do. I am hoping to start making youtube vids on how to record as a blind engineer since for some reason no one else has. My site is Pro Audio Work Arounds for the Blind .wordpress for now any ideas email me at

Submitted by Leo on Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Nicely done and thank you. I am now wondering though if I need a guitar interface cable, because when I direct in with my bass and start moving around Garage Band with the Voiceover cursor, it goes to busy an awful lot. Someone I know who's sighted says he thinks it's because Garage Band is trying to calculate the line input signal. The USB interface cable will allegedly make things easier. Is that right? I only have 8 gb of RAM which is more than plenty for basic things, but was wondering if that was making VoiceOver go busy in Garage Band. But if you remove the patch cable from the line input, busy stuff is all done away with and it's fast again.

Submitted by Ekaj on Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Thank you so much Aaron. I've actually been able to figure out a few more things in GB on my own, but I'll certainly check out your site. The whole GB interface--or most of it anyway--just seems a bit odd even when compared with iTunes. The only reason I specifically mention iTunes is that there's a lot you can do with it, and I have found that interface to be quite nice.


Thank you for your kind words. I cannot reproduce your problem because my 13 inch MacBookPro doesn't support direct audio input except via the built-in microphone. I use an external audio interface--Steinberg UR22.

One possibility that occurs to me is that your sound card might be struggling to process both audio from your direct in and VoiceOver at the same time. If input monitoring is on, sound is likely being processed even if you are not playing at the moment. Try turning off input monitoring when not actively playing to see if that helps when navigating around in GarageBand. In fact, it is good practice to turn off input monitoring for all audio tracks when not actively recording to avoid unwanted noise.

Even with an external audio interface, GarageBand gets "busy" way more than I would like. In fact, all too often it never gets "unbusy" and GarageBand has to be forced to quit. Tip: if GarageBand locks up on you but you haven't saved your work, simply reach over to the power button and shut down your Mac. Check the option to reopen currently running apps and when your Mac boots back up, your project should be as it was before GarageBand got "busy". Of course, immediately save your work.

Submitted by DudeLove721 on Friday, January 6, 2017

Hey everyone, I was using an old version of GarageBand before and had created a project there. Since then, I've upgraded to the latest version on the Mac and hadn't used it for awhile. I wanted to work on this file again and, after doing some troubleshooting to get my loops and everything back, I've run into a few problems I was hoping someone could help me with.

Honestly, it's simple enough -- I just want to shorten some of the tracks in the project. The method I used for resizing tracks in the old version doesn't work anymore, so if someone could tell me how to do it now, that would be a great help.

On top of that, I was hoping to record some vocals from my digital microphone. How do I add a vocal track to the project and experiment with different vocal effects?

Thanks in advance for any help you can offer.

Submitted by DudeLove721 on Friday, January 6, 2017

I'm not sure if it makes a difference but I forgot to specify that the tracks I'm looking to shorten are loop tracks. I want to cut down what I have by about half (so 12 bars instead of 24) and have other loop tracks end at different points in the project. Thanks again for any help you can provide!

Loops are edited by interacting with the Tracks Contents Group. Use the VO+Up and Down Arrow keys to select the contents area for any track that you are interested in. Let's say that you have a loop track in your project called Tambourine. In the Tracks Contents Group, VoiceOver will identify that track as "Tambourine track background". Interact with "Tambourine track background. The VoiceOver cursor will be on the first region in that track's track background, i.e., that track's contents area. If the track contains more than one region, use the VO+Left and Right Arrows to navigate between them. If you hear the label "partially hidden" as part of the region name or if you think that there should be more regions than VoiceOver is disclosing, try pressing Command+Left Arrow about ten times to zoom horizontal zoom all the way out. All regions in the track background should now be revealed. Loop regions can be shortened using two different methods. 1. Use the Comma and Period keys to move the playhead to the desired full measure boundary and then press Command+T to split the region at that point. Delete the unwanted part of the region using the Delete key. Or, 2. Interact with the region and use the VO+Arrow keys to locate either the Left or Right Border Handles. The border handles don't usually work to increase the length of a loop (region) but they can be used to shorten a region. In other words, you can take the right handle (right edge of the region) and move it to the left in order to decrease the length of the region. The opposite is true for the left handle. To move a handle, bring the VoiceOver cursor to it and then press Command+Option+Control+Accent key (the accent key is located just underneath the Escape key). You can then use the right or left arrow keys to move the handle. The feedback that VoiceOver gives is in terms of overall length of the region, not the position of the handle on the timeline. When done, press the Escape key to terminate the move item function. The amount of movement caused by each press of an arrow key is determined by the horizontal zoom setting. Note: Method two is fraught with nuance and inprecision too detailed to go into now. Method one is usually the better choice because it is much more straight forward for the VoiceOver user. The starting position of a region can be moved in two ways also. 1. Cut and paste. Cut the desired region. It will be placed in the clipboard. The Comma and Period keys can be used to position the timeline on whole measure boundaries. If the desired position is somewhere in between full measure boundaries, use the playhead positioning controls in either the Control Bar Group or in the Tracks Time Ruler Time Line. Then paste the region to the new starting position. Important Note: Editing regions will be frustrating until you learn the difference between selecting a project track and selecting a track's contents area (track background). They are not the same thing. In other words, they can be selected independently of one another. Therefore, we use the VO+Arrow keys in the Tracks contents Group to only select a trak background. this has no effect on the selected project track. The reason that this is important is that the paste command only pastes the contents of the clipboard to the selected project track and not to the selected track background unless they happen to be the same. To change the project track in the Tracks Contents Group, the up and down arrow keys must be used without the VO keys. However, this is largely unsatisfactory because VoiceOver doesn't speak the names of the project tracks as they change in this way. The only thing that VoiceOver will speak is amessage alerting you to the fact that you cannot move any further up than the first track in the project or further down than the last track in the project. The best thing to do, especially for a beginner, is to stop interacting with the Tracks Contents Group and interact with the Tracks Header Group. In the Tracks Header Group, the project track can be changed using either the VO+Arrow keys or the arrow keys alone. In either case, VoiceOver wil speak the name of the project track as it is changed. Once the desired project track is selected, go back and interact with the Tracks Contents Group. There, you can use the VO+Arrow keys to select between the various track backgrounds and initiate cut, copy, split and join commands. But when you do a paste, you need to understand that the contents of the clipboard will only paste to the selected project track. I realize that this may still be confusing but just know that being able to select track bakgrounds separately from the project track adds a lot of flexibility to the process of editing regions. Or, 2. A region's starting position may also be moved by first selecting it and then pressing Command+Option+Control+Accent and then using the left or right arrow keys to move the item. Press the Escape key to terminate the move item function. This method can be useful but it can suffer from the same limitations as described earlier. By the way, per your first post, Option+Command+N opens the new track dialog from where a new audio track may be created. Hope this helps

Bo this is the only useful post I have found in using Garage band with voiceover, thank you so much. I had 2 more questions if you don't mind.
1. is your tutorial ready, if it is can I purchase it?
2. I have followed all your posts in using garage band, you seem to really know what you are doing. I tried to move regions together to fill in the gap I made by deleting regions I marked that I wanted out. But now I only have the silence from the regions I move, and I can't seem to be able to move the regions and make then touch each other. Lets say I had a region 1 starting at bar1, and region 2 from bar 3 to bar 4, and I deleted that and region 3 starts in bar4 bit 1. Now I just have the gap between bar3 and bar4bit 1 and I can't do anything. I have tried it all. Any advise?
Thanks a bunch.

Submitted by Chuck Winstead on Friday, August 25, 2017

Does anyone have any suggestions to doing hip hop beats? In Hip hOp the hi-hats can get pretty complex. With in that same 16bars. There can be a couple of clicks where it's 16ths, and then triplets, and then back to the 16ths, and then 8ths.
I'd really like to get back into beat production, but when GarageBand had it's not very accessible times. I just kind of gave up with it, and focused more on school, and getting my guide dog.

Submitted by Bo Jingles on Friday, August 25, 2017

In reply to by Chuck Winstead


The way GarageBand works is that each individual region in a drummer track can be assigned its own performance parameters. Individual regions can be any length, i.e., one may be 32 bars long, another may be 7 bars long, another may be two and a half beats long, and another may be one fourth beat long. Auto-Play Drummer editor parameters affect only selected regions. Therefore, if all regions are selected, edits affect them all. But, if only one region is selected, or if the second, eight, and thirteenth regions are selected, then only those three regions are affected by the edits.

When editing drummer tracks, make sure that the desired drummer track is the selected project track so that any cut/copy/paste operation are applied to the correct track. Use Command T to split regions at the desired point on the time line. The Comma and Period keys move the playhead back or forward to the beginning of the next bar or back to the beginning of the same bar or on back to the beginning of the previous bar. You will need to interact with the Playhead Thumb Value Indicator in the Tracks Time Ruler Time Line to position the playhead in between the beginning points of bars,for example, to a playhead position such as 3 bars, 2 beats, 1 division, 1 tick. By the way, one division equals one sixteenth note and 240 ticks equal one division. So, to position the playhead at a 32nd note, the number of ticks must be set to 120 ticks.

Multiple regions are selected by pressing VO+Command+Enter. Note that the command must be pressed twice when selecting the very first region. Use the VO+Arrow keys to locate the next region to be included in the multiple selection followed by VO+Command+Enter. Regions do not need to be adjacent to be included in a multiple selection. Once the desired regions are selected, press the letter E to open the Auto-Play Drummer editor. Again, only the selected regions are affected by the editor.

For additional complexity, GarageBand allows up to two drummer tracks in the same project. Also, if you can't get the exact pattern you want using the drummer editor parameters, you can create a software instrument track and then copy the drummer track regions to it. It will sound identical but the software instrument track becomes a straight MIDI track and can no longer be edited with the Auto-Play Drummer editor. You can then edit individual notes using the Piano Roll editor.

Hope this helps a bit.

Submitted by Chuck Winstead on Friday, August 25, 2017

Would you have more advice or guidance using the software instrument tracks? That's what I prefer to use.
I know i'd use separate tracks for each part of the drums like snares on their own track, kicks/bass on their own track, and then hats would have their own tracks. Though when it comes to creating software instrument tracks with the complex hats patterns. That's where i get lost. Like you may get a one ee and a then for the 2 can be switched to the 32ths notes and then go back to 3 ee and a then that 4 can end up the same as 2 back to the 32ths.

Submitted by hamiltonthemusicallover on Saturday, August 26, 2017

Does anyone know how using voiceover on the Mac I pitch correct or auto tune in GarageBand? I can't figure it out. It used to be accessible a couple of years ago but now it isn't and I don't know how to do it. Any help would be appreciated.


I am assuming that we are talking about GarageBand on the Mac.

If you want to create your own custom drum tracks by ear, you can start by creating a new project using the Empty Project template. Prior to version 10.2, the Empty Project template automatically created a new project containing one software instrument track. In version 10.2, however, an extra step is required because instead of automatically creating a software instrument track, the New Track dialogue opens. There, the software instrument track option can be selected using VO+Spacebar. Then, since the Create button is the default action, simply press the Enter key to create the new project with a software instrument track.

In either case, the Library browser should automatically open. Interact with it and use VO+Down Arrow to choose the drums or electronic drums kit category. VO+Right Arrow to open the list of drum kit patches.

To audition the various drum kits, press the lettter C to turn on the Cycle function. By default, bars one through four will repeatedly cycle when the Spacebar is pressed. Also, press the letter K to turn on the click track function so that you can hear that something is happening. Bars one through four will cycle continuosly untill the Spacebar is pressed again.

Assuming that you are using an external keyboard or MIDI controller, pressing keys at this point should trigger various drum kit instruments such as kicks, toms, snares, hats, etc. Below I have included a chart showing the General MIDI Standard key assignments for most drum kit instrument and percussions sounds.

While the cycle region is still going, VO+Up or Down to select different drum kits and audition them by playing keys on your keyboard. When done, press Spacebar to stop the cycle function. Press the letter Y to close the Library Group.

Interact with the Tracks Group and then use the VO+Arrow keys to select the Tracks Header Group. Interact with the Tracks Header Group. The Software instrument should be automatically selected if it is the only track. Otherwise, use the VO+Up or Down Arrows to select the desired track.

Let's assume that you want to start with kick drums. You can press Shift+Enter to rename the track to Kicks or something meaningful to you.

Pressing the letter R will start recording using the cycle function. The default for recording software instrument tracks using the cycle function should be Merge. This means that newly played instrument sounds will be added to previously played instrument sounds no matter how many times the cycle region repeats. So, for example, after the count-in, you could place a kick on beats two and four of each bar included in the cycle region. On the second iteration of the cycle region, you could place kicks just before the fourth beat of each bar. In this way, you have all the time in the world to place your kicks and you can hear your pattern build up in real time. If you make a mistake, press Command+Z to undo kicks until the bad one is deleted. Then continue.

When you want to start recording snares, press Command+D to duplicate the Kicks tracks. This creates an empty track with the same settings as the original track. You can rename it to Snares or something meaningful to you. When the cycle function is on, you will hear your kicks. You can now press the letter R to begin recording snares. Again, you have all the time you need to place your snare hits while hearing your previously recorded kicks and previously recorded snares.

Repeat the above process to create and record tracks for every drum kit instrument you wish to use.

The cycle region's starting point and length are adjustable using the Cycle Region Layout Item. found within the Tracks Time Ruler Time Line. I don't want to get into detail right now as to how this is done because VoiceOver and this control don't play nice. In general, however, you interact with the cycle region layout item to access its left and right handles and use VO+Command+Accent to move the handles using the left and right arrow keys. The handles only appear if the cycle function has been previously turned on by Pressing the letter C. Press the Escape key to terminate the move item function. Instead of interacting with the cycle region layout item, use the move item function just described to move the entire region. Also, using the shortcut keys, Shift+Command+Comma or Period will move the entire cycle so that it begins where it previously ended or vice versa. In other words, if the cycle region includes bars one through four, pressing Shift+Command+Period will make it start at bar five and include bars five through eight. Pressing Shift+Command+Comma will make it start at bar one again.

I know that this explanation is quick and dirty but it is all that I have the time and energy for at present. I hope it helps a little. Following is the list of General MIDI drum kit instrument and percussion note assignments.

Note: While GarageBand designates C3 as Middle C, this is not an industry-wide standard. Depending on manufaccturer, Middle C can be designated as the note C3, C4, or even C5. For reference, Middle C on a guitar in standard tuning is designated as C4. Whether designated as C3, C4, or C5, Middle C is always 261.63 Hz. the General MIDI Level 1 Standard requires that Middle C be assigned the MIDI key number 60. This means that whichever key on a given keyboard is designated Middle C, whether it be C3, C4 or C5, pressing it will generate the MIDI note number 60. In summary, in GarageBand, C3 (Middle C) equals MIDI note number 60.

The General MIDI Standard, assigns the following drum kit instrument and percussion sounds to specific MIDI note numbers. I have included the matching GarageBand notes.

Note Key# Drum Sound
B0, 35, Acoustic Bass Drum
C1, 36, Bass Drum 1
C#1, 37, Side Stick
D1, 38, Acoustic Snare
D#1, 39, Hand Clap
E1, 40, Electric Snare
F1, 41, Low Floor Tom
F#1, 42, Closed Hi Hat
G1, 43, High Floor Tom
G#1, 44, Pedal Hi-Hat
A1, 45, Low Tom
A#1, 46, Open Hi-Hat
B1, 47, Low-Mid Tom
C2, 48, Hi-Mid Tom
C#2, 49, Crash Cymbal 1
D2, 50, High Tom
D#2, 51, Ride Cymbal 1
E2, 52, Chinese Cymbal
F2, 53, Ride Bell
F#2, 54, Tambourine
G2, 55, Splash Cymbal
G#2, 56, Cowbell
A2, 57, Crash Cymbal 2
A#2, 58, Vibraslap
B2, 59, Ride Cymbal 2
C3, 60, Hi Bongo (Middle C)
C#3, 61, Low Bongo
D3, 62, Mute Hi Conga
D#3, 63, Open Hi Conga
E3, 64, Low Conga
F3, 65, High Timbale
F#3, 66, Low Timbale
G3, 67, High Agogo
G#3, 68, Low Agogo
A3, 69, Cabasa
A#3, 70, Maracas
B3, 71, Short Whistle
C4, 72, Long Whistle
C#4, 73, Short Guiro
D4, 74, Long Guiro
D#4, 75, Claves
E4, 76, Hi Wood Block
F4, 77, Low Wood Block
F#4, 78, Mute Cuica
G4, 79, Open Cuica
G#4, 80, Mute Triangle
A4, 81, Open Triangle

Note: Various GarageBand drum kit patches may have sounds assigned to MIDI key numbers less than or greater than those listed above. For them, I have found no documentation.

Good luck!

Submitted by Chuck Winstead on Saturday, August 26, 2017

This helps. Now i just need to figure out the arpeggiator for the drums. Trying to do 32ths notes or 16ths notes in an uptempo thing isn't exactly easy.
I guess for each different hat it would be a track for the 16ths and a second for the triplets and so forth. sorry If i sound like i'm clueless on this. I did use Garageband back in high school, but to be truthful I really didn't know how to do anything of this stuff.

I sent a couple messages to that list: The first was just with the subject subscribe as dictated by all the other lists I've seen, the second was a little more detailed including a couple questions of garage band I had after not getting an automated message from the system about being subscribed. Both are now getting errors in reply from Gmail mentioning different servers and codes, and iCloud wouldn't even send it owing to the hyphen in the address. Any ideas?

Submitted by Bo Jingles on Tuesday, September 19, 2017

A few months ago I completed (except for the index) a GarageBand tutorial for VoiceOver users. I lost two book editors and was looking for a third when GarageBand version 10.2 came out. The changes to the new version were/are significant and rendered portions of my tutorial inaccurate though much of it is still valid. Probably the biggest changes are to the drummer function. For instance, the ability to choose genres and drummers was removed from the Auto-Play Drummer editor and was placed into the Library as an addditional library browser. The way drummer regions are dealt with in the Tracks Contents Group has changed significantly. And the Loops Group now provides additional ways to build drummer tracks. Numerous smaller changes have been made throughout GarageBand.

The change that affected me the most was that in the Piano Roll editor, the note velocity slider disappeared. This was a show stopper for me because I use this feature heavily when building electric bass and piano melody and harmony tracks. In other words, you don't want every note to have the same want to make some notes louder and others softer in order to sound more natural. This is done by adjusting each note's velocity. Technically, note velocity is a reflection of how soft or hard a key is struck. Keys struck harder are generally louder. In practice, adjusting note velocity acts as a volume control.

Because of the loss of the note velocity slider, I reverted to version 10.1.6 and put my tutorial on the shelf because it was now out of date. A couple of days ago, I reinstalled version 10.2 just to check it out again and I stumbled upon the secret too accessing the note velocity slider in version 10.2! It isn't accessible using just VoiceOver. You must utilize the OS's Mouse Keys function to manually position the mouse cursor on the top edge of the Piano Roll editor and then drag the edge of the editor upwards to make it larger. VoiceOver gives no feedback. You just have to trust that the window is enlarging. Ideally, this should be a splitter control accessible to VoiceOver. In any case, when the window is enlarged beyond a certain size, the note Velocity slider reappears in the Piano Roll Inspector Group where it was previously available in earlier versions of GarageBand without having to first enlarge the Piano Roll editor window. This works the same way for sighted users. In other words, a sighted user won't be able to find the note velocity slider unless they happen to enlarge the window and then happen to notice that the slider has appeared. This is questionable design if you ask me.

I will now work more with version 10.2. I will probably update my tutorial but if I wait too long, or take too long, GarageBand will undoubtedly change again. I had contacted American Printing House for the Blind to see if they would be interested in publishing my tutorial but they told me that they no longer publish software tutorials because they go out of date so fast. I have experienced this first hand during the process of writing my tutorial.

One thought I had was to make the tutorial a web site that could be revised to keep it current but, unfortunately, I don't really have the skills and resources to do this on my own. It would probably take a community effort to build and maintain it.

The tutorial, as it stands in 14 point font, is approximately 600 pages long without any screen shots. It is quite detailed and I am confident that a person with no prior knowledge of GarageBand can learn to use it quite well.

It took a lot of work to research and write the tutorial. If there is interest in it, please let me hear from you. It may motivate me to update it and make it available.

Be Well

Submitted by DudeLove721 on Tuesday, September 19, 2017

While I have a very basic understanding of how to manage loops and vocal tracks, a detailed tutorial for gb would be fantastic! I'd love to learn how to do more with it because working from only the loops and vocals is pretty limiting. Thanks and I hope you pick up work on the tutorial again. Good luck!

Thank you for your encouragement. After posting my last message, it occurred to me that posting my tutorial's current table of contents might be of interest. I am particularly proud of chapter 14 which describes how to use the AU Sampler. It is not accessible using VoiceOver alone. It requires heavy use of the OS Mouse Keys function. The exciting news is that it is possible for the VoiceOver user to take advantage of sampling which is so extensively used in modern music.

The table of contents below applies to GarageBand versions 10.1.X. If/when I update it for version 10.2, it will be somewhat different.

Table of Contents
1. Preface
1.1 About this Book
1.2 About GarageBand

2. Concepts, Settings, and Help
2.1 Initial Concepts, and Recommended Settings
2.2 GarageBand Help
2.3 VoiceOver Help
2.4 Links to Keyboard Shortcuts, Glossary, and GarageBand Preferences

3. Choosing Projects
3.1 Launching GarageBand
3.2 The Project Chooser Window
3.3 Creating New Projects
3.3.1 Choosing a Template from the Grid of Selectable Templates
3.3.2 Using the Default Template
3.3.3 Setting Tempo, Key, and Time Signature in The Details Group
3.4 Saving and Opening Projects

4. The GarageBand Main Window
4.1 Introduction
4.2 Describing the Main Window
4.3 Navigating the Main Window
4.4 Templates and the libraries and editors that they Automatically Open
4.5 The Tracks Area

5. The Tracks Header Group
5.1 Overview
5.2 Default Header Controls: Mute, Solo, Volume, Pan, Rename and Input Monitoring
5.3 Optional Header Controls: Groove Track, Track Lock, Record Enable and Automation
5.4 Adding, Deleting, Duplicating, and Rearranging Tracks
5.4.1 The New Track Dialog
5.4.2 Adding Software Instrument & MIDI Tracks
5.4.3 Adding Audio - Microphone & Line in Tracks
5.4.4 Adding Audio - Guitar & Bass Tracks
5.4.5 Adding Drummer Tracks
5.4.6 Deleting Tracks
5.4.7 Duplicating Tracks
5.4.8 Rearranging Tracks
5.5 Looping tracks
5.6 Using Patches to change the Sound of a Track
5.7 Global Changes: Master, Arrangement, Tempo, Transposition, and Movie Tracks

6. The Tracks Contents Group
6.1 Regions Overview
6.2 Tracks Contents Group Overview
6.3 Selecting Track Contents Verses Selecting the Active Project Track
6.4 Horizontal Zoom, Partially Hidden Regions, and the Move Item Function
6.5 More on the Move Item Function and Horizontal Zoom
6.6 Region Controls: Rename, Loop Handle, Border Handles, Multiple Takes, Loop Families
6.7 Region Selection, Multiple Selection Function, Delete and Move, Join
6.8 Arranging Regions: Playhead, Ruler, Alignment Guides, Snap to Grid
6.9 Creating Empty Regions and Importing Media with the Open File Dialog
6.10 Editing Exercise: Creating A Custom Drummer Track
6.11 Editing with Loop Families and Multiple Takes

7. The Tracks Time Ruler Time Line and the Tracks Legend Group
7.1 The Tracks Time Ruler Time Line
7.1.1 Creating A Cycle Region
7.1.2 Horizontal Zoom
7.1.3 Project End Marker
7.1.4 Positioning the Playhead
7.2 The Tracks Legend Group
7.2.1 New Tracks Button
7.2.2 Show/Hide Automation
7.2.3 Catch Playhead

8. The Control Bar Toolbar
8.1 Overview
8.2 The Control Bar Group
8.3 Cycle Mode
8.4 The Tuner
8.5 The click Track
8.6 Count-In
8.7 The Transport Controls
8.8 The Note Pad
8.9 Quick Help

9. Working with Patches: The Library Group
9.1 Overview
9.2 Selecting Patches
9.3 Previewing Patches
9.4 Saving and Deleting User Patches

10. Editing Patches, Plug-ins, and More: The Smart Controls Group
10.1 Overview
10.2 Equalization (EQ)
10.2.1 The Built-in Eight Band Equalizer
10.2.2 EQ Presets
10.3 Plug-Ins
10.3.1 The Plug-ins Table
10.3.2 Removing Plug-ins from a Track
10.3.3 Adding Plug-ins to a Track
10.3.4 Plug-in Presets
10.3.5 Replacing Plug-ins
10.3.6 Editing Plug-ins
10.3.7 Restoring Initial Plug-in Parameters
10.4 The Smart Controls Toolbar.
10.4.1 The Controls & EQ Radio Buttons
10.4.2 The Show Inspector Button
10.4.3 The Master Button
10.4.4 The Compare Button
10.4.5 The Stompbox
10.4.6 The Amp Designer
10.4.7 The Bass Amp Designer
10.4.8 The Arpeggiator

11. Editing Tracks: The Drummer, Piano Roll, Score, and Audio Track Groups
11.1 Editing Drummer Tracks: The Auto-Play Drummer Group
11.1.1 The Drummer Editor: Edit the Virtual Drummer’s Performance Choose Performance Presets Adjust Performance Loudness and Complexity Drum-Instrument and Variations Follow the Rhythm of Another Track Fills and Swing
11.1.2 The Drummer Inspector: Choose Genres and Virtual Drummers
11.2 Editing Software Instrument/MIDI Tracks: The Piano Roll and Score Groups
11.2.1 Copying Notes
11.2.2 Transposing Notes
11.2.3 Multiple Selection
11.2.4 Piano Roll Legend Group
11.2.5 Inspector Group Editing Note Velocity Quantize
11.2.6 Piano Roll keyboard scroll area
11.2.7 Change Note Position/Duration with the Move Item Function
11.2.8 Reposition Notes with Cut and Paste
11.2.9 Piano Roll Toolbar
11.2.10 Inserting Notes
11.3 Editing Audio Tracks: The Track Group

12. Importing Media: The Loops and Media Groups
12.1 The Loops Group
12.1.1 Overview
12.1.2 Selecting Loops
12.1.3 Sorting the Loops Table
12.1.4 Previewing Loops
12.1.5 Importing Loops with Copy and Paste
12.1.6 Importing Loops with Drag and Drop
12.1.7 Loop Families
12.1.8 Create Your Own Loops
12.2 The Media Group
12.2.1 Overview
12.2.2 Importing Media with Copy and Paste
12.2.3 Importing Media with Drag and Drop
12.2.4 Importing Audio and MIDI Files

13. Recording Tracks
13.1 Input Sources
13.2 Preparing a Track for Recording
13.3 Preparing Your Instrument and Interface for Recording
13.4 Single Take Recording
13.5 Multi-Take Recording
13.6 Recording More Than One Track at A Time
13.7 Recording Stereo Tracks
13.8 Musical Typing: Recording Software Instrument Tracks Using Your QWERTY Keyboard
13.9 General MIDI Percussion Key Map

14. The AU Sampler
14.1 Overview
14.2 Accessing the AU Sampler
14.3 The AU Sampler Dialog
14.4 AU Sampler Basics
14.4.1 The Zone and Layer Grid
14.4.2 The Key Mappings Tab
14.4.3 The Parameters Tab
14.4.4 The Onscreen Graphical Keyboards
14.4.5 Bypassing Layers and Samples
14.4.6 Adding and Deleting Layers and Samples
14.5 Saving Your Custom Instrument
14.6 A Note on the Performance Parameter and Connection Editor Panes
About the Author

Submitted by Ekaj on Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Hello. I, too, am very interested in a tutorial for GB. I'm only an amateur musician at this point, but I love tinkering around with all this audio stuff. To that end I have a question about the midi setup assistant on here. I apologize if this is somewhat OT, but is that at all connected to GB? The reason I'm asking is that I found several midi tracks on another website which I want to hear, and I cannot quite figure things out. Feel free to contact me privately via the form in my profile if necessary.

Submitted by Bo Jingles on Thursday, September 21, 2017

In reply to by Ekaj

Thank you for your encouragement.

With regard to the MIDI setup assistant that you mentioned, I am not familiar with it. I use MIDI with GarageBand and haven't needed anything additional to make it work.

MIDI Keyboard or Controller

My Yamaha P105 is equipped with MIDI out via USB. All I need to do is plug it into one of my Mac's USB ports and GarageBand recognizes it automatically. If you have an older keyboard with the round style MIDI Out port, you will need to connect it to an audio interface that accepts that type of connection. The audio interface must have a driver compatible with your operating system.

Record MIDI with Your QWERTY keyboard

You can use your computer's keyboard to input MIDI notes. Select a software instrument track in the Tracks Header Group and then press Command+K to open the software keyboard. The home row keys (A thru semicolon) are the white keys. W and E are a group of two black keys. T, Y, and U are a group of three black keys. And O and P are another group of two black keys. It would be nice if the key and scale matched those of the project but it doesn't seem to work that way. The letter A seems to always be the note C. The Letter R starts recording. The octave is raised or lowered with the Z and X keys. The note velocity (volume) is raised or lowered with the C and V keys. . If you are in a library browser instrument category when you open the software keyboard, the left and right brace keys step through the instruments in the list. There are additional commands for the software keyboard but these are the basics. Exit the software keyboard by pressing Command+K again.

Importing Standard MIDI Files (*.MID)

Locate the *.mid file in Finder and press VO+Shift+M to open the shortcut menu. Choose the Open With option and then choose GarageBand. GarageBand will import the file into a new project. You will probably need to select a suitable instrument patch from the library. You can also copy a *.mid file from the Finder and paste it into an existing project. If the tempo embedded in the *.mid file is different from that of the project, you should be asked if you want to import the tempo or not. If yes, the project tempo will be changed to that of the imported file. The Copy/Paste operation works most of the time but not always. Keep trying until it works. Drag and Drop almost never works for me. Also, be aware that the pasted file may not begin at bar 1. I pasted one last night and it kept pasting at bar 53 for some reason. If this happens, go into the Tracks Contents Group for that track, select the region or regions and manually paste them to where you want them to start. One last thing, depending on how the *mid file was created, when it is imported, it may create a single software instrument track or it may create multiple tracks. The multiple tracks could contain segments of a single instrument performance or the multiple tracks could contain different instrument performances. You will have to sort it out. For example, I created a *.mid file using Logic Pro X. The electric bass track contained eleven regions at the time of export. When I imported this *.mid file into GarageBand, eleven tracks were created, one per region. So, unless you are aware of these behaviors, you may be very confused by the results of importing a *.mid file.

I may not have addressed your specific question but I hope this information is useful anyway.

Submitted by Ekaj on Saturday, September 23, 2017

@Bo Jingles: I got the midi to work in GB. I tried going to the context menu, but wasn't able to find that option. So I just opened the midi files and GB came up right away. I haven't done much else with it yet other than explore a couple of the individual instruments, but I think I'm slowly but surely getting used to things in GB. The interface still seems a bit clunky, but perhaps that'll change on or after Monday when High Sierra is unleashed to the public. I still think Apple did a nice job thus far.

Glad to hear that you are getting the hang of MIDI with GB. I don't think that High Sierra will make much difference with regard to the GB interface. Having to use VoiceOver with interaction is probably 95% of the clunkiness. You can speed things up by learning the single letter GB shortcuts and the VoiceOver hot spot function which will allow you to jump the VoiceOver cursor to pre-defined locations on the screen.

Submitted by Nicholas Parsons on Saturday, November 4, 2017

How do I lengthen a loop in GarageBand version 10.2 so that it continues for a greater number of bars or even continues for the length of the song/project? I used to be able to do this in the old version of GarageBand I used to use in Mountain Lion. Thanks to Bo Jingles, I've now managed to be able to add a loop to my project in the new GB but haven't yet been able to ensure the loop continues for the right amount of bars, except I suppose if I keep pasting multiple copies of the loop throughout the project every few bars.

I just discovered the answer myself after applying some of Bo Jingles other helpful instructions. I'll post it here in case anyone else has the same problem I had.

1. Navigate to the loop region in the tracks contents area;

2. interact with it;

3. navigate to the loop handle;

4. use VO-Command-Accent to move the loop handle and then use VO-arrow keys to move it to the right. VoiceOver will announce how long the region is becoming.

Submitted by Bo Jingles on Saturday, November 4, 2017


Good work and thank you for posting your how-to steps. The more people do the same, the more valuable this forum will become. I have repeated your instructions below and have added to them.

1. Navigate to the loop region in the tracks contents area;

2. interact with it;

3. navigate to the loop handle;

4. use VO-Command-Accent to move the loop handle and then use VO-arrow keys to move it to the right. VoiceOver will announce how long the region is becoming.

I encountered problems with GarageBand version 10.2 so I used a Time Machine back up to go back to version 10.1.6. However, the instructions below should apply to version 10.2 as well.

When you use the Move Item command, VO+Command+Accent, and then use the arrow keys to lengthen (or shorten) the loop region, the amount of increase is governed by the Horizontal Zoom value.

For example, I just used the Hip Hop template to create a new project and added a loop to it. Following your instructions above, I press the right arrow to lengthen the loop. Each press of the right arrow lengthens the loop by one beat. So, to lengthen the loop one bar, I need to press the right arrow four times.

I checked. The Hip Hop template set the Horizontal Zoom value at 39.5%. Changing the Horizontal Zoom value to 29.5%, each press of the right arrow now lengthens the loop one half bar. Setting Horizontal Zoom to 24.9%, each press of the right arrow now lengthens the loop one bar. Setting Horizontal Zoom to 19.5%, each press of the right arrow now lengthens the loop two bars.

By the way, Command+Left Arrow and Command+Right Arrow are shortcut keys that decrease/increase the Horizontal Zoom value without having to navigate to, and interact with, the Horizontal Zoom slider. By default, VoiceOver doesn't speak the changes to the Horizontal Zoom value. However, you can set up a hot spot on the Horizontal Zoom slider and then press Shift+VO+Command plus the hot spot number and VoiceOver will monitor/automatically speak changes to the Horizontal Zoom value. Pressing the command again will terminate monitoring for the hot spot.

FYI, when in the Tracks Contents Group, VoiceOver may tell you that a region is partially hidden. This means that part of the region is off screen. Decreasing the Horizontal Zoom value (zooming out) will bring the entire region into view and VoiceOver will no longer describe the region as partially hidden.

While on the subject of loops. There is a quick, albeit, temporary way to lengthen a loop. Select the desired track and press the letter L. GarageBand will lengthen the loop all the way to the End Marker value. For example, the Hip Hop template sets the default End Marker value to 32 bars. Therefore, selecting the loop track and then pressing L will cause the loop to be heard during playback all the way through to the end of bar 32. Pressing the letter L again will stop the extension and the loop will revert to its original length.

Here is a nuance. let's say that you want the loop to extend to the beginning of bar 17 instead of to the End Marker value. You can select the loop region in the Tracks Contents Group and position the playhead on bar 17 and then press Command+T to split the region at that point. Weirdly, a new region will be created starting at bar 17. Delete it and now the loop will play from the beginning of the loop and stop at bar 17 instead of playing to the End Marker value. However, if you press the letter L to remove the loop extension and then press it again, the loop will again play to the End Marker value instead of to bar 17. Rather than messing with this, you might as well follow Nicholas' instructions above which will make the loop extension permanent.

One more nuance with regard to the letter L shortcut. If a track has more than one region, only the last region can be extended.

The letter L and other useful shortcuts can be found at the following URL:

GarageBand Keyboard shortcuts

Note: The shortcuts in the above document are GarageBand commands, not VoiceOver commands. Therefore some of them may not appear to do anything. In most instances, this is because they do something that only a sighted user can see but that VoiceOver doesn't detect. However, most of the shortcuts work as described so if you want to up your GarageBand game, learn them.

Submitted by Bo Jingles on Wednesday, December 6, 2017


If you are interested in obtaining the first four chapters of my book at no cost, GarageBand 10.1.6 for Mac: A User's Guide and Reference, please email me at:


I include the entire table of contents so that you can see what is covered in chapters five through fourteen, but I am only offering the text for the first four chapters at this time.

If you have been frustrated trying to learn GarageBand with VoiceOver, I believe that the first four chapters of my book (Part One--GarageBand Basics) will take you from knowing little or nothing, to becoming quite familiar with the basics of GarageBand. I encourage feedback.

I don't use the newest version of GarageBand (version 10.2) because I've had too many problems with it. I have reported the problems that I have encountered, as I'm sure many others have done. Hopefully, the next version will address them. In the meantime, I consider version 10.1.6 to be the stable version. If you are using version 10.1.6 with Sierra, you should find my text most accurate. If you are using an older version from the 10.1.x series, you should still find these chapters very helpful. And, even if you are using version 10.2, which underwent a significant redesign, these chapters should be of value.

Submitted by djflex90 on Monday, May 21, 2018

Hello everyone. I'm writing to let you all know, that not only am I typing this from flip type, but I've also been hard at work this weekend creating a decent four part tutorial on producing music in garage band for Mac with voice over. I hope this was the correct place to post this but I feel that people who are just getting into music and may not want to or have the dollar to drop on anything really could use this. Garage band gets a lot of bashing for not being a capable digital audio workstation, but if you hope to upgrade to something like logic or even reeper, garage band is an amazing and free program to start with and get your feet wet. Below is the link to the play list containing all of the videos in the tutorial. I create a track from start to finish using nothing but built in sounds. If you have any feedback feel free to leave it and also suggestions in the comments here or on my channel. I also wanted to state for the record that all information written here and linked below was created by me for informational uses only.
Here is the link to the play list. As I said the tutorial is split across four videos, and the fifth is the audio of the final track.

Submitted by Bo Jingles on Tuesday, June 26, 2018

How to choose a project template in GB 10.3

I installed GarageBand 10.3 on OS Sierra.

While GarageBand 10.3 looks really good so far, the way VoiceOver interacts with the grid of selectable templates in the Project Chooser Window has become more complicated. Even so, once you know what to do, choosing a project template is still quite easy.

The Project Chooser Window appears whenever you press Command+N (new project) or Command+W (close open project) and then exit the Save dialogue. Project templates were formerly chosen from a grid of selectable templates. The grid still exists but it has been redesigned and is now called “Collection”.

1. Interact with Collection by pressing Shift+Control+Option+Down Arrow.
2. Immediately press Control+Option+Command+Return one time This is the multiple selection command. See note below.
3. Use VO+Right Arrow to select a template. Since I have cursor wrapping enabled, the VoiceOver cursor cycles between Keyboard Collection, Amp Collection, Voice, Hip Hop, Electronic, Songwriter, and “Factory Templates”. Factory Templates is new and is only a text label. What happened to the Empty Project template? With the VoiceOver cursor on the Factory templates label, VO+Left Arrow one time to the Empty Project template.
It appears that the Ringtone template is been dropped in version 10.3.
4. After you have selected the desired template, press Command+Option+Control+F5. This command jumps the mouse cursor to the location of the VoiceOver cursor which is already located on the desired template.
5. Press Shift+Control+Option+Spacebar to perform a mouse click. This selects the template.
6. Exit Collection. A fast way to do this is to press Control+Option+Command+End to jump the VoiceOver cursor out of the Collection and on to the Choose button.
7. If you want to launch the template with default project properties (tempo, key signature, time signature, etc.),, press Enter or VO+Space Bar. However, if you want to change project properties before launching the template, VO+Left Arrow to the Details Group and interact with it. If you don’t encounter the Details Group but only encounter the Details collapsed disclosure triangle, press VO+Back Slash on the disclosure triangle to reveal the Details Group which is now accessed by pressing VO+Right Arrow one time. After changing project properties, exit the Details Group and activate the Choose button.

Note: There may be more going on in the redesigned Collection than I yet understand. It appears that when the Collection is first interacted with, the multiple selection function is automatically turned on. If step two above is skipped, pressing VO+Right Arrow a few times will cause VoiceOver to start saying things like “three items selected”, four items selected”., etc. Why would we want to select multiple templates? Create a new project made up of several templates? Move templates somewhere? Rearrange the order of templates? My experimentation hasn’t yet uncovered any answers. In any case, following the above steps should make selecting project templates a relatively easy matter.

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Submitted by DudeLove721 on Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Just wondering if anyone is unable to copy/paste apple loops into the tracks contents window. I try copying loops from the loops browser like before and the option is dimmed when I have a track selected now. Has apple changed how to do this in the new garageband update, has accessibility been broken or is it just me having this problem?

If anyone could let me know their own experience or (even better) an alternative way to get the loops to the track contents window so I can edit their length and volume in the mix... or even put them in my project, I'd really appreciate it. Thanks!

Submitted by tunmi13 on Tuesday, July 10, 2018

I try my best to drag the loops in by double tap and holding, then dragging straight to the left, slowly. Then inches from the home button I release, and it should say adding audio files.

Here, this is one of my tracks on my YouTube channel, using Garageband on iOS.

All I used, was the Hcienda drum kit, and Apple Loops.

Tunmi - Ultimate Surviver (Dance Remix). HTH!

With regard to using loops in GarageBand 10.3.1 on the Mac, I haven't had any trouble using copy/paste or drag and drop. If you are still having trouble, please describe the steps that you use and I will try them out on my system.

In general, with any copy/paste or drag and drop operation, the target track must be the selected track when trying to place a loop onto an existing track. And, there are some compatibility constraints. For example, you can copy a drummer track onto a software instrument track but not onto an audio track.

It is also possible to automatically create a new track with either the copy/paste or drag and drop operations. In other words, you don't have to create a new track first and then place the loop onto it, though you certainly can do it that way.
Generally, the new track will be added immediately following the selected project track.

You should be able to add or replace tracks in either the Tracks Header Group or in the Tracks Contents Group. However, I just created a new Empty Project with a software instrument track. I selected a software loop and tried to drop it onto the empty track in the Tracks Header Group and GarageBand wouldn't do it. However, I went to the Tracks Contents Group and the drop worked just fine. As I said earlier, drag and drop doesn't always work 100% of the time.

In the Tracks Contents Group, you can drop a loop onto the last item, namely, Track Background and a new track will be added to the project.

Working with loops, you will notice that a loop doesn't always get added at bar one. It may be added starting at bar thirty-three or at some other starting point. So, after adding a loop, interact with its track background and check its starting point. It is easy to cut the region and paste it to a different starting point.

Drag and Drop Commands

1. Locate a loop in the loops table, put the VoiceOver cursor on the loop name field, and then press VO+Comma. VoiceOver should indicate that the loop is selected for drag and drop.

2. Press VO+J several times to navigate the VoiceOver cursor to the Tracks Header Group
. VoiceOver will speak the currently selected project track. If you want to select a different track, use the up or down arrow keys (I've noticed that using VO+Up or Down doesn't always cause a different track to be selected but the up and down keys by themselves always seem to work.) Pressing VO+J once more will jump the VoiceOver cursor to the Tracks Contents Group if you'd rather add/replace from there.

3. VO+Period will try to drop a loop onto the selected track.
Shift+VO+Comma will try to drop the loop before the selected track.
Shift+VO+Period will try to add the loop after the selected track.
These operations may take a few seconds but VoiceOver should speak the results. If drag and drop fails as it sometimes does for me, try copy and paste instead (Command+C and Command+V).

Note: Drag and drop is a mouse related operation. If you have trouble with it, try manually moving the mouse cursor to the VoiceOver cursor (Command+Option+Control+F5) prior to selecting a loop and/or before issuing the drop command on, before, or after the selected track. This might help under certain circumstances.

Hope this helps.

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Submitted by Leo on Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Again, so many thanks for this. I finally went out and bought a keyboard, keyboards were my first instrument. I've been able to successfully create one complete piece, and lay down a couple other tracks for a friend overseas. Starting at Post 8 on this thread, this is a great deal of very useful information!
I wish I could play a region by itself. Maybe I'm missing something.

Also, once you define a region, is it possible to stretch or shrink it? I could only do this by making a new one, but I'm probably missing something obvious.

This version of Garage Band really does have a lot more direct keyboard access.

Also, a tip for keyboardists -- I haven't bothered hooking up my bass a second time --. I bought Mainstage 3 from the Apple store, about $30 I think. I did so because once you run it and download all its patches (they call it sounds), you've got every patch you could want at least as a keyboardist.

Submitted by Bo Jingles on Tuesday, July 31, 2018


You wrote:
"I wish I could play a region by itself. Maybe I'm missing something."

If you would, please explain your comment in greater detail. I am not sure what you mean.

In the Tracks Contents Group, regions can be expanded, shortened, or looped. Here's the deal:

Drummer regions can be expanded or shortened as many bars as you like. By drummer, I am talking about GB"s drummer feature.

As I recall, software instrument regions, such as those created by adding a software instrument loop to your project, can also be expanded but the expanded part of the region will probably contain silence. In other words, if you start with a two bar software instrument region and drag its right edge so that it becomes four bars long, the region becomes two bars of instrument followed by two bars of silence, for a total of four bars.

Audio regions behave like software instrument regions. In other words, dragging the edge only adds silence.

With regard to drummer regions, you can shorten them, change your mind, and press the opposite arrow to expand the region again. Drummer regions are very flexible this way. However, if you shorten an audio or software instrument region, the shortened part of the region is permanently erased. In other words, you can't change your mind and press the opposite arrow key. All this will accomplish is to add silence, not restore the erased material. For example, if you have a two bar audio loop and shorten it to one bar, trying to lengthen it again by pressing the opposite arrow key will only add silence. Nor will the OS undo command restore the erased material. I've been bitten by this many times. Therefore, it is a good idea to save your project prior to moving handles just in case you make a mistake and want to start over.

To drag the edge of a region:

1. Interact with the desired track in the Tracks Contents Group.
2. Use Control+Option+Left or Control+Option+right arrows to select the desired region.
3. You can select the left border handle, the right border handle, or the loop handle.

Note: The left handle is used to
move the left edge of the region left or right. To the left expands the region, to the right shortens the region. Same idea for the right handle except that moving the handle to the right expands and to the left shortens. Moving the loop handle to the right adds more bars of loop while to the left reduces the number of looped bars.

To move a handle:

1. Select the desired handle by pressing Control+Option+Right or Control+Option+Left Arrow.
2. Initiate the Move Item function by pressing Control+Option+Command+Accent key. (The accent key is just below the escape key.)
3. Use the left and right arrow keys to move the handle to either the left or to the right.
4. When done, terminate the Move Item function by pressing the Escape key

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Submitted by Leo on Thursday, August 2, 2018

Ok I've been doing some work in the past few days after work and I have a question.
I get how regions work now. But I'm old school enough that I really want to use my ears to define the region. What I mean is, basically select, hear my selection, then lengthen and shorten the selection.
I know this is possible because when I was a session musician in the early 90s, the engineers were using software then. We couldn't of course. Or at least I didn't know of anything for us back then. But while they were visually looking, they were listening as the cursor or whatever moved. Lol the engineers would always say then that they'd rather use their ears. Mind, they were fully sighted, I was the only blind guy in the studio.
Select-and-play seems kind of key. If you're doing anything that doesn't match the stereotype for a song on the radio, something a bit more atmospheric, you can't always make your edits just by math … it helps to listen. I get that you can cycle play a region, but would love to learn how to select, then play that selection. Visually they can, I've seen people talk about selecting and then use space to play that selection. I get that we can't scrub in Garage Band, plus unless you're used to it, scrubbing with a sequencer can sound a little weird to some. I can live without that if I could only make a selection and just play that selection, so I know how to resize it before making it into a region.

Thanks so much,


Submitted by Matt T on Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Hi, I've been playing around with editing notes, but can't figure out how to edit cc messages.
For example, lets say I move the mod wheel a little to far on a patch, Is there a way to edit that message accessibly?


GarageBand is capable of editing MIDI controller messages but it isn't accessible as far as I can tell.

If you want to try it for yourself, in the Piano Roll toolbar, check the Show Automation checkbox.

Then interact with the Piano Roll Group. Some new items now show up after the Piano Roll layout area.

Box (this is a text label)

Controller (this is a text label)

Checkbox (I don't know what this does. Checking it and unchecking it doesn't do anything that I can detect.))

Note Velocity button (pressing Control+Option+Spacebar on this button opens a menu of MIDI control events such as pan, modulation, etc.)
Note Velocity appears to be the default value.

B (Like the checkbox, I can't tell what this button does)

Piano Roll MIDI Draw contents group (this is where MIDI controller notes are edited)

Your best bet may be to use an external MIDI controller to record over and over until you get a modulation event, for example, that satisfies, since the ability to edit performance flaws appears to be inaccessible. It would be nice to be able to manually create MIDI controller events without having to perform, but this too appears to be inaccessible.

Good luck

ah, I thought it might have something to do with Automation.
And I've found out, that when your editing midi notes, and you've made a mistake on lets say bar, 16 playing the project along, until you here that mist note, the piano roll note editor doesn't follow your playback