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Frequently Encountered Scenarios in GarageBand


1. How To Record
2. Importing MP3/Audio/MIDI files
3. More About Recording
4. Selecting
5. More On Selecting
6. Adding FX

Scenario 1: How do I record?

When first creating a new project, (Command+N), you will be prompted to choose a new blank Audio or Software Instrument/MIDI track among others to be added to the project when its created. For more on this see the Getting Started page.

  1. If Needed, insert a new Track into the project. Command+Option+A (Audio), or Command+Option+S (Software Instrument/Midi).
  2. Toggle “Record Enable” on for the new track for recording. Control+R
  3. Press Record to start recording. R
  4. Press stop when done recording. SpaceBar
  5. Toggle “Record Enable” off for the track you just recorded on. Control+R

Press Return to go back to the start of the project and press SpaceBar to playback what you just recorded. Repeat steps 1 through 5 to record on more tracks from the start of the project.
If you don’t hear anything when you playback your recording, verify that you have the right sound card or Audio Interface selected and verify that the right input is selected. See the Getting Started page for more info.
Also as GarageBand automatically will record to the selected track you can skip record enabling, steps 2 and 5, unless recording to multiple tracks at once.

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Scenario 2: How Do I Import MP3 And Other Audio/MIDI Files (e.g. for use as a backing track)

Press the Return key to make sure you are at the start of the Project. If you don’t want the imported file to start at the beginning, Navigate to the point in the project where you want the imported file to begin playing from. You can use Period or Comma to move through the project by measure.
You can quickly and simply import any amount audio or MIDI file into a project by simply locating and selecting them in finder, and copying it. You can then Command+Tab back to GarageBand and so long as you are in the main arrangement window, press command+V to paste them into the project. This will add a track at the end of the track list with the new file(s). If you are pasting multiple files simultaneously into GarageBand this way, you will be prompted to choose whether you would like them on one track or separate tracks. Be aware however, there is a slight bug with this method that makes it not useable once you have copied and pasted from one point in the project to another without restarting GarageBand first.
Alternatively you can toggle the media browser visible with its HotKey “F” and use that to import media into a project.

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Scenario 3: More On Recording

I need to record a new track. The recording has to start at measure 23, and I need to hear what’s on the other tracks.

  1. Toggle “Record Enable” off for the last track you recorded on. (Skip this step if you didn’t previously record a track). Control+R
  2. Insert a new Track into the project. Command+Option+A (Audio), or Command+Option+S (SoftwareInstrument/Midi)
  3. Toggle “Record Enable” on for the new track. Control+R
  4. Navigate to measure 23(or the measure you would like to go to) Period/Comma (Moves you forward/backwards by measure through a project)
  5. Press Record to start recording. R
    6.Press stop when done recording. SpaceBar
  • Remember that by default GarageBand has a 1 measure count in so you will have to wait for the previous measure to play before you can start recording.

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Scenario 4: Selecting

After measure 20, playback is paused, and I want to select all before the 20 seconds. How do I do this on one or all tracks?

  1. Select the track you want to do this on. Up/Down Arrows (Add SHIFT to select contiguous tracks)
  2. Navigate to measure 20 (or whatever measure you would like to edit). Period/Comma (Moves you forward/backwards by measure through a project)
  3. Split Regions/Events at Playhead Command+T
  • Note Whenever you split a region, what is to the right of the Playhead will be selected. In the above example this means from measure 20 on will be selected. In order to select the previous region (which in this case will be from the start of the project to Measure 20), press the left arrow.
  • You can now Copy (Command+C)or CUT (Command+X) the Selected area.
  • Once you have the item Cut or Copied, you can navigate to another point in the project and paste with Command+V. (

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Scenario 5: More On Selecting

Between measure 51 and 57, I want to delete a part ? How do I do this for a single track or all tracks?

  1. Select all tracks you want to do this with. Up/DownArrows, (add Shift to select contiguous tracks)
  2. Navigate to measure 51 (or the measure you want the edit to start at). Period/Comma (Moves you forward/backwards by measure through a project)
  3. Split regions or events at the playhead. Command+T
  4. Navigate to measure 57 (or the measure you want the edit to end at). Period/Comma (Moves you forward/backwards by measure through a project)
  5. Split regions or events at the playhead. Command+T
  6. As what’s now selected is to the right of the playhead (measure 57 on) You will now need to select the previous region (the region from measure 51 to 57) by pressing the Left Arrow.
    7A. If you want to delete the selected regions press the Delete key.
    7B. If you want later items to move in and fill the gap of the audio you just Deleted, you will need to use the “Delete and Move” command. Edit Menu > Delete And Move.

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Scenario 6: Adding FX To A Track

First, Navigate to the track you would like to add an effect to with Up/Down Arrows.
Stop interacting with the tracks area, navigate to “Smart Controls” and interact with it. In there navigate to the “Scroll Area” and interact with it. In there navigate to “one of the Insert” pop up buttons and Select a blank one to bring up the list of available effects.
If you don’t see an Insert pop up button, you will need to VO+Space on the plug in button first.

Once the add FX menu is open, you can choose from one of the listed categories and in their sub menu ,select the FX you want. Third Party FX are found under the Audio Units sub menu. Once an effect is selected it’s dialog will open and you can navigate through all the FX parameters by interacting with the scroll area or select a preset from the pop up button labelled Manual or Default.
Be Aware that to be able to select a 3rd party Instruments or effect, you will have to go into preferences with Command+Comma, and select “Audio” from the toolbar. Under effects select “Enable Audio Units” toggle button.
If “Smart Controls” is not visible on your screen you can toggle it back into view with its HotKey “b”.

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