GarageBand Project

Music Technology Lesson Plan

Grade Level: High School

Date and Time: 10/19 10-11:45 am


Objectives: Students will be able to…

  1. Create a song in GarageBand including a melody, bassline, chords, percussion, and at least one loop.
  2. Use the program effectively to record and edit tracks.



  • Mac computer
  • GarageBand
  • MIDI Keyboard
  • Headphones
  • Print outs of sheet music for a nursery rhyme



(Procedure will be based on using “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”, but any nursery rhyme can be used.)

  1. Log on to the computers and open GarageBand, select empty project.
  2. In the tempo display bar in the center, change the tempo to 90, the meter to 4/4 and the key to C major.
  3. Click “show transposition track” from the Track menu in the menu bar. Click the line on every beat that the chord changes. Each number going vertically represents a half step. In this example, click a point on beat one of measure 2, and move it up 5 ticks, so that it goes to F. Move it back down to 0 on beat 3 of measure 2. Continue in this fashion for the rest of the song.
  4. Click the “+” icon in the top left corner to add a track, select drummer.
  5. Adjust the length of the drum track to 12 bars, select desired drummer. Students can use the yellow circle in the drummer settings to adjust the loudness and complexity of the drum track, as well as change what percussion instruments are used.
  6. Add another instrument, but this time make it a software instrument, as this will be the melody of the song. Students can choose any instrument they want for the melody, but it is recommended that they choose something from the guitar, piano, synthesizer, organ, or electric piano categories.
  7. Make sure the metronome and count off icons are active, and press record.
  8. Play the melody of the song all the way through, making sure to stay on beat.
  9. Once students have finished, they can fix any wrong notes by double clicking that instrument track and accessing the piano roll. Notes can be changed or moved accordingly.
  10. Repeat step 5, but pick another instrument for the bass line of the song. Choose a bass instrument from either the bass category, or the bass section within the synthesizer category.
  11. Record the bass line of the song. In this example, the bass line should follow the chords of the song, ie. C C C C F F C C F F C C G G C.
  12. Add another instrument, this time one for the chords of the song. Students can pick any instrument able to play polyphonic pitches, such as the piano or organ.
  13. Record the chords of the song, following the sheet music.
  14. At this point, students can feel free to add any more tracks they want, as well as loops from the loop menu in the upper right corner. The loops will transpose to the key of the song because we added the transposition track in step 3.
  15. Students can pan tracks or change the volume with the controls on the instrument track, as well as use dynamics automation by opening the automation track with the “A” key.
  16. When students are finished, click share and “export song to disk”. The file should be emailed to the teacher or posted to powerschool/google classroom/canvas.


  • Are students able to create a version of the song individually that is different from other students, including their own creative ideas?
  • Can students use GarageBand successfully to create a song?
  • There will be a rubric assessing whether or not students included all the necessary tracks, and played the song correctly.
Generate melodic, rhythmic, and harmonic ideas for compositions or improvisations using digital tools.
Plan and Make: Select and develop musical ideas for defined purposes and contexts.
Select, develop, and organize multiple melodic, rhythmic and harmonic ideas to develop into a larger work that exhibits unity, variety, complexity, and coherence using digital and analog tools, resources, and systems.
Present: Share creative musical work that conveys intent, demonstrates craftsmanship, and exhibits originality.