GarageBand

Common Sense Media says

Powerful sequencer lets kids create pro-quality recordings.

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

Learning(i)

What parents need to know

Ease of play

GarageBand is designed to give everyone an amazing musical experience, regardless of their musical ability. The interface is appealing and well designed -- it gives shape and sight to sound so kids can see how instruments are layered, or multitracked, to make songs. With further exploration, kids will find many powerful production and editing tools to enhance their creations.

Violence
Not applicable
Sex
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism

The app is free; a $4.99 in-app purchase unlocks the complete collection of instruments and sounds.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable
Privacy & safety

Kids can share their GarageBand creations through popular social media sites including Facebook, YouTube, and SoundCloud. They can also email their songs, send as a text message, export to iMovie and iTunes, and set their songs as a ringtone or text tone. The app can also pair up to three other users via Bluetooth for a join GarageBand jam session.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that GarageBand is powerful digital music workstation and multitrack recorder for iOS devices that's similar to GarageBand for Mac OS X. Kids can create songs and soundscapes in a number of ways -- by sequencing high quality pre-recorded loops, by playing virtual instruments (guitars, basses, strings, keyboards, and drums), or by recording live instruments and vocals -- all in an intuitive and engaging interface. Added bonus: the great editing tools that tighten up any musical performance. Kids can share their GarageBand songs via social media, email, or text, even export them to iMovie and iTunes (where they can be used as one-of-a-kind ring or text tone). The deeper kids dig into this robust app, the more professional audio production tools they'll discover to help express themselves.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Science

  • engineering
  • physics

Arts

  • improvising and music analysis
  • music
  • rhythm
  • singing

Skills

Creativity

  • making new creations

Communication

  • multiple forms of expression

Tech Skills

  • digital creation

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

GarageBand ropes in kids and unleashes unthought-of musical abilities. Robust features, appealing design, and amazing sound quality make this THE go-to for music creation. 

Learning Approach

Impressive digital audio workstation lets kids explore multi-track recording, composition, and sound design. Pre-recorded grooves and versatile tools empower them for mobile music creation and sharing. 

Support

Outstanding in-app support guides kids through features, including aptly placed sticky-note help features. Support is offered in 34 languages, a plus for ELL students. An in-app glossary explains musical and audio recording terminology.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Science

  • engineering
  • physics

Arts

  • improvising and music analysis
  • music
  • rhythm
  • singing

Skills

Creativity

  • making new creations

Communication

  • multiple forms of expression

Tech Skills

  • digital creation

Kids can learn essential audio engineering and composition skills with GarageBand. The visual interface helps teach multitrack recording and song structure, and the virtual instruments reinforce music theory and aural skills. Kids can arrange and mix loops, instruments, and vocals for endless musical creation. They can record voice-only events like poetry readings. Sharing is easy: Kids can post songs to social media or send via email or text. They can even connect with other users via Bluetooth and play together as a virtual band. GarageBand is designed to give everyone an amazing musical experience -- and it delivers.

This Learning Rating review was written by Kim Alessi

Parents say

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Kids say

What's it about?

With GarageBand, kids can record and layer up to eight tracks of loops, instruments, and vocals to create original songs and soundscapes. The app has several standout features: pre-recorded loops and drum grooves; a collection of virtual Smart Instruments with pre-programmed chord progressions, scales, and rhythmic riffs; music editing and production tools; and sharing features that can post songs, pair devices for a virtual jam session, and customize ring and text tones. Players can record vocals, live instruments, or ambient sounds using the in-app microphone. They can also connect an external microphone and plug a guitar into their iOS devices using specialized adapters for pro-quality live recording in GarageBand.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

There's really no app like GarageBand -- imagine being able to write, record, and share your own professional quality music wherever you are with a few taps of a screen. GarageBand is a powerful mobile digital audio workstation for multitrack recording with impressive, on-board loops and production and editing tools. The app's multitouch controls and visual interface help kids see their music so it demystifies how songs are put together and recorded. There are some pretty sophisticated features here, but the app is intuitive enough so that anyone can jump in and start creating music, regardless of music training. (Plus the in-app support is fantastic and is available in 34 different languages!)

GarageBand is huge (588 MB) -- but that's because it's a fully-functional mobile recording studio complete with high quality sounds, interactive virtual instruments, and helpful tools for endless music creation. Two minor downsides: kids can't download additional loops, and woodwind and brass instruments aren't plentiful in the sound bank. Still, everything else is here for unthought of music creation -- all in a portable, intuitive, touch-screen design that puts amazing music making at your fingertips.

Editor's note: Reviewer Kim Alessi worked with Apple as curriculum writer and consultant from 2004 to 2008.

 

Families can talk about...

  • Watch live music together as a family and talk about how the instruments and singers interact with each other. Ask how sound layers on sound.

  • Talk about different musical genres. Ask your kid what styles they like best and why. Record an original song together in their favorite style.

App details

Devices:iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
Price:Free
Pricing structure:Free
Release date:March 20, 2013
Category:Music
Size:588.00 MB
Publisher:Apple
Version:1.4
Minimum software requirements:iOS 5.1 or later

This review of GarageBand was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

Find out more

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 17 years old Written bymoviewannabe September 14, 2013
AGE
4
QUALITY
 

THIS IS MY FAVORITE APP OF ALL TIME!!!!!!

Some cool features you get to do on this app is compose your own music and add vocals to it. If you want to add vocals, you can add them with any of the seven main categories of content in Common Sense Media: Positive messages, positive role models, violence & scariness, sexy stuff, language, consumerism and drinking, drugs & smoking. Like for positive message lyrics I'd conclude would be like "It doesn't matter what you do / It doesn't matter what you're through / It doesn't matter who you taunt / You can provide what the world wants". Don't know for positive role models, but for violence I'd include lyrics like: "Don't put me down / I don't want to die / Don't put me down / Can't you all see why?" For sex lyrics, I'd include: "I never want to chase a girl's skirt / I have my own girlfriend who to flirt" I'd wouldn't add anything obscene, but mention an occasional produce placement and alcohol, drug and tobacco one or two times like "I got beer on my shirt / Drop it all on the dirt". It doesn't matter who you are, you can write your own song and compose it with this.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Kid, 9 years old July 25, 2013
AGE
10
QUALITY
 

Fun and User-Friendly

It's a wonderfully crafted app that lets anybody make music. It's easy to use, and fully functional. There are the smart instruments that are easy for beginners, and making music is so easy. I definitely recommend this app for any musicians, or kids & adults who want to be musicians.
Teen, 16 years old Written byrebma97 May 21, 2013
AGE
8
QUALITY
 

Great Music-Making App

Musicians, creative people, and people who just like music in general will love this app. It is SO easy to create music on here, plus there's a way for you to record you voice in case you want to sing! You can even put your music on iTunes-I've made several songs myself :). There's absolutely nothing offensive in this (unless of course YOU make it inappropriate), and I think it could be listed as "positive messages" because it teaches kids to use their imagination. So it's also educational in a way ;)

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