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Learn to Play an Instrument in GarageBand

Have you been itching to learn to play an instrument? GarageBand can teach you to play guitar or piano with its built-in lessons. GarageBand makes learning to play an instrument easy and fun!


Connect a USB or MIDI-compatible keyboard or guitar.

Connect the keyboard or guitar to your Mac using a USB connector cable. You may need a MIDI to USB converter, if you have a MIDI instrument. If GarageBand is already open, it will recognize the new instrument and set it up for you.


Click Learn to Play and click the Guitar Lessons or Piano Lessons tab

A list of related lessons appears.

You’ll have to visit the Lesson Store to download the Basic Lessons that you get as part of iLife ’11. Click the right-pointing arrow to visit the joint.


Select a lesson, and click Choose.

In each full-screen lesson, an instructor demonstrates his or her craft. Lessons start simple and become more challenging as you progress.

Lessons include a video glossary and a mixer (to change how you hear the teacher, instruments in GarageBand, or your own instrument). You also find a setup button that leads to options that differ depending on the instrument you’re using. If you are learning guitar, you also see a separate tuner button.

In GarageBand ’11, a How Did I Play? feature answers that very question with gentle visual feedback. You can check a progress bar that gives you a numeric score; GarageBand keeps a history of your progress. It’s like having a music teacher inside your Mac.


Click the Artist Lessons tab and choose an artist lesson instead.

If you want your music teacher to be a real headliner, check out the Lessons Store and click Artist Lessons. Sting teaches you to play Roxanne, and Norah Jones explains techniques in Thinking About You. Each artist lesson costs $4.99. You can sample an excerpt from these lessons and other artist lessons before purchasing them.

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