Take Guitar or Piano Lessons in GarageBand in iLife '11 - dummies

Take Guitar or Piano Lessons in GarageBand in iLife ’11

By Tony Bove

In iLife ’11, GarageBand’s Learn to Play lessons help you easily learn the basic techniques of playing guitar and piano, and the Lesson Store lets you purchase and download guitar lessons, piano lessons, and special artist lessons to learn songs from the artists who created them. GarageBand includes two basic lessons for guitar (Intro to Guitar and Chord Trainer) and one for piano (Intro to Piano).

If you want to take lessons in GarageBand, follow these steps:

  1. Fire up GarageBand and click Learn to Play on the left.

    The basic lessons installed on your Mac appear on the right side of the window.

  2. Select the lesson you want to open and then click Choose.

    The lesson opens in full-screen view, where you see these items:

    • A video in the upper part of the window showing the teacher and the chapter menu (showing your Learn and Play chapter choices)

    • An animated fret board (for guitar lessons) or keyboard (for piano lessons) in the lower part of the window

    • A control bar below the animated instrument, which includes controls to play the lesson, turn on the metronome and the cycle region, slow down the lesson, and record your instrument as you play along

    • Buttons in the upper-right corner for selecting the glossary of musical terms, the tuner (to help you tune your guitar), the Mixer screen, and the Setup screen.

      Open a guitar lesson to play along.
      Open a guitar lesson to play along.

    Each Learn to Play lesson includes two chapters: Learn and Play. In the Learn chapter, the teacher shows you how to play the song, including details about techniques or special tunings. In the Play chapter, you can play along with the teacher and choose one or more sections to practice.

  3. Choose either Learn or Play on the left side of the screen.

    Artist lessons for purchase may also include a Story chapter with information about the song and the artist, and other lessons you can purchase include Simple and Advanced chapters.

  4. To play the Learn chapter, click the CD-style Play button on the control bar or press the spacebar.

    The playhead above the control bar shows the section of the lesson that’s playing — to switch to another section, click the section on the control bar. Click the Cycle button before clicking a section to play it repeatedly.

  5. To stop, click the Play button again or press the spacebar again.

  6. To leave full-screen view and return to the GarageBand opening dialog, press the Esc key or click the circled x in the upper-left corner of the screen.

    You can return to the same spot in the lesson by choosing the lesson again (refer to Step 2).