How to Make a Song on GarageBand

There’s no wrong way to write a song, and GarageBand is a great tool to let you turn a musical idea into a recording. Making a song in GarageBand only requires a few simple steps to get started, and the app is very easy to use for this purpose.

I’m Donovan, and I’ve made many songs on GarageBand over the years. I’m very familiar with the tools within the app and the process for getting a song from simply an idea in your head to a recorded piece of music. 

This post will show you the basic steps to making a song on GarageBand. I’ll walk you through the process of starting a new project in the app and provide you with some considerations to keep in mind along the way. 

Let’s start making a song!

Key Takeaways

  • Everyone has their own process for making a song in GarageBand or any other app, so use the information here as a guide rather than a set of rules. 
  • Writing a song can be different from making a song in an app like GarageBand, but you can use the app to help you out quite a bit. 
  • You don’t need any live instruments or professional equipment to make a song on GarageBand, but these can help you make better songs in the long run. 

How to Make a Song on GarageBand iPhone

Making a song on GarageBand with your iPhone is fun and easy. The iOS version of the app gives you the power to create and record music anywhere you go, which is awesome for musicians of all kinds who love to travel. 

To make a song with GarageBand on iPhone, follow these steps: 

1. Open the GarageBand app on your iPhone. 

2. If you’ve never used or opened the app before, you’ll begin with an Empty Project and will have a number of options to choose from to get started. Depending on how you want to make the song, you’ll want to start with different elements. 

I often like to start a song with a drum beat. So you can choose the Drums option to start the new project. But you can also start with Keyboard, Guitar, World, Bass, Strings, Audio Recorder, Amp, or the Sound Library. 

Ultimately, what you choose here is up to you. There is no right or wrong way to go about it.

3. After you choose the software instrument, sound, or other option for your song, you’ll be directed to the project window, where you can start recording tracks to build the song. Hit the Record button to lay down your first track. 

4. Hit the Stop button whenever you are done playing the software instrument or making the recording. 

5. You can add more tracks to the song by tapping the Project window button on the top right side of the recording window. 

(Screenshot taken in GarageBand on my iPhone)

6. With the project window open, tap the + icon in the bottom left corner of the window. This will bring you back to the Instruments menu, and you can add another element to the song. Repeat this as many times as you want for your song. 

How to Make a Song on GarageBand Mac

Making a song on GarageBand for your Mac is also really easy, and it’s a great app to use if you are just learning how to record or even write music. There are a ton of tools you can use to assist your songwriting, editing, and recording process. 

To make a song on GarageBand for Mac, follow these steps. 

1. Open the GarageBand app on your Mac. 

2. The main window will appear, and you can choose several different options to get started with making a song. 

(Screenshot taken in GarageBand on my Mac)

3. If you have never used GarageBand before, you should use one of the Factory Templates rather than an Empty Project. These will give you access to the software instruments built into the app itself. 

Select one of the options you see to start building a track. I like to start with a drum beat when I’m making a song, but you can choose whatever you’d like. 

4. Once you choose an option from the main window, a new project will open up. You’ll see the factory preset tracks in the project window here, or you’ll need to add tracks if you open an empty project. 

5. Select the track you want to record first by clicking on it. Then hit the Record button when you are ready to lay down your first part of the song. 

6. When you are done recording the first track, hit the Stop button. 

7. You can record as many tracks as you want on top of that first track and choose different software instruments to add other elements to the song. 

Move the playhead back to the beginning of the track to start from the top. Or position it at other parts of the song if you want to record a section from within the track. 

8. Make sure to Save your track often, so you don’t lose any parts if you’re computer shuts down or freezes.  

How to Make a Song in GarageBand without Instruments

One great aspect of GarageBand is that it comes loaded with a bunch of software instruments you can use to make songs. You don’t actually need any real instruments to start recording, and you get all of this for free. 

To make a song in GarageBand without instruments, simply follow the steps mentioned in the sections above for adding and recording software instruments. You can add as many software instrument tracks as you want to add parts to your song. 

You can also do a lot with recording vocals on the GarageBand app. You won’t get as high of quality as you would with a real microphone, but you can still use the built-in mics on your Mac or iPhone to start making songs.  

How to Make a Song in GarageBand using Loops

Using Loops is a great way to start making a song in GarageBand and a tool you should know how to use. 

To make a song in GarageBand using loops, open up a new project in the app on your Mac or iPhone. Then select the Loops icon on the upper right side of the window. This icon looks like the loop of a rollercoaster. 

This will bring up all of the Apple Loops downloaded onto your computer or phone. You can select any of these to start making a song. Once you have a loop set up in the project, you can build more elements on top of it, just like you would when recording other types of songs. 

Loops can be an excellent foundation for recording a song because they will give you a lot to work with right from the start. With a good beat or loop, the skeleton of a song is already sketched out, and you can continue to build from there. 


Here are a few of the most commonly asked questions related to how to make a song on GarageBand. 

Can you actually make a song on GarageBand?

You can definitely make a song on GarageBand. Even though the app is free, it’s a full-fledged music production tool that gives you the power to record, create, and edit music. Once you know how to use the app, you can quickly start making songs.  

Can you make songs on iPhone GarageBand?

Yes, you can make songs on iPhone GarageBand. Using the iOS version of the app allows you to make music on the go, which is great for anyone who travels or doesn’t have a Mac. The iPhone version has a ton of tools you can utilize to help you create songs.

Final Thoughts 

GarageBand is a great tool to help you make songs. There are nearly endless options at your disposal with this awesome free app. But remember that there is no right or wrong way to make a song, so just dive in and start creating!

Do you have any tips, tricks, or suggestions for making a song on GarageBand that I didn’t mention in this post? Let me know in the comments below.

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