When musical inspiration strikes there's nothing worse than needing to navigate a clunky software interface before getting your ideas in place. Fortunately, GarageBand for iPad takes much of the 'interface interference' away and allows you to get hands on, quite literally, with your music.
The big question, when creating music, is whether it's quicker to use a mouse and standard keyboard or to use a touch screen? A touch screen lacks the ability to perform quick keyboard shortcuts, but gains on the ability to quickly perform a function via a gesture such as a tap, pinch, swipe, etc.
Now, iOS apps and touch screen interfaces are still in their infancy, so I suspect there will be many changes in the way we interact and communicate with our tablets and computers in the coming years. In the meantime, here are 5 of my favorite GarageBand for iPad shortcuts that will help you get around and get you creating music more quickly with less fuss.
Tip 1 - Start Playback from Anywhere
You may have discovered that by tapping or dragging on the Ruler you can reposition the Playhead. Try double-tapping anywhere along the playhead to begin playback from that position.
As an additional bonus tip, when in the Touch Instrument view you can pinch to zoom on the Ruler to zoom the timeline.
Tip 2 - Show/Hide Track Controls
Tap on the Mixer tab (top right of the Track view) will display the controls for the selected track and allow you to show or hide all Track Controls.
However, that takes at least 2 taps to get to this pop-up. A quicker way to show/hide Track Controls is to swipe right/left respectively over the track controls.
Tip 3 - Go to Touch Instrument View
Once in the Track view switching back to the Instrument's settings normally involves tapping on the View button in the Control Bar.
Another way is to double-tap on the icon of the track. You will be immediately taken to the view page for that Touch Instrument without needing to move your arm those couple of centimeters to the top of your iPad!
Tip 4 - Volume Control & Reset
In Track View double tap a track's volume slider to reset it's volume level to 0dB.
Additionally, double-tapping the Master Volume slider to set it's volume level to 100%. Unfortunately, double-tapping again will not reset the volume level back to 0dB or the previous setting... but this is useful if you want to quickly boost the overall level of your song.
Tip 5 - Swipe Solo and Mute Gestures
This is one of my most loved gestures in GarageBand for iPad (and Logic on the Mac)! Let's say you want to solo the first four tracks in your song in Track view. Your normal route is to tap on the solo button for each track and to un-solo repeat the process. That's 8 individual taps...
A much more satisfying trick is to swipe up or down along the solo or mute buttons for those tracks. This gives you the ability to swipe mute or swipe solo multiple tracks in one fell swoop!
If you have any GarageBand for iPad tips and tricks to share we'd love to hear them. If you have any GarageBand related questions (iPad or Mac) drop us a comment below!