Garageband 2 for
Mac OS X: Visual Quickstart Guide
By: Victor Gavenda
Publisher: Peachpit Press
Publish date: April 2005
Cover Price: $19.95
- What the Book is About
- This is a thorough and relatively
exhaustive survey of Apple's Garageband 2 (part of iLife '05). Each and every feature
of this entry-level music-creation product is explored and reported upon at length.
The user is treated to a roadmap of the settings, interfaces, instruments and behaviors
that are used in the application.
- Target Audience
- Musical aptitude is not a prerequisite
and familiarity with music software is not required to take advantage of Gavenda's
guidance. The beginner is moved through unfamiliar territory and on to intermediate
level acquaintance with Garageband and emerges ready for a MIDI interface, composition
lessons, and maybe, pocketbook willing, Logic Express.
- What To Expect
- Gavenda authored Garageband: For
MAC OS X, so he's seen the evolution of the product and he lauds the improvements,
laments the features lost (though there seem to be few of these), and points out
the features that he'd like to see. The Visual Quickstart style consists of two
columns per page, with one column containing text instruction and the other containing
step-by-step screenshots for performing each activity. At first glance, this may
seem a wasteful use of paper, but this is actually a very effective style. No user
is left in the lurch wondering how to get from A to B, or how to undo a misstep.
Basic interface and controls are introduced so that a relatively complex tool quickly
becomes familiar. A picture is provided for every setting and every step in the process.
Ample tips and background enable a more efficient use of trial-and-error.
A discussion of hardware for recording and interfacing with suggestions and directions
for creating a recording setup occupies one chapter. Maybe there's some use for that
old MIDI keyboard afterall.
Half of the book is dedicated to "Polishing Your Songs", and this is where
Gavenda's experience, both technical and musical, are brought to bear. While the
intrepid user will discover the documented features on their own, and sometimes even
the undocumented features, the advanced editing and effects sections of this book
serve to prod the timid and reassure the more gregarious user.
- References to additional resources
(free and otherwise) scattered throughout the book enhance the value of the book
and allow one to extend Garageband's abilities through plug-ins, additional loops,
and other software and hardware. The "Polishing Your Songs" half of the
book which steps the user through editing software instruments and utilizing every
Garageband widget and doodad to produce a better composition was worth the price
of the book alone.
While much of this book could fall under the category of "tips", there
are actual tip sections scattered throughout the book that I found very useful.
These tips serve to give the Garageband user extra help in understanding the more
confusing and complex interactions within the software.
- Mac Guild Grade
- A (Outstanding)
- Final Words
- While Gavenda's guide may not
make you the next Beethoven (or even Chris Martin), it does provide an extremely
thorough introduction to the Garageband 2 application. Even the musically-handicapped
(and technically-handicapped) will be able to move beyond reliance on "factory"
loops and on to editing, keyboarding (of one sort or another), applying effects and
generally producing the music we were all meant to produce.