Record MIDI and Quantize in Garage Band

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Hello again! I am Benson Lim from Melbourne and for the second week of “Introduction To Music Production”, I’ll be demonstrating on adding a software instrument, record a MIDI and quantize using Garage Band on a Mac. In this example, we’ll be using a USB Midi Keyboard.

First, plug in your MIDI keyboard to your Mac. Most MIDI keyboards will light up when plugged into a USB port. Midi Keyboard

Then, fire up Garage Band and create a new project by going to File –> New and select “Empty Project”

New Project

Next, we’ll have to make sure that Garage Band recognize your MIDI keyboard as it’s input. By doing so, go to GarageBand –> Preferences –> Audio/MIDI and select your Input Device. If your device isn’t working properly, be sure to install the device driver provided by your MIDI keyboard manufacturer.


By default, Garage Band will automatically create a “Classic Eletric Piano” software instrument track for you. You can change the instrument or if you need more sounds, you can purchase the Garage Band Sound Library from the App Store.


Before we start recording we’ll need to set the count in and your beats per minute. To enable count in go to Record –> Count-in. You can select either 1 bar or 2 bars for your count in.

count in

Then, change your bpm by double clicking on the bpm value and key in your desired bpm.


Now we can finally start out recording. Click on the big red button to start recording your song. Remember, for optimal results, it is best to practice your songs before hand.


Once you finish recording your track you should see something like the screenshot below. Double click on the area highlighted in red and the editor will appear.


If you prefer to edit the note in a music score form, you can click on the “Score” tab.


After recording, I realized that I’ve played a wrong note. To remove the wrong note, select the note and press the “Delete” key.


Next, I felt that the end of the song should sustain longer than what it should be. Scroll to the end and select the region that you want to drag longer.


At the end of the region, you’ll notice a cursor change. Click and drag to your right. In the event where you’re not playing on time, you can select the notes and drag them to grid. You can also move the notes higher or lower by dragging them up or down.


For certain instruments like Cello, we’ll want to quantize the strength before each grid to sound more natural. You can do so by click on the empty region, and select your time to quantize, which in this example is 1/16 note. As mentioned in the second lecture, we should start with strength value 20 and increase them accordingly.

quantize strength

You can also change the velocity of each note by selecting the notes that you want to change the velocity. You’ll then get the option to change the velocity on your left.


If you need to add more software instrument, go to Track –> New Track and select “Software Instrument”.

Software instrument

Thanks again for spending time to read this simple tutorial and I hope that you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoy writing it.