GarageBand in the Classroom – How to share audio to your students.

GarageBand small iconGarageBand

Have iPads/iPods? Do you teach a classroom full of eager students that you want to share an audio file with as a starting point?

I’ve got good news for you IF your devices are new enough that you can use AirDrop. If you have older devices, like iPad2’s for instance, the process is not so easy!

Let’s start with the easy method – AirDrop:

First you have to make sure AirDrop is enabled for “Everyone”. Get to this setting by sliding up from the bottom of your screen.

AirDrop On

Make sure both devices you want to do this with have this feature enabled. Then jump into GarageBand, elect the GarageBand file you would like to share with your students and tap the share button (the square with an up arrow)…

GarageBand Share Of course if you have not set this up correctly, or if no one is around then you will see the message you see in this screen shot BUT if both devices are setup correctly you will see the other device show up in place of the warning message. You simply tap the other persons device and you will then see on their device that they will be receiving a file.

That’s it. Super easy! One benefit to doing things this way is that you could even send your students a project with multiple tracks as a starting point. Whatever is on your device, for that GarageBand file is exactly what they will see when they open this!


For some reason Apple has GarageBand in this walled off garden into which you are not allowed to import audio! (Well, actually, I can think of a few reasons but that is for another post!) You have two options to get audio into GarageBand and both seem like WAY too many steps!

OPTION ONE – Use Audio Copy/Paste – you can copy audio from other apps that have this feature and then paste that audio into a GarageBand track. That option is not what I would like to show here but it is available if you can find another app that allows you to Copy/Paste audio.

OPTION TWO – Apple’s method using iTunes and a classroom computer.

Step 1 – Get the audio you want to share with your students onto your classroom computer.

Step 2 – Using iTunes, find the device you want to send the audio to (which may very well mean that you have to hook the device up with a cable) then jump into the Apps section for that device, scroll down to GarageBand and drag the audio into the sharing section for GarageBand…

FileSharing GarageBand

Step 3 – Now we have to instruct the students how to find that file!

GB New Project
Create new Project
Change the Length to Automatic instead of 8 bars
Change the Length to Automatic instead of 8 bars
Notice the New Loop indicator
Notice the New Loop indicator
Tap the Loop Button
Tap the Loop Button
Drage Audio into Project
Drage Audio into Project

And there you go – finally that audio is on the students device as a starting point for them to further create their own masterpiece around.


So the moral of the story is that Apple is learning all the amazing ways in which we want to use our devices and slowly they are indeed making things easier for us. AirDrop is amazing IF your devices are new enough! If not, well…. the process is simply longer.

My frustration with all of this is that other DAW apps allow us to do this same sort of project in much a easier manner. Of course those apps are not free either.

As always – have fun with your students! Give them new ways in which to create music! Share that music with us and the rest of the world!


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