Finding the right instruments UPDATE 2012: You can download MIDI files (.mid) from the internet and drag the file straight onto a GarageBand timeline (area with all your green and blue sound regions). Try it!
***What follows is the old fashioned way that GarageBand old-timers imported MIDI files. Unless you are that certain kind of “tech-curious” person who wants to investigate the old way of doing things, you can safely drag a downloaded MIDI file directly onto the timeline and re-join the directions at STEP 8.***
1. Start by opening one of the ".mid" files (NOT one of the "mid-GB" folders) here by double-clicking on it. It should open as a playable MIDI music file.
2. Audition several of these .mid files as a group (or by yourself if working individually) and decide which one you will use to work on today. DO NOT SPEND MORE THAN 3 MINUTES ON THIS!!!
3. Once you have decided on a song, open a NEW GarageBand file (Either FIle > New or follow the prompts for creating a new project.)
4. Leaving GarageBand open and ready, return to the provided cd and open the "mid-GB" folder for your song. You will find a number of ".aif" files and a "report.txt" file.
5. Open the "report.txt" file and find the tempo information. Put that same tempo in your new GarageBand project. You can change it later if you like.
6. You will notice the ".aif" files each have a name that somehow describes the musical instrument intended. These will be important for you in the following steps.
7. Select all the ".aif" files from your song and drag them into GarageBand. They should each start at the very beginning of the timeline. Garageband will automatically make tracks for each .aif file. If you see a prompt saying this track was created with an unavailable loop or resource, select "software instrument" and keep going.
8. You now have several "software instrument" tracks, for each instrument in the arrangement. But in GarageBand they will probably ALL come up as a piano, which is the default instrument. Save your project on the desktop.
9. Find the appropriate software instrument for each track (i.e. find drums for the drum track, bass for the bass track, etc.). Double-clicking in the area by the “new track” icon will bring up the instrument information. You will have some choices to make about what will be the most suitable instrument for each part of the arrangement.
11. If you have all your instruments sorted out, start mixing and balancing the volumes of each instrument so that it sounds right to you. Experiment with panning and with some instrument alternatives. Tempo may also need to be adjusted. Save your work often.