(One of my favorite apps to use in therapy is GarageBand) GarageBand is a digital music creation studio with a complete sound library that includes software instruments, presets for guitar and voice, and virtual session drummers. It’s intuitive interface makes it easy to learn, play, record, create, and share your hits worldwide.

These are a few of the ways in which I use GarageBand in music therapy:

  1.  It’s a great tool to encourage self-expression using instrumentation alone, or writing lyrics for a song and then recording it.
  2. Garage band also helps to facilitate social interaction, especially when I encourage my clients to start a project with a sibling, a friend, or myself.
  3. Once a project is complete I love to see my clients’ face as they listen to their accomplishment. You can literally see their self-esteem bloom, and often times, as they listen to the words of their song they feel validated in how they feel or what the message of their song is.

These are just a few benefits of using GarageBand in my sessions. But it is also intuitive enough that some of my clients have downloaded the app onto their iPads or iPhones and come back to my sessions with compositions they have created on their own. Interested in using it? Here are a few tips to get you started using GarageBand:

  1.  Download the app from iTunes. (Note: I find that the version you download on your iPhone and iPad are easier to use than a Mac, but it all depends on your comfort level with technology and, of course, device preference).
    *Since I am more familiar with the iPad/iPhone version, I’ll stick with tips for those devices
  2.  Once you have downloaded the app, open the app so that it shows all of your songs.
  3. Click on the + sign in the top left hand corner to create a new song.
  4. Tap on an instrument, take time to play around in this area, but let’s start with the Smart Guitar sound first though. Click on this icon.
  5. Once there, you can strum different chords using your finger or click on the Autoplay dial to choose various pre-recorded rhythms, just “turn” the knob to a different number and get a different sound.
    For more information on how to navigate GarageBand, please click here.

Now that you have a few basic tips, here are a few ways you can use this app at home to encourage your loved one to have fun while working on expressive language skills, social skills, auditory discrimination, and self-expression.

  1. Try to get involved in the process! Sit down with them and help them choose different sounds, instruments, loops, etc.
  2. Talk about their choices! This is a great way to work on expressive language skills and social skills, not to mention connecting with them through music.
  3. Share their accomplishment with the world! You can export completed songs by emailing them to family and friends, put them on the cloud and even post them online, and import their songs into their iTunes library where they can even make their own play list or cd!

Have fun and feel free to share any music you create with us at Key Changes Therapy Services!