A few highlights for me thus far. There are already many thorough reviews (like this one) of the GarageBand iPad app so I'm not going to spend time picking it apart feature by feature. Instead, I will highlight three aspects that I have found to be the most exciting during my initial explorations.
The smart drums feature uses a classic 2x2 matrix to help design beats. The X-axis is a continuum of simplicity/complexity while the Y-axis is a continuum of dynamics (quiet/loud). There's some great algebraic learning potential here when listening the results from placing the different instruments in different quadrants of the matrix and seeing how the coordinate position affects the overall beat.
I love the different layout and performance options contained in the Smart Guitar feature. You can change the fret board display to only show notes that are contained within the scale of the song. Some people might think that it cheapens the experience of making music by making it difficult to play a bad note, but I see great potential for teaching understanding of how and why certain notes in a scale fit together (harmony) and why others don't (dissonance).
Track Editing Workspace
While the track editing workspace closely resembles that of its desktop counterpart, the touch interface of the iPad device leverages something that I think has great potential in object-oriented theory. By moving, trimming, and re-ordering the tracks and their content, I believe users are engaging in a type of physical programming. Using both existing and new objects towards a greater purpose or solving a larger problem is at the core of a lot of computer programming theory. The GarageBand environment may allow a user to experience ideas from that theory in a new way.
The touch instruments are my favorite part of the GarageBand app for iPad. I love being able to play a drum beat and quantize it and then have it ready to be used as the backbone for a quick demo recording. The "smart guitar" is also great for producing great guitar sounds and melodies without needing the dexterity to generate the same product on an actual guitar. I also hope they expand the number of loops (or create some DLC)
Header photo by Robert S. Donovan