Garage band or Logic? Please help

Hello, I'll try and explain this the simplest I can. Basically, I am studdying music at school, and part of the coursework involves composing music. All the sighted people are using Reason for windows, which is completely inaccessible, but for me and the two other blind students in my class, they have let us work on Garage Band in another room where they have Apple Mac. This was accessible enough, untill we realised quite a big part was inaccessible, selecting parts on the timeline. For example, if we wanted to repeat a section of the track, everyone else is just selecting the section they want, copying it then pasting it where they want. Ovbiously we can't do this. an obvious way is to record the intire section in again, but if it is a section with quite a few tracks, it can be very time consuming compared to everyone else. Another way is to get sighted help, but there is one problem with that... non of our supports know how to use the bloody software so they spend about 20 minutes asking us about parts we didn't even know existed. So what we basically wanted to ask is are there any other alternatives we could use that make the timeline accessible? For things like I mensioned copying sections, moving notes around slightly, extending notes etc. We've looked around Google for things about Logic accessibility, but haven't really got a proper answer whether it is accessible or not. So would anyone recommend Logic, or any other software that we can make the school aware of? If not any tips for Garage Band would be useful. Thanks and sorry for such a long post.


Some suggestions

Hi! Well, selecting regions in GarageBand is one problem that just keeps returning. I've sort of getting it to work by splitting the region I want up, so only the part I want is a single region. You do this by placing the player head on the place you want to split it, most accurately done by using left and right arrows if you know which beat you want, and then press Cmd+T to split. Sometimes the command won't work, and you'll have to do it through the Edit menu. Sometimes that won't work either, and you'll have to press Cmd+S to save first, and then try again. Don't know why this works, but it does. Then you'll have to interact with the timeline, find the region you want to copy, easier to find by hitting VO+Shift+H to hear the help tag on the region, where you will hear where the region starts and ends. When you've found the right region, I've found that you'll have to do a simulated mouse click to select it. So if your mouse pointer isn't set to follow the VoiceOver cursor, you will have to press VO+Cmd+F5 first to move the mouse cursor to the VO cursor, then press VO+Shift+Spacebar to select the region. Then, hit Cmd+C to copy it, and you're good to go. That is, you're good to go to paste it in somewhere else. Sometimes this works, sometimes it don't, and I haven't found out what makes it work sometimes, and other times not. So this is the great drawback with GarageBand. And the new update to GarageBand that came out for somewhere around one month ago, isn't very accessible at all. So hold on tight to the old version. :) Luckily, if you update while you still have the old version installed, the old file is automatically moved to a folder within the Applications folder, named GarageBand 6.0.5 so you will not loose it by updating. I would go for Protools, if I where you, but it is of course a bit more expensive, and you'll often need some extra hardware to get it to work smootly, e.g. a full size keyboard with number pad, to get to use all the keyboard shortcuts. And you'll need a minimum of quality in sound card also to get the best experience out of Protools. The optimum solution, is if you could also get a hold of some kind of external control surface too. That's wham it really begins getting fun and easy for us blind geeks to work in protools. I can suggest a Digi002 or Digi003, if you can buy one used, cause both is no longer being sold from Avid. But if you can get one of those, you'll have a first-clad sound card and a control surface in the same device. I haven't tried it myself, cause my wallet haven't allowed me to make the necessary upgrades to hardware and software yet. But that's the next step, in getting everything up to shape in my home studio. I have a few blind friends that runs professional recording studios, and they all run Protools to get the job done. I've of course asked them about selecting and editing audio, because of my bad experience with getting that done in GarageBand, and all of them says that it works like a charm in Protools. If you don't need to work so much with audio, and most of the time use MIDI and software synths, you can always try out Reaper. Haven't tried that either myself, but I've heard that it has come a long way in regards to accessibility the last year. And logic, is for what I've heard, almost not accessible at all. I.e. you can certainly get some things done there, but it's a real pain in the neck, and you'll always have to work around almost everything you wanna do there, because it isn't working very well with VoiceOver. I may be wrong, and others must feel free to correct me on this, but that is what I've heard. So my best suggestion would certainly be to go Protools, if you can afford it! :) Everything seems to be working much better there, and that's probably the best bet you got on getting as much of the job done on your own as possible! :) Hopes something of this way too long answer helps, and good lock! And I'd be happy to hear from you here if you found any other good solutions to any of your problems! I could need some tips on this topic too! :) Take care! :)

Thanks Cliff

Thanks Cliff, I did look into ProTools, but I decided to pass on that one. I don't know where you live but here in the UK it is something like £700, plus the extra hardware, it was just too expensive. Going back to what you said about splitting the regions in Garage Band, let me just check I've got this right. Say if I've got a piano track that starts at bar 4, and I also want it at bar 20, I would navigate to where it starts, then press CMD + T to split the region. Then VO + CMD + F8 to move the mouse pointer to it, then VO + shift + space to select it, then copy, then navigate to bar 20 then paste. Is that correct? I just want to get the keys for doing this then I'll try tomorrow on the Mac at school or my own Mac. Thanks for your help and suggestions :)

Almost right! :)

Hi again, Callum! You almost got it right. :) So say the piano track starts at bar 4, as you suggested, and ends on bar 12. So that's the whole track, recorded in one take, or if it was recorded in several takes, the one track would contain each take in many regions. That's why I suggested to double check on the region you're on with VO+Shift+H, to hear exactly where this region starts and ends. So lets say it starts at 4 and ends at bar 12. If the piece you want to use from it is starting from the beginning of this region, you don't have to split the beginning. So say you want to copy the part starting at bar 4 and throughout bar 7, so you'll have 4 bars copied from that piano track. Then you'll need to go to bar 8, beat 1, while the track you want to split is selected, and when on bar 8, beat 1, hit Cmd+T or go to the edit menu and hit Split. Now, when you VO right and left in the timeline, you will have 2 different regions on the one piano-track. One starting at bar 4, and ending at bar 7, beat 4. And another starting at bar 8, beat 1, ending at bar 12, where the entire original track ended. So now you can go ahead and select the one part you want to copy, by VO+left or right on the timeline to find it, checking with VO+Shift+H to hear where it starts and end, and if it's the right region, you must be sure that it is selected before hitting Cmd+C to copy it. You select it by doing a simulated mouse click with VO+Shift+Spacebar. But if your mouse cursor isn't set to follow your VO cursor in VO utility, you will have to move the mouse cursor to where your VO cursor is, on the region you want hopefully, by hitting VO+Cmd+F5. After doing that, your mouse cursor should be at the same place as VoiceOver is, on the region you want to copy. Now, go ahead and press VO+Shift+Spacebar to click on it and to make sure that it really is selected, and then hit Cmd+C to copy. Now you have copied the first 4 bars of that track, and since the region started at bar 4 and you only wanted the 4 first bars of it, you didn't have to split anything in the beginning. But say that the piano track, as in the previous example, starts at bar 4 and ends at bar 12, and you want to copy the part that starts on bar 6 and ends on bar 10 and use that part of it instead. Then you will first have to place the player head on the beginning of bar 6 and do a split there, before doing the same on bar 10. So now what you got is actually 3 regions of that original 1 region. One starting at bar 4 and ending at bar 6, the next starting at bar 6 and ending at bar 10, and a 2 bar region at the end, starting at bar 10 and ending at bar 12. So now, you'll have to find the piece that's right in the middle, the region from bar 6 to 10, select it and copy. And always while splitting, you'll have to interact with the timeline first, then instrument-tracks if that's what the english translation is, and then make sure that VO is located on the track/region you want to split. And if Cmd+T doesn't do anything, you could try with a Cmd+S to save the project first. That usually helps for some odd reason. If that doesn't split the thing either, you could try splitting it from the Edit menu. If that doesn't work either, you're out of luck, and you'll have to tell me what you did if you got it working after that! Haha... :) Weird bug, that I find to be very inconsistent. Ok, then it's time for the pasting. Yupp, you just move the player head to bar 20 or where ever you want to paste the region you just copied, and hit Cmd+V to paste it. And here's a problem. I've never found out how to paste something on a specific track, so when pasting something, GarageBand always puts it on a new track, and names the track after the region you just pasted. So if you want to paste it 8 times, spread out on different parts of the song, you would suddenly have 8 new tracks in your track list, each only containing one of your pasted regions. Very annoying, but what to do...? :) There's probably a smart way of merging the tracks together as one track again afterwards, or a way of knowing what track GarageBand places your sound on when you paste it, but that's one of the things I have yet to figure out... So if anybody here knows the answer, please let me know!! :) Hope this helps somewhat, and if anythings too unclear, please let me know, and I'll try to explain it better tomorrow! :) To late now to think clearly, Haha... I live in Norway, so it's probably around the same time here as in the U.K., perhaps 1 hour difference. Anyway, good luck, and feel free to ask if there's anything else I/we can help you with. I'm certainly not a pro on using GarageBand with VO, but I usually get around pretty good, enough to get the job done in the end that is. :) Yeah, and if you usually work with piano tracks and similar, which isn't real audio, but MIDI, I think I would have tried out Reaper. I've heard much great things about it, and I think that when it comes to working with MIDI, Reaper is pretty superior to GarageBand in what you can do with VO. And perhaps, there's a way of exporting the finished MIDI work from Reaper and import it into GarageBand, and then continue working with real audio over the imported MIDI...? Haven't tried it, just an idea that popped up, might as well work! :) Take care!

Hi Ckliff

hi cliff, just wanted to say thanks for a very quick and detailed reply. I'll have my Mac later today, so if I get chance I'll give it a try. If I have any problems I'll let you know. Thanks again.

Some more questions

Hello Cliff, I followed the instructions that you posted on here, thanks for that, but the problem I am having is when I interact with the timeline slider thing, it either goes to the very start of the song or very end of the song. I can navigate between the different parts using the left and right arrows when QN isn't on, that works but CMD C to copy doesn't when I do it that way. Can you help? Sorry for so many questions, I just want to get the hang of it then I can do my music work independantly at school. Thanks very much :)

Haha! No problem, buddy!

Haha! No problem, buddy! Don't we all just want to get things to work for us? :) I'll check on that tomorrow, and give you a more detailed answer then. Right now, the only help I may provide, is that you'll need to interact with the timeline in the arrangement/layout area. Not the timeline grid inside it, but the instrument tracks, or what it's called. One problem is that I'm using GarageBand on my Mac that's set to norwegian as system language, so GB is also in norwegian. So I may comfuse you by not guessing the correct english translation of certain screen elements and GB terms. What I can do tomorrow, is to switch the system language to english, and then hopefully I'll get an english version of GB also, so I can check things out and give you the correct name of things. :) In the meantime, you could always check out the link to a few podcasts on GB which I remember seeing over at Just go there, click on demonstrations, and there will be a link there, pretty high up on the side that will take you to another web-site that has a few podcasts on GB. It may actually be the first link in the main section of the demonstrations side at I also remember finding a text-document describing most of what is possible to do in GB with VoiceOver, and how to do it. I really think I just googled "GarageBand VoiceOver" or something like that, and it was one of the first search-results in google. So you can always try that, while I'm getting my fair amount of beauty sleep... :) I'll get back to you! :)

Recording on the Mac

Hi Cliff, I have become more and more interested in recording music on my Mac, and keep hearing about Pro Tools as a Viable option for this. As far as my recording needs I would pretty much always be working with actual audio rather than midi or software instruments. So basically a live documentation of what's going on in the room. Would you mind giving me a bit of an Overview of Protools? What kind of Hardware will I need along with the software? (I know you mentioned it, but would you mind describing it's purpose?) Also… Do you have any insight as to how smoothly ProTools works with OS X Mavericks? I've recorded music before… On portable standalone hardware devices, but this will be my first journey into recording using a digital audio workstation… So any assistance or recommendations would be greatly appreciated. Thank you and be well, Greg


HI. so how accessible is reaper? I suppose I could check it out if there was a lite or a free version but would hate to buy it if its totally inaccessible. Thanks. Afraid pro tools is way out of my budget.

Just thought I would throw my two bits in.

This might not apply to the people who are interested in recording music, I don't think software instruments work with it, but if your just interested in a simple accessible experience recording and doing sound editing on the mac I would highly recommend Amadeus Pro. I mainly use it for sound art peaces so it might not have everything you need for some types of music creation but if your interested in multi track recording, basic effects, selecting and editing parts of audio, doing fine grain stuff etc. its a perfect solution. Whats more is the price can't be beat. From what I remember its like thirty bucks or something. hear is a link to a quick peace I did for a preview to an ethics in technology class, I just finished, to give you a taste of what Amadeus Pro can do. Thought the topic of the peace was some what appropriate.

Hi again, all! :)

I'm a bit short of time, so I'll just try to throw in a short answer to each of you now, and I can get back with more details later... Sorry for the hurry! :) Callum, I'm sorry, I haven't gotten the time yet to check yout the details in GarageBand for you yet. Something came up and messed up my scheduled plans to do so, but you're not forgotten, and I'll give you my findings as soon as I get some time to sit down and mess around a bit in GB. You're not forgotten! :) Greg, I haven't actually poked around much in Protools myself, but I have blind friends who use it on a daily bases, and they have only good things to say about it, also in regards to accessibility. I've just messed around in PT briefly, and for what I can find, everything's really accessible, except for advanced MIDI editing. There's clearly some limitations to working with MIDI, but for simple recording and plugging for effects and similar stuff, there's no problem. The problem comes up when you want to extend the length of single notes, or adjust the timing and velocity of single notes and so on... But just do a magnificent job while recording the part in the first place, and you won't have to bother with correcting errors afterwards! Lol :) Hardware and protools is where it can get really expensive. The first thing you'll probably need, which isn't so expensive, is a full size keyboard. That's because the numeric keyboard is pretty important in many crusial protools shortcuts. Without being able to take use of those shortcuts, you will probably soon be bold from pulling your hair out... :) The next thing is the sound card. I think that you theoretically now can use protools with the inboard sound card of your Mac, but that would be a total shame when running a so sophisticated software, and it wouldn't sound good at all. + you would have very little control of what goes in and out of your system, and very few inputs to choose from. Bottomline, don't do it! :) You would need a minimum of quality on the sound card, and I can recommend RME's sound cards, which has some relatively cheep models in regards to the quality you'll get from it. Here in Norway, I could get a pretty decent RME card for approximately the equal to 400 dollars, and it's probably just half the price in the US, as with all of music equipment... Grrrr!! And to make things a lot easier, you would want some sort of a control surface. That means some kind of device, more or less in the shape of a mixing board, that has physical knobs and faders and scroll weeks and you name it, from where you can control a heck of a lot more of the screen-controls than what you are able to with just the keyboard. And for what I've heard, it also makes editing and recording a lot easier, and most important, faster. The problem is that the controllers that Avid sells now (the developer of Protools), are all pretty built up around using the displays. You can get a lot done with 2 controllers, 1 Avid Artist series Transport, that takes care of e.g. all the transport functions, like play and rewind and editing. And 1 Avid Artist Mixer remote, I think it's called, that has faders that you can use for everything from controlling track-volumes, to plugging and equalizers, and a lot more. But you'll have to spend some time learning and remembering all the functions that can be done with the physical layouts. The best solution therefore, is to get a hold of an old Avid Digi002 or Digi003. The benefit of owning one of these, is that it's a sound card and a control-surface all in one unit, and you can get used Digi002's for a lot cheeper price than it would cost you to buy a new sound card and 2 new controllers. And both Digi002 and 003 is less made up around using displays, so there's even more possibilities for us unsighted gangsters to get around it and count our way to the right knob, and to know what it does. But none of them are being sold commercially anymore, so you would have to find someone that's willing to sell their old one, but sighted people often love to switch these one out to get some new flashy touch-screen equipment instead. I'm not sure about protools with Mavericks yet, but to judge from their past, they have always been a bit slow to update their software to the latest OS. So I know that when MountainLion came out, there was some months before protools users got an update so they could update to MountainLion, so I'm really not sure... I'll check that out! :) Mary, hope I haven't lost you by now, but I wouldn't be surprised! :) This got too long as usual, when I'm starting to talk music equipment! Sorry! Lol! :) The thing about Reaper, is that I haven't gotten the chance to try it out myself yet, but I've heard some fantastic things about it in regards to accessibility! But I'm not 100% sure on what you can do and what you can't do in it at this time... But if you don't rely on recording a lot of audio tracks, and you only work with MIDI and software synths, I've heard that this is a great solution. I'll check that out also, if you'd like! :) Tree, I've always been curious to how accessible Amadeus Pro actually is, and what you can accomplish with it when using VO, and now I got to hear it with my own ears, and I must say that I got very excited! Even though it's not made for music-production, I can see so many areas where this app can get really handy. I'm working part-time for a radio-station, making podcasts and similar stuff for them, and this is what I've been needing for a long time! So thank you very much, that was the kick in the ass I needed to go ahead and buy it! Going to spend the weekend to mess around in Amadeus Pro and get to know it, and I probably have tons of question to ask you by sunday! :) Puhh... I planned to make this short, but as you can see, that totally backfired on me! :) So now's the time to end this! Hope you all got something out of this, and I'll talk to you later, and get back with some more details on a lot of things, if someone else haven't jumped in by then and given you the details I couldn't give you today! :) Have a good one! Take care! :)

HI. yes, please, I would

HI. yes, please, I would love to hear more about reaper and what it will and won't do. thanks.

@Maria: Just head over to

App Developer

@Maria: Just head over to and download the Mac version. It runs as a full-featured evaluation version for some thime before you need to register. Most things are quite accessible even though there's simply quite a lot of stuff on the screen to navigate. It is certainly possible to add a track with a virtual instrument, add audio tracks etc. Editing those on an item level can get complicated though but GB isn't any easier - considering the region discussion above.

Cliff... thank you so much

Cliff... thank you so much for responding to my questions. it was quite informative. I'll definitely be looking more into ProTools… But as far as an affordable solution for now… I may go with Amadeus Pro and a nice external microphone. It's definitely not top-of-the-line… But it should get done what I need to get done.

Just realised something

Hi again, thanks for all your responses. I've just realized something. Previously I've just been using the garage band that came installed on the Mac, but there is also a garage band app on the Mac app store. Is there any difference between the 2 apps?

GarageBand or Logic

Hi Callum, What version of GarageBand is bing used on the mac? Version 6.05 is not very accessible. I think version 6.0 is much better accessiblity wise than version 6.05. Apologies if you were already using 6.0. :) When updating to the latest gb version, I was able to reinstall older version with the help of the Apple genious bar. When updating, the older gb is placed into a folder. This did not happen for some reason. That is why the apple store had to reinstall the older version for me. Sorry if this post is a bit long. Hope this is helpful in some way. Take care.

More loops for Garageband

Hi there. I've been using Garageband on the Mac for making trance music, and it's worked pretty well for me. However, I was wondering if there are any useful places I can find more loops to use in my songs, other than just using the ones that come with Garageband. Any recommendations would be very much appreciated. Thanks in advance, and i'll look forward to hearing from you. Heather (DJ Hey)

I personally would go with

I personally would go with garage band as logic so I hear is not accessible and apple does not so I again here plan to make it accessible. There was a petition launched but I no longer have the link,and I think apple ignored it when it did get sent. so yeah go with garage band. it's a learning curve but can be hearted. for some demos of what I did on it, just the vocal tracks though, go to my portfolio page.

Take care to all.

garageband and miscellaneous

I have a macbook from about 2 months, I am a musician and I'd like to use some app for make songs and play live.
Well, Garageband in the latest version, 10.0 I think, semes me not very accessible at a glance.
It is ok when you want record something or put track in a project, but when you want to edit, quantize, or try to make operations of cut/paste around the project, well, it is not very clear...
I see you in this topic speaks about Garageband 6, what do you think is better as accessibility? 6 or 10?

Speaking about other software, I read many posts about the inaccessibility of mainstage. Well, from what I see, after the infinite story of the installation that is completely inaccessible, the app seems working quite well. I can open a concert, and with my keyboard I can change sound simply typing the number of the patch of the bank.
I will investigate in depth because really, Mainstage3 for me appear quite usable with VO.

At the end, do you confirm that the latest version of Logic 10 received a great improve on accessibility?

I'd stick to GarageBand 6

Hi there!
GB 10 seems to be way less accessible than the old GB 6.0.65, I believe it is...
So if you got the old one, hold on to it with all you got, if not, it might be possible to copy the old app from someone that has an older Mac with it installed... I'm actually not quite sure.
The new GB installs on the side of the old one, so one really doesn't loose the old GB by updating, so it's fully possible to keep both and switch around a bit to test back and forth.
I at least think I get a lot more done in the old, both with quantizing, editing and navigating in the project, but that might be just as accessible in the new one, only I haven't figured out how to do it yet! :)
I would be quite interested in hearing more about how you make your way around in MainStage 3 when you have done some more experimenting. I bought it a month ago, opened it, got sighted help to get it up and running, and then I messed around for half an hour in it and after that I never opened it again... I never found out how to find all the different patches and sounds and I probably gave up to easily on it, as usual! Haha!
But what about a podcast on MainStage when you get your skills nailed in it? That would be nothing less than awesome! :) I could really need something like that for live performances, if it works that is! :)
I've sweared enough already into mikes that I wasn't aware of on stage when gadgets stop working while on a gig! Pour audience... Haha!
Take care!

Pro tools vs logic vs gb

Pro tools is definitely the way to go. I am a student at Argyll college and I am studying sound production. Yes, its expensive here in the UK but there are student discounts available. I got it for two hundred and thirty pounds... Or should I say disabled student's allowance got it for that. As you said you are a student I don't see why you wouldn't qualify for both of these also. I am running PT eleven on a Macbook pro running mavericks and I purchased a Digi zero zero two from ebay for two hundred and fifty pounds. If you just want a couple of xlr inputs then look for a focusrite scarlet 2i2, but if you are doing some serious mixing then the Digi will make things much easier, faster and ultimately more enjoyable. Logic is a non starter accessibility wise I'm afraid. I haven't used garage band much but my tutor described it as duplo to compared to the Lego technic that is pro tools. Make of that what you will... And for the record we refer to that tutor as analogy man! Look into the DSA stuff and let me know how you get on. Hope that helps. Cheers.

Pro tools

I got pro tools 2 weeks ago now, and I'm trying to learn it as good as I'm able to without a control surface, but it seems like I have to get a hold of a digi002 or 003 as well to get more things done! :)
But this far PT really seems quite accessible, although it seems to me like PT 10 is a little bit more accessible than 11 (I installed both), but I may be wrong...
Macky, what's your opinion on this? And by the way, do you know of any good resources on learning PT, especially with VoiceOver? That would be extremely helpfull!
Take care! :)

Other thing in GB and Mainstage

Ok, this thread is quite difficult to follow, but at least we have a good reference point.
First, about GarageBand, I deleted the old GB6, because I didn't know that the latest version was less accessible. Anyway, record and change instrument is possible, and also playing and manage many elements of the screen.
Unfortunately, I'm still fighting against regions, I simply like to delete the first bar of my song, and I am not able. But I'm quite sure it is possible, but simply I can't figure how. All documentation of applevis refers to GB6, and I think that we should try to make things with latest versions of the app.
Good news about quantization.
The procedure I follow is to create a drummer, and set it as the groove track. Then, take other tracks and just set them to follow main groove track, that is the drummer.
Anyway, still there is the problem to decide when drummer should start, because it starts from the beginning, and it is not so good for all songs!

About mainstage, first of all, you must interact with the main window, where you can decide what sort of concert to open.
You should interact also 2 or 3 times with an element, ok, not very confortable, but at least, using vo commands, you can move between concerts.
Someone has only 2 patches, other arrive to 65!
with your midi keyboard you can change patches just entering numbers.
The main problem of Mainstage is that there are about 4 or 5 different types of views.
one for live performance, one for editing, one for selecting patches, one for mixer, one for understand performances of your MAC.
So I must continue reading the documentation in order to understand what will be the main accessible view.

Anyway, I decided first to learn Garage Band, and then MainStage, so the podcast is a good idea, but first I absolutely must to understand how to make operation like copy cut paste in GB!


Hi cliff. I'm not sure about the accessibility of pro tools ten as I jumped directly from nine to eleven. I know if you buy eleven you get a copy of ten with it though. Eleven point one is where the main accessibility upgrade was too the best of my knowledge. I read the PT access group very often as well as this page and these two sources and my tutors at college are my main sources of information. I have a feeling you are already on the PT access forum though ;) the other advice I always get is to simply read the PT manual. There are keyboard commands for just about everything, regardless of if you are a VoiceOver user or not. I know this is heavy going but it's something I plan to do over time when my course finishes and time allows. Good luck with the 002 or the 003 control surface, a worthy investment. Assuming you have a newer Mac, you'll need a Firewire 400 to ?800 cable though, not the standard one supplied. You'll find these on Amazon etc for just a few quid. Best of luck.