Clean Up Your Garage(band)

As a media teacher I get all the weird requests for help. One of my fellow teachers on my hall teaches dance. She also happens to be a former student of mine and so it is hard to say no when she asks a favor. Most of my former students know that I will help just about any one of them when it comes to job references, letters of recommendation, help with a video project, etc.

But this former student (T) is just down the hall. So she came by and asked me to help her “cut” some music. This basically is taking a current song and chopping it up into segments and then remixing them together into a shorter form that is easier to dance to and is usually 1:30 to 2:00 min. long.

I did this for her last year in iMovie. This involved a tedious multi-step operation that started with importing the song from CD, cutting it up, then exporting as a full quality DV file, then opening it up in Quicktime and exporting the song as an AIFF, finally importing the AIFF into iTunes and burning a CD.

Yes, I’m sure this violates most every copyright law and RIAA policy too. Or maybe it doesn’t – it really depends on how you interpret fair use. They bought the CD or paid for a download, they are using it for educational purposes, not for profit. So – anyway.

Yesterday I decided that it should be easier to do this in Garageband. And sure enough – it is! Way fewer steps and garage band has so many tools. Beat counts, measures, audio levels and more. If you haven’t used Garageband to enhance audio for your media classes – you should. If you’ve used iMovie or Final Cut, then Garageband will be easy and familiar.

Plus there are some great sites for tutorials including Expert Village’s Garage Band tutorials and Apple’s iLife tutorial page. I plan on using it to record our audio for the upcoming dance show we help produce too!



  1. Yes…this is legal. At least according to the Center for Social Meida.
    They presented an excellent workshop at the Student Television Network Conference this past January and gave examples of what is fair use and not fair use. Simply put (and you do need to read up on this to understand it) the key is transformation – have you transformed it from the original use (entertainment) to another use (educational).

  2. Thanks Cindy, I figured it did fall under fair use, but you know how the copyright Nazi’s are these days. Thanks for the link too!

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