A Sandwich and A Sundae: With Garage Band

“A Sandwich and a Sundae” with Garage Band!

Ron Parsons
[email protected]
Danvers High School

TI:ME Technology Areas Addressed:

Music Production


High School


Music Technology


Computer, Garage Band or other comparable software


55 Minutes

Prior Knowledge and Skills:

Understanding of ABA form, timbre, and an introduction to Garage Band

MENC Standards Addressed:

MENC 2: Performing on instruments, alone and with others, a varied repertoire of music.
MENC 4: Composing and Arranging Music within specified guidelines.
MENC 6: Listening to, analyzing and describing music.
MENC 7: Evaluating music and music performances.


Listening examples of songs in ABA form, listening examples of different types of musical groups and styles (rock, jazz, chamber, string quartet etc.)


Students will compose a 24-measure piece of music using Apple’s Garage Band Program. Students will choose a style of music and type of group to create 8- measure phrases in ABA form using from three to five different instrument loops for each phrase.


1. Discuss timbre and play excerpts of different styles of music and different types of music groups.
2. Discuss the different combinations of instruments used for each.
3. Demonstrate, using Garage Band, selecting combinations of loops that work well together AND demonstrate how adding just one that does not can destroy the piece.
4. Explain how creating loop combinations is like making a “Hot-Fudge Sundae.” We all know what makes a good sundae; adding just the right amount and combination of ingredients creates that mouth-watering, delicious desert. However, adding too many ingredients or the wrong ingredient can ruin the whole thing. It is like adding hot fudge, nuts, sprinkles, whipped cream a cherry… then adding ketchup. Everything is great until you add that one ingredient. That is how it is with music as well. The skill is knowing what to add, what works together and when to stop.
5.Discuss form, specifically ABA, and play examples. Explain! that ABA is like making a sandwich. There is bread on the outside with a contrasting, yet complimentary ingredient (or combination of ingredients) on the inside.
6. Demonstrate Garage Band basics that will be needed for this project
7. Instruct students to explore different combinations of instrument loops to come up with a group of 3 to 5 loops that work well together for each 8 measure phrase.
8. Show students how to use the arrange track in Garage Band to mark their phrases.
9. Instruct students to copy/cut and paste their phrases to create the ABA form.
10. Show students how to use the Master Track to add a fade at the end.


Students listen to each other’s composition and answer the following questions on the “Class Critique.”
1. Do you hear 3 distinct sections (ABA)? If not, why is it difficult to hear?
2. Do the sections flow well into one another, or are the section changes so drastic that they do not work together?
3. Describe any enhancements (fade-outs, fade-ins, tempo, panning, transposing) that you hear
4. Describe the style of the piece
5. What would you add, delete, keep, or change if you were working on this piece?

Follow Up:

Students can create a MIDI track to compose a melody for the form
Students can utilize features like panning, track volume and transposing loop to enhance the composition.

Items to Purchase:


When budget should be submitted:


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