Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Is there a Garage Band for PC?
If I had a penny for every time a student or parent had asked me that...
Apple made a great choice with including Garage Band in iLife. It's a very fun program and there's a lot to it beyond just the loop browser. Above all, Garage Band is making music creativity available big time and that has to be applauded.
Whenever students or parents see how much fun can be had making music on Garage Band in school, they always want to ask if they can do this at home on their PC. I usually steer them towards buying Sony's Acid, or one of its light versions (Acid Express, Super Dooper Music Looper, Jam Trax, American Idol Extreme Music Creator, etc.) After all, Sony's program is the pioneer - Acid was originally made by the clever guys at Sonic Foundry who pretty much created the beat-matching algorithm that makes Garage Band possible. Acoustica's Mixcraft software is also one to watch as a potentially awesome PC DAW.
Now I have found a great free alternative to Acid or to Garage Band. TrakAx is absolutely worth a look-at. It's a fun program, it's a visual delight, it's intuitive and easy to use, the website is outstanding, and the tutorial videos are terrific. Best of all, it's free. You can use it to create great music for music's sake, or you can use it to add music to a slide show or video. You can get packs of loops for next to nothing at the site ($2 for 10 professionally-produced loops is a great price - better than buying a pack of gum). You can also use loops (in wav, mp3, ogg, or wma) that you already have on your computer - access them through the loop browser. If you're totally strapped for cash you could always Google "free loops" and see if you could get some for nothing, but you usually have to subscribe to something to get them, and you have no guarantee that they're virus-free nor professionally-produced - better to save on your next pack of gum and buy some really good loops from TrakAx.
To download, go to www.trakax.com and cancel all appointments for the rest of the day so you can play - this is one of the best music education downloads out there.