Music Writing and Production with the iPad

Author: Andrea Pejrolo   •   Course Code: OMPRD-205

In the last five years, the iPad has become a serious alternative to more traditional music production tools, such as laptops or even desktop machines. With just your iPad, a MIDI controller, a microphone, and a small audio interface, you now have the power of a full recording studio. This course will teach you how to create, record, mix, and master music entirely on the iPad. The course starts by exploring the iPad hardware and operating system, and how to select and set up the mobile studio with the correct MIDI and audio interfaces. Then, you will learn how to use applications for specific stages of the music production process, including how sketch out your ideas using GarageBand, sequence MIDI tracks and record live instruments and vocal tracks in Cubasis, mix your session with Auria, and master your final mix with Final Touch. In addition, the course teaches you how to program and create new sounds with a series of cutting edge software synthesizers.

By the end of the course, you will be able to:

  • Set up a mobile production studio
  • Sketch musical ideas using the iPad and GarageBand
  • Use the iPad as a creative inspirational tool for music composition and sound design with a selection of advanced software synthesizers such as iPolySix, iMPC Pro, Cassini, and more
  • Sequence and arrange music ideas on the iPad with Cubasis
  • Record real instruments and vocals with Cubasis
  • Mix your projects with Auria
  • Master projects with Final Touch
  • Distribute and share the final production

Lesson 1: Understanding and Setting Up the iOS Platform

  • iPad Architecture and Set-up
  • iPad Advantages and Limitations
  • Interaction with Other Platforms
  • Gestures
  • Other Tablet-Based Platforms
  • Setting Up Your iPad for Music Production
  • Matters of I/O Monitoring
  • MIDI: A Review
  • Principles of Digital Audio: A Review
  • Your iPad Studio

Lesson 2: Writing and Sequencing Music with the iPad

  • iPad Music Software for Music Production
  • Distribution
  • The Portable Digital Audio Workstation (P-DAW)
  • Using Garage
  • Band for Music Production
  • First Recording in GarageBand
  • Adding More Tracks
  • Working with Audio Tracks
  • Tips for a Successful Recording
  • Creating a Full Song Using GarageBand "Sections"
  • Final Mix and Effects
  • Mixdowns: Merging Tracks
  • GarageBand Composition

Lesson 3: Advanced Sequencing and Producing with Cubasis—Part 1

  • Using Cubasis for Music Production: Basic Concepts
  • The Writing Process
  • The Compositional Process
  • MIDI Editing in Cubasis
  • Mixing Concepts in Cubasis
  • Alternative Input Methods for MIDI Data
  • Using Third-Party Software Synthesizers
  • Audiobus
  • Automating Your Mix through MIDI Automation
  • Real-Time Automation
  • Full Pre-Production Sequence in Cubasis

Lesson 4: Advanced Sequencing and Producing with Cubasis—Part 2

  • Multi-Track Recording with Your iPad: Setup and Configuration
  • Pre-amplifiers
  • Microphones
  • Audio Editing in Cubasis
  • Destructive Versus Nondestructive Audio Editing
  • Normalizing
  • Mixing Concepts in Cubasis
  • Microphone Techniques for Mobile Recording
  • Using Third Party Software Synthesizers
  • Creating a new sound in Cassini
  • Using a Sampler
  • Freezing Tracks in Cubasis
  • Record a Composition with Live Instruments

Lesson 5: Advanced Mixing with Auria

  • Working Across Music Applications with the iPad
  • Files Access and Backup Solutions/Techniques
  • Working in Auria
  • Auria Editing Tools
  • Destructive Editing in Auria
  • Advanced Mixing Concepts
  • The Rough Mix
  • Recording
  • Using Effects
  • Automation, Groups, and Busses
  • Exporting a full session
  • Mixing Your Project in Auria

Lesson 6: Mastering and Distributing Your Work

  • Working with Third Party Software Synthesizers: Korg iPolySix
  • Working with Third Party Software Synthesizers: Grain Science Granular Synthesizer
  • Mastering in Final Touch
  • Final Touch’s Effect Modules
  • Sharing and Distributing Your Work

Andrea Pejrolo

Author & Instructor

Andrea Pejrolo is an assistant professor in the Contemporary Writing and Production department at Berklee College of Music and an associate professor at the New England Institute of Art. Andrea is a MIDI programmer, composer, and bassist. He is the author of Creative Sequencing Techniques for Music Production (2005) and Acoustic and MIDI Orchestration for the Contemporary Composer (2007) and has written several articles for music magazines, including Sound On Sound, Bass World Magazine (USA), Muralann and Boheme Press (Canada), and Il Capitello Publisher (Italy).

Andrea has extensive professional experience as a sound designer, audio engineer/producer, MIDI programmer and composer for film, TV, theater and multimedia. Some of his recent collaborations and projects include Lou Salloum and Jamie Helou (Beirut), Traits de Marque in Paris, iAcoustica Studio drum library, iDrum Rock Edition for iPhone/iPad in collaboration with Izotope, arrangements and recording with the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra, Don Sebesky, ABC, CBS, Cy Coleman, Burning Petals Music Production (U.K.), the Broadway Show "Swing" (St. James Theater, NY), and the Grand Canyon Music Festival.

Andrea is an active presenter and lecturer for conferences such as AES and MacWorld. Currently he is working on a new publication for Oxford University Press about sound design and production techniques. Some of his latest work as a music technologist and programmer can be seen on Vimeo here and here. He holds a Ph.D. in jazz composition/performance from New York University, a Master in Composition for Film, TV, Theater, and Multimedia from the University of Bristol (U.K.), and a Music Diploma in Jazz Performance from Manhattan School of Music in New York City.

Follow Andrea's work via Twitter @apejrolo_music, or visit


A basic understanding of digital audio concepts, MIDI concepts, and some writing/production concepts is recommended.

Recommended Textbook

Make Music with Your iPad, by Ben Harvell, Wiley

Software Requirements

Mac Users

  • OS X 10.9 Mavericks or higher (click here for system requirements)
  • Latest version of Google Chrome

Windows Users

  • Windows 7 or higher (click here for system requirements)
  • Latest version of Google Chrome

Hardware Requirements

  • iPad (3rd generation or better)
  • Data plan or wireless internet connection with at least 4 Mbps download speed ( to verify or download the Speedtest by Ookla app from your mobile app store)
  • iPad compatible (class compliant) audio interface. Some USB audio interfaces or MIDI keyboard controllers might require the Apple’s Lightning to USB Camera Adapter
  • One or two large diaphragm condenser microphones (such as the Rode NT1, Audio-Technica AT2020,Audio-Technica AT20235, AKG P220 or better)
  • iPad compatible MIDI controller (class complaint) such as the IK-Multimedia iRig KEYS Pro, iRIG KEYS, AKAI LPK25, or M-Audio KEYSTATION-MINI32
  • Keyboard is recommended


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    6 weeks
  • 2-Credit Tuition
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