In Key Stage 2 we use the Garageband app considerably and the pupils have mastered it well, often using it in conjunction with other apps such as iMovie. However, in Reception/Year 1 there seems to be a gap between the overly simple music apps created for that age group and the complexity of Garageband. Year 1 are able to create recordings in Garageband but layering instruments can sometimes be a skill too far. Year 2 were able to do this but only with a lot of support.
This term I have been using the 'Toc and Roll' app with Reception/Year 1/2 as an introduction into Garageband. It allows pupils to choose their instrument and then uses a drag and drop method for them to place a range of different musical phrases into each track. The volume of each track can be changed and effects such as reverb can be added.
It is effectively a simplified version of Garageband but the pupils do not play any virtual instruments. However they can use this app to learn about the process of mixing music before jumping into Garageband. I particularly like the voice recorder which divides each recording into smaller phrases.
The only negative I can see at present is the sharing features are quite limited. The user can upload to Youtube or save within the app itself but it is missing an ‘Open-in’ tool to save to an external storage app for assessment.
If you are working with younger pupils then 'Toca Band' makes a good intro to Toc and Roll as pupils can add band members playing different instruments to a stage where they all play simultaneously.
However, the pupils in Year 1 have enjoyed using it and I feel more confident they will hit the ground running with Garageband.