Blackout Recording with GarageBand for iPad

Inspired by Blackout Poetry and Newspaper Blackout (Austin Kleon), this is Blackout Recording.


Blackout Recording with GarageBand for iPad — Book Cover

Create and record a unique poem as you learn how to edit audio with GarageBand for iPad.

You can choose to edit one of the three sample projects, or record your own voice. Then use loops and instruments to add atmosphere, mood and personality to your audio poetry.

🔗 Tap/Click here to download the book from Apple Books.

Blackout Recording Book Contents Page: Beginning with choosing your text, and ending with Share your Blackout Recording.

Or, you can get started on your creative editing journey by downloading the all-in-one Pages journal:

You and your students can use the book and/or all-in-one journal to guide you through the project.


Screenshot from Blackout Recording, showing example text “Here’s to the Crazy Ones” by Rob Siltanen.

Learning Objectives for this lesson:

  • Create an original poetry recording through ‘creative editing’.
  • Demonstrate an ability to use audio editing skills.
  • Apply effects and loops to add music to an audio recording.


Blackout Poetry: “The crazy ones. See things differently. They change. They push. They are the ones who do.”

This learning experience promoted student creativity by asking students to learn and apply digital audio editing skills in a more creative way.

Edits made by students — and the decisions they made on where to perform edits — directly lead to the creation of the final project. In this way, students had to think more creatively and technology uniquely makes this type of project possible.


Students demonstrated their learning by creating a Blackout Recording’ with GarageBand for iPad. This was inspired by ‘Blackout Poetry’ and ‘Newspaper Blackout’ (Austin Kleon). Students could choose and record their own audio or use a sample project. They would edit the audio to create their original audio poem. 

Finally, they can add loops or create music to add atmosphere and ambience to their creation.


Blackout Poetry example. Text reads: “The ocean. Empty, suffering, dying. Ecosystems collapsing. Mass extinction”.

This lesson formed part of my Apple Teacher Portfolio as an ‘Apply’ lesson, but could be easily adapted and used as an ‘Explore’ lesson depending on the age, skill level, positioning and depth of the activity, and has lots of opportunities to be simplified to suit your needs.

I used this lesson with my 1st and 2nd Year Music classes (12-14 years old), but it could easily be used in different contexts with other age groups too!

9 replies

September 06, 2022

Eoin, really brilliant idea and beautifully done book! The example poetry you used in the book is wonderful. Such a creative way to teach GarageBand while also working with poetry. Thank you!

September 07, 2022

Thank you so much, Cheryl! I’m really happy with how it turned out.

I’m a big fan of analogue Blackout Poetry with pen and paper, so wanted to make sure that anything digital I did with it went complemented and went beyond that, and wasn’t just a substitute.

Hopefully Blackout Recording is one way of achieving that!

September 09, 2022

Great resource for cross curricular GarageBand use. Definitely an idea we will use this year.

September 09, 2022

Thank you, Miriam! I’m really proud of this one! That’s so great to hear that it will be useful!

September 10, 2022

Great idea Eoin. I’m planning on using blackout poetry next week with my older pupils, however I’m now inspired to try this with my new form when they receive their new iPads. Thank you for the idea.

September 10, 2022

Thanks, Damian! I’d love to hear what some of your students create with Blackout Recording.

Enjoy and I hope it goes well!

September 12, 2022

What a great project to bring into any classroom. Literacy skills are so much more than just reading! Listening, speaking, writing all play a huge part. I love how this project works to not only only support those skills, but also connects and incorporates music creation and GarageBand. I would love to see how others adapt Blackout Poetry into their learning environments and scaffold for different ages. Beautiful resource, Eoin. Thanks for sharing. 🎵📝🖤

September 12, 2022

Thank you so much, Erika! 😊

I agree — 100%. Literacy is much more than just reading and writing, and is vital in any classroom and subject content area, not just an English lesson.

I really hope that Blackout Recording — now in two forms! — helps others to bring music, audio editing, and poetry together in their classrooms using GarageBand. 🎸 🎤 📝

March 01, 2023

As part of World Book Day this week, my 1st Year Music class (12-13 year olds) have been creating their own Blackout Recordings.

Here is my demo from class today:


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