Like any big Mac geek I watched the Steve Jobs Macworld keynote speech{link updated} live via Quicktime stream today. Two interesting things: The iPod mini (I cannot say that without putting my pinkie finger in the corner of my mouth) is cool but still too expensive. The mini (there goes the pinkie) is only 50 bucks cheaper than the 15gig full size iPod. Lame. However due to the €-$ exchange rate if I had someone buy me the 15gig in the US and send it to me then I would be paying a lot less than it would cost here. Hmmm.

The other thing Apple released today that is really really cool is a new program in their iLife suite and that is Garage Band. It is a program that allows the user to produce, record and mix their own music. There are great synth sounds, loops, amp modeling, export to iTunes…. The demo in the stream linked above is really interesting. This is by no means a professional system but it is a great tool for anybody learning to play an instrument. If you have a USB or MIDI keyboard you can record midi and assign it to any of the synth sounds. You can play along with a guitar, record it, make up solos, overdubs. If they would have had this when I was learning to play as a kid, things may have been a lot different. OMG, if I was a music teacher I would jump all over this program. Compose music that sounds cool and that focuses on a certain lesson theme like major/minor scales or chords, burn it to CD and give it to my student and have him or her practice to it. I think it be more motivating because it sounds good and not like the cheesy old MIDI crap from back in the day that always came with the Mel Bay guitar books. Like I said it is not a professional tool although If I was a musician on the road it would be great for getting down those spur of the moment ideas in the bus. Of course having some talent is important. There are going to be some users making horrible sounding shit, But it lead some people, especially kids, to discover talent they didn’t even know they had. That’s why I really like Apple’s products; because it enables people to create and express themselves who ordinarily wouldn’t in this fashion. And if Apple made it then it is probably very easy to learn because all of their products are so intuitive.

That’s so cool.