Create Digital Music has a great “hands on” with iOS GarageBand that reads more like a treatise on designing easy software for beginners who are uncomfortable with most music software.
I’d like to add that iOS GarageBand allows far more ability to create original “crutched” music (via the excellent Smart Instruments) than it’s Mac big brother does. In fact, if I had an unlimited budget, I’d start my class on iOS GarageBand and then move straight to Ableton Live.
The article doesn’t address the fact that “digital natives” (kids who grow up comfortable with computer-y metaphors and don’t need real world metaphors to help them use a computer) tend to care less about the look of an app, and more about how quickly/easily it works. When I say I could start beginners on Ableton Live, it’s totally due to the “laid-bareness” of the UI. Everything you need is there, works, and is clear.
Nothing needs to look like a “real” instrument (or gear/rack) because the computer itself is the “real” instrument now.