By Heather Camlot
When my neighbour’s six-year-old daughter showed me the MP3 player she won at school, the first thing I said was, “That’s so cool! What songs do you have on there?” her mom turned to me and said with a shy smile, “There’s no music on it. I don’t know how to put it on.”
The fact that the pIayer didn’t come with an instruction manual and was so lightweight that we both thought it might just be a toy didn’t help build confidence. But I offered to play around with it and if I could move music onto it, I would. When I asked what kind of music her daughter liked, she replied, “Whatever your kids listen to. She’ll be happy having any music.”
The first step is to put music onto your computer.
Most MP3 players work the same way. The most important thing to know right off the top is that you cannot use the iTunes service for downloading or transferring music if you don’t have an iPod. This isn’t a problem, just something to be aware of.
Downloading: Open iTunes, select “iTunes store” on the left-hand side and shop to your heart’s content. The music you download will go straight into your music library.
With other services, a pop-up box will appear asking what you’d like to do with the file. Click “Save,” select the location — My Documents/My Music — click “Save” again and then close the window.
Ripping CDs: Pop the CD into your computer’s CD drive. If you don’t have the iTunes program open, a pop-up will appear asking if you’d like to “Import songs using iTunes.” Select and click “OK.” If you already have iTunes open, a pop-up box will appear asking, “Would you like to import the CD ‘name here’ into your iTunes library?” Click “Yes.” It will start ripping the CD. Create a new playlist (File > New Playlist) and name it. Go into your music library, select the songs you just ripped from CD or downloaded from the Internet and drag them into the playlist.
The same pop-up box mentioned above will also have an option to “Rip Music from CD” if you’re working with Windows Media Player, a service for non-iPod players available on every Microsoft Windows-based PC. Click “OK” and the CD will start ripping. If you already have WMP open, the CD will be listed on the left-hand side. Select the CD, then click “Rip” in the top toolbar, and “Start Rip” in the bottom right-hand corner.
The second step is getting the music from the computer to your player.
For the iPod, plug your player into your computer via the USB cord that came with it. Select the player under Devices on the left-hand side of iTunes. Go to the drop-down menu at the bottom left where it says “Autofill From” and select your new playlist. Move to the right side of the screen and click “Autofill.” iTunes will sync the music with your iPod. Done.
For other MP3 players, click “Sync” in the top toolbar of WMP, select the album or songs from the library (you’ll find them under “Recently Added”) and drag them to the right side, where it says “Drag items here.” Connect your MP3 player with the USB cord that came with it, then click “Start Sync” in the bottom right corner. Done.
So just what did I fill a six-year-old’s MP3 player with? A collection of “my” music that my children love to dance to, from 54-40’s Where Did the Money Go to Sam Roberts’ Them Kids, as well as a few kid favourites like K’Naan’s Wavin’ Flag and Michael Bublé’s version of Spiderman. Everyone’s happy.