Saturday, August 08, 2009

iPods, MP3s and the "Lyrics" tab

One of the great things about the iPod is that there's one way or another to make it bring up just about any data you can stick in an MP3. One of those things is lyrics. Now, the nice thing about the lyrics field is it's really just a text box. You can put anything you want in there. All you need to do is go to iTunes (the app, not the store), right-click on your song, select "Get info" and click on the lyrics tab. After that you can put in any text you want, either by typing or by pasting. Save it and you're good to go. Then, when you sync your iPod, the lyrics will be uploaded. To access them, just click the center button 4 times while the song is playing. (This works on my Classic; I assume it works roughly the same way on the others.)

At first, I wasn't very creative with the lyrics tab. I downloaded the lyrics to some of my favorite foreign songs so that if I wasn't sure about a line, I could look. (A little googling will get you lots of lyrics ready for cutting and pasting.) Then I started adding lyrics with translations when I could find a good translation. Then I realized, hey, it's just a text box, I can put anything I want in there!

Lately, I've been putting Assimil dialogs and their translations in one week at a time. This way, I can review my current lesson two or three times a day without carrying around the book. Or I can review a week's worth of lessons from two or three week's back, knowing that if I've forgotten something I've got a good written reminder just four clicks away.

As I said, you can use the lyrics tab any way you want. Do you like vocabulary lists? Put your Teach Yourself dialogs on the MP3 and fill the lyrics tab with the vocabulary list that comes after. Do you like to follow along with the dialogs? Put 'em in? Do you have a pretty good memory for language learning but need to refresh your memory from time to time? Type up your notes in a text file and associate them with the MP3 for whatever program you're learning with.

I'm sure that others have suggested this before - I just wasn't paying attention since I was still using a cheapie MP3. But just in case anybody out there hasn't taken advantage of this, know that the "Lyrics" tab is your friend. With Pimsleur and Michel Thomas programs, of course, you can load up your iPod or other MP3 to make it a language learning audio library. But thanks to the "Lyrics" tab (and the wonders of cut and paste), you can make it do even more. So if you find yourself listening to to stuff to practice your language(s) and wishing there were a way to look up that word, recall exactly what the dialog means or what have you, don't get frustrated. Just make a note, look it up when you get home and add it to the lyrics tab. That way whenever you want that reminder again, it'll be there, just four center clicks away.


Blogger sendaiben said...

Fantastic tip, thanks! Had no idea such a thing existed.

8:35 AM  
Anonymous topkapit said...

Thanks so much for this post! Very helpful

8:01 AM  

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