Music Mechanics


If you are under 40, this post will make you roll your eyes, so it is best that you log off immediately.  If you are over 40 (which is a nice way of saying, “if you are over 50”) I am going to gently explain how I find the music that my son and I listen to during STORIES AND STUDIES.

For this tutorial, please enjoy a mock phone conversation between my mother (in California) and me (in Texas).  FYI, my mother, “The Peach”, is 92 and is pretty much with it.  She 1) has a personal trainer and 2) was explaining just yesterday how to recognize a Tesla car.  When it comes to computers, NOT SO MUCH.  She has had her own gigantic Apple computer for several years, but it was only recently that she stopped trying to “set the margins” when she was composing an email.

So, the conversation –

The Peach:  I want to listen to the music that you listen to during STORIES AND STUDIES.  How do I do it?

Me:  There are a couple of ways. Do you want the long (permanent) or short (temporary) version?

The Peach:  Let’s start with the short version.

Me:  OK.  Write this down:

  • Turn on your computer
  • Log on to YouTube

Once you are on the YouTube website, type in the name of the classical piece you want to listen to into their search box.  Most likely, a series of suggestions will pop up. Scan through the suggestions. Find one that looks interesting, click on it, and enjoy!

The Peach:  How much is this going to cost?

Me:  Nothing!

The Peach:  Are all of the classical music videos on YouTube of the same quality?

Me:  No.  Anybody can submit to YouTube.

The Peach:  OK, what is the long version?  What if I want to have the music with me, to listen to in the car or whatever.  I can’t be logging onto YouTube every time I want to listen to something.  What if I want to own the music permanently?

Me: This is very exciting!  You are really a woman of the 21st century!  Here is what you need:

  • your computer
  • an iPod

The Peach: I am ready! (we are skipping the part about having to purchase an iPod)

Me:  Write this down:

  • Turn on your computer
  • Log onto Amazon

In the Amazon search box, write the name of the composition you are trying to find. A number of suggestions will pop up. You want one from the “digital music” category.

The Peach:  OK, I typed in “Beethoven’s 5th Symphony” and about a thousand suggestions popped up.  How do I choose?

Me:  Good question! Amazon does let you sample 30 seconds of any piece, but with so many to choose from, the first thing I do to narrow down the search is to look for a well-known orchestra or conductor.

The Peach: Well, for heavens sakes, this is something I don’t know anything about. How can I speed up this process?

Me:  Ask me!  I LOVE researching music!  Ask me and I will tell you exactly what recording I have chosen for which composition.

The Peach:  So, now that I have selected a recording, what do I do next?

Me:  Purchase the piece from Amazon. They make it very easy and it is quite inexpensive  (about 99 cents per song).  Moments after the purchase, the music is magically transferred to your iTunes music file!

The Peach: So, it is SOMEHOW now on my computer?

Me:  Yes!

The Peach:  But don’t I have to do something to get it onto my iPod?

Me:  Yes.  Here comes more magic!  Cable your iPod to your computer and the music will automatically transfer.

The Peach: That’s it?

Me: That’s it!

The Peach: What did you listen to last night?

Me: Last night’s theme was “Celebrating the Oboe” – we focused on the piercing, exotic, snake-charmer sound of the oboe.

oboe ipod

  • Handel’s, “Arrival of the Queen of Sheba”,  from Handel’s oratorio, “Solomon”.  This piece features 2 oboes in marvelously intertwining harmony.
  • Tchaikovsky’s final scene from “Swan Lake” – about one minute into the piece, the oboe is fully in charge of the haunting melody.
  • Maurice Ravel’s “Le Tombeau de Couperin” – which showcases the capabilities of the oboe to perfection.  The entire piece lasts about 18 minutes, but this youtube link captures a 3 minute slice.  An excellent introduction to the oboe.

Welcome to the best part of my day!

– Jane BH


  1. OMG, no wonder you are such a gem – having “the Peach” for a Mom assured that! And I love having the explanation of how to do this – too bad I didn’t put an IPod on my birthday list – maybe it will make my Christmas list!


  2. Jane, your blog has taken me on a weird trip down memory lane. My soph or jun year of hs, the Iowa All-State Chorus did Cecil Effiger’s “No Mark”. Are you familiar? It’s a very strange song with a beautiful oboe part. I had never been a fan of the oboe until we did this piece. My amazing vocal music director forced his poor junior high school-aged daughter to play the oboe part during our concert. I HATED the piece, but immediately loved the oboe. I wish I had our recording. Here’s one off youtube: LOVE YOUR BLOG!!


      1. Oh we hope not. That is a tough learning period. We are hoping for violin. Although I bet that has plenty of squeaks as well. Maybe piano is our best bet. 🙂


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