FIRST YEARS > FAQs Library > Instructions for Using Tar Heel Player
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How to Create a SongBook Using Tar Heel Player

Tar Heel Player (THP) is designed to be used in conjunction with Tar Heel Reader (THR) to produce a book with music or audio accompaniment. THP was developed by UNC computer science professor, Dr. Gary Bishop, at the urging of FIRST YEARS student and Music Therapist, Chris Barton. The combination of music and the printed page is a powerful tool for literacy and language development.

Check it outA sample SongBook: Hoppity-Hop -
Technical notes:
  1. At present, the only browsers you can use with Tar Heel Player are Firefox or Chrome.
  2. We suggest familiarizing yourself with Tar Heel Reader first, then moving on to the THP version.
Some preliminaries: Copy-pasting URLs
Using THP involves "capturing" several URLs, or web addresses, by copying them from your browser's locator field. Once copied, you then paste them "elsewhere" to be used by another program.

For example, to create a SongBook, you copy-paste the URLs for an audio file and a previously-created THR book into the Tar Heel Player program. 

THP produces another URL a very long one! that will play your SongBook. 

To create a short URL which is more convenient to give to others, you can paste that long URL into a program that makes "tiny URLs." It is these short URLs that you will ultimately want to pass on to your users/readers.

This copy-paste process is summarized in the graphic seen at right.

Copy-Pasting URLs

Copying a URL typically involves clicking in the locator field, which highlights/selects the URL, then right-clicking to choose the Copy menu option, seen below in Chrome. (In Firefox, you have an Edit menu option to Copy. But you can right-click there also.)
This places the copied URL in a "clipboard," from which you can paste to another desired location by using the right-click Paste option (or the Edit > Paste menu in Firefox).

Check it outFor more information: Copying URLs

Creating SongBooks

There are 5 steps needed to create a SongBook:
  1. Select a song, which must be in mp3 format.
  2. Create a THR book using the song's lyrics as the basis for the text on pages of your book.
  3. Feed the URLs for the song and finished THR book into the Tar Heel Player and begin making the SongBook.
  4. Shorten the long URL created by THP by copy-pasting it into a "tiny URL" maker.
  5. Share the shortened URL.
All the steps involve capturing and saving the URLs to move from step to step.

Step 1: Select a song you wish to use as the basis for a book you will create.

  • Keep it simple, the fewer the words the better. Think one line of text per page.
  • The musical phrases will determine the pages of the book. For example, if using Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star, the first line of the song will be the first page of the book.
  • Keep the topic general enough that you will be able to find pictures to support it. For example, stars and moons are much easier to support than artichokes and aardvarks. (Although not impossible if you want to use your own pictures!)
  • Capture the URL of the song you will use, pasting/saving it in a retrievable location. You will need it in THP.
Step 2: Create your book using THR, Step 3: Collect your song URL and your newly-published book URL and go to the THP Setup Page,
  • Follow the instructions there to create your SongBook.

  • Note: You can replay the SongBooks you create by clicking the refresh/reload option on your browser. refresh your browser to replay a SongBook (It looks like a u-turn arrow.)
    Important: Save the URL of your newly-created SongBook! This is critical if you want to see your SongBook again.
Step 4: Shorten the long URL by going to the free Google URL Shortener site,
Important: Save the short URL
Step 5: Share the shortened URL of your SongBook with friends, students, family and anyone else you want to!

Summarizing: The URL "journey"
To review, let's see the URLs generated for the Hoppity-Hop SongBook:

Step 1: Capture your song's URL:
Step 2: Create your THR book:
Step 3: Feed these into THP to create a long URL:,9.1,13.6,18.4,23.2,
Step 4: Shorten this long URL:
Step 5: Share the short URL. Make sure you tell your readers/listeners to refresh the browser to replay the SongBook. refresh your browser to replay a SongBook
Congratulations! You've just created a SongBook!

Editing already-published SongBooks

As you create a Songbook, you can edit and test to see the results. After you publish, however, and if you need to go back and "tweak" the book and song, you will need to retrieve your long URL from the original THP creation process. Simply log on then paste this long URL into the last box in the setup form. This will initialize the setup form for editing. 
Bobby WorldWide Approved 508
Alexander Graham Bell Association | UNC-CH Division of Speech and Hearing Sciences

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