If you use your Amazon Echo as an alarm, you will likely want to change the default sound fairly quickly. While not irritating, it is a little jarring if you’re deep asleep. It would be much better if you could make your Amazon Echo wake you with music. Fortunately, you can do just that. Here’s how.
Amazon Echo and Alexa are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to home automation and smart assistants. While advanced for now, they are mere baby steps into making our lives that little bit easier and freeing us from many of the mundane tasks that make up our lives.
With IFTTT recipes, smart home integration and clever apps, Alexa can do so much more than just play music or wake you up. Yet it is these basic functions that prove most useful.
As clever as Alexa is, it still does not have the capability of waking you up with music. While it offers an alarm and the ability to play music, it cannot yet combine the two. For that you need a workaround. It is a little cumbersome but does get the job done.
Configuring Amazon Echo to wake you with music
Now Alexa has been updated to include repeating alarms, you no longer have to set one each night. That makes it even more useful as part of your daily routine. Just say ‘Alexa, set a repeating weekday alarm for 6am’ and Amazon Echo will set an alarm for 6am Monday through Friday. Say ‘Alexa, set a repeating alarm for 6am’ and it will wake you every single day.
The key word there is ‘repeating’ it is a command word that causes Alexa to understand you want the alarm every day. Add ‘weekday’ and it understands you want to lie in at the weekend.
So while Alexa can set repeating alarms, we don’t actually want it to as it cannot yet play the music. Instead, we will use our smartphone.
Take me to the music
To configure the music aspect, we need to use our smartphone. Alexa cannot currently use music as an alarm but it can play tracks from a paired smartphone. We just need to tell Alexa to play the track when triggering the alarm.
- Pair your smartphone with Alexa. This should already be done if you have used Amazon Echo for a while. Otherwise, enable Bluetooth on your smartphone and say ‘Alexa pair’.
- Record an audio file on your smartphone that says ‘Alexa turn on MUSIC’. Replace music with your selected radio station, podcast, playlist, album, track or whatever.
- Set an alarm on your smartphone for when you want and select the audio file you just recorded as the alarm sound.
- Place your smartphone so Alexa can hear the alarm when it goes off and go to sleep.
Yes this workaround is a little clunky and not the ideal solution we are looking for but it gets the job done. As long as Alexa picks up your audio file, it should begin playing the music you specify.
My Samsung Galaxy S7 has an alarm clock built in as do most other Android phones. iPhone also has its own alarm clock. Both should be configurable to play a custom audio file as the alarm. If you find your phone not working properly, use an alarm app. There are lots around with a few free ones that can get the job done.
Alexa media commands
The Amazon Echo has several commands built in that let you play different media. Here are a few of them:
- ‘Alexa, play some music.’
- ‘Alexa, playon Spotify.’
- ‘Alexa, play [artist] station on Pandora.’
- ‘Alexa, play music by [artist].’
- ‘Alexa, play the latest Coldplay album’
- ‘Alexa, play that song that goes Down, down deeper and down.’‘
- ‘Alexa, Play the song of the day:
- ‘Alexa, play [radio station] on TuneIn.’
- ‘Alexa, play [title] on Audible,’
- ‘Alexa, read [title]’
- ‘Alexa, play the book, [title].’
- ‘Alexa, resume my book.’
- ‘Alexa, read me my Kindle book.’
You can use any of these commands in your smartphone audio file to get Alexa to perform the required action as your alarm. I tried it last week and found I awoke when my phone played the media file and while initially disconcerted at the sound of my own voice talking, was immediately soothed by the music that Alexa began to play.
Do you know of any other ways to make your Amazon Echo wake you with music? Something more practical and doesn’t need a smartphone? Tells us about it below if you do!