by Tamsyn

February 12, 2011

Q. I’ve heard a lot of people talk about ‘Solfege’ and am thinking about teaching it to my children. How does it work?

A. Solfege is a technique music teachers use for teaching sight singing. Each musical note is assigned a syllable. The seven syllables commonly used are do, re, mi, fa, sol (or so), la, and ti (or si).How does it work? There are two ways to use solfege. One is movable do, and the other is fixed do.
Movable do In movable do, the tonic note (or key note) is always do. If a musical piece is in F major, then F is do. If the piece is in C major, then C is do, D is re, E is mi, and so forth. The advantage to this system is that the student learns the relationship between the different notes in the scale and can readily transpose a number. This is the method that will be taught on this website.
Fixed do With fixed do, C is always do, D is always re, and so forth. This includes all sharps and flats, so F# would be fa. The advantage to this system is that it teaches the student perfect pitch, and the solfege can be used instead of letter note names. For example, in some countries they would say a piece is in “fa major” instead of “F major.”
Both systems have merit, and both are used in the United States. Solfege is a fantastic way to teach your children to sing, and I wish you luck in your endeavors.

About the author 


My name is Tamsyn and I love music. I got my bachelor’s degree in vocal performance from USU. I spent many years teaching private piano lessons until I had children of my own. I have attended several children workshops on how to teach children music. I really like the Kodaly method, but have adapted a lot of different techniques for my own children.

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