Solfège – A Singer’s Best Friend


What is Solfège?

Solfège is a set of syllables that represent specific pitches in music. The solfège note names are: Do, Re, Mi, Fa, So, La, and Ti.

Why Not Just Learn C-D-E-F-G-A-B-C?

There are two main reasons. Firstly, the syllables used in “Do-Re-Mi” are far easier to sing than the letter names. Secondly, by using the “Movable Do” system, solfège syllables can be used for singing any scale in any key!

Why should we learn Solfège?

To sing in tune, we must first train our ear to hear pitches and then practice matching those pitches with our voice. Through the solfège system, singers learn to hear relationships between pitches, understand melodic patterns and practice singing notes more accurately.

Solfège also gives singers and musicians a way to learn and remember songs very quickly and conveniently. If a singer hears or creates a melody she wants to remember, all she needs to do is write down the solfège pitches of the melody. There’s no need to look for an instrument to figure out the actual notes of the melody before writing them down!

Solfège also helps to improve a singer’s sight-singing skills, which is the ability to hum or sing written melodies without hearing it played beforehand –  a very useful skill for any singer or musician.

Because we understand the importance of the solfège as a tool for ear training,

every Happy Little Singers class includes activities that teach this system in fun and engaging ways. We want to make learning solfège as fun a possible for kids so that they will feel motivated to practice this important skill so they have it under their belts should they ever wish to continue learning music more formally later in life!

What are Curwen Hand Signs?

Curwen Hand Signs (developed by John Curwen in the 19th century) are a set of hand symbols that correspond with Solfège. Simply put, for every solfège pitch, there is a way to represent the pitch using your hands.

The Happy Little Singers program teaches young children Curwen Hand Signs as a way to reinforce the learning of relative pitch because it provides physical placements for vocal pitches. It also helps to keep students more actively engaged in pitch learning because hand-signing songs is super fun to do!

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