Solfeggio – Should We Teach this to Young Children?

Solfeggio is the do-re-mi of music. You remember the song Do-Re-Mi from the movie Sound of Music? That song is a great example of the use of solfeggio. (If you haven’t heard it, by all means, find it and listen to it. It is so fun.) Maria, from the movie, teaches the children she is in charge of how to sing using do-re-mi. Solfeggio can be very complicated, there is a movable and fixed solfeggio that can get really complicate, but for our purposes we are going to start simple. So, the answer to the question in the title, is – of course.  If we start young it gives us the ability to get complicated later.

  1. Higher and Lower. Solfeggio is just the singing version of intervals (please see my  blogs Teaching Intervals – Part 1 and 2). Do to Do is an octave and Do to So is a 5th. We start teaching solfeggio the same way we start teaching intervals, with higher and lower.  In solfeggio we start with simple songs that are written with just Mi and So. They are very simple and we start by singing them together, getting them into our ears. Get out your xylophone and play the fifth note. It is a So. Then play the Mi, which is the 3rd note from the bottom. Play with these notes letting your child build a song with them. When they have played a bit with just these two notes, start by asking them to play the note that is higher (So/5th), then the lower one (mi/3rd). Make a game of it. When your child can play this game and get them right most of the time, switch. You play the note and sing So and let them show you with their body if it is higher or lower. Then do the same with Mi. Again, make it a game and have fun with it.
  2. Sing and improvise songs with So and Mi. Now we can really have fun with these two notes. Play and sing a 4 note combination of Mi and So and have them repeat it after you, then trade places. Let them sing and play combinations of 4 notes and you repeat after them. Make sure to praise their little songs. Tell them that they are writing their own songs. Go on to let them put together four of the four note groups and sing and play their songs to them with Mi and So and maybe even make up some words to go them. Have fun playing and singing these small songs with your child. Bond with them.

 

Amarant Education has these and other steps built in to our videos. We even start to teach Kodaly hand signs with the Mi and So, we add La and we teach the notes on the staff for all intervals.  If you would like our music education system for 40% off our opening price please see our Kickstarter.

 

 

Teaching Intervals: The Why and the How – Part 2

In the last post the children learned to recognize notes that were the same and different and higher and lower. Now it is important to learn the musical terms for higher and lower; to label them.

  1. Label unison and octave. Once your child is reliably showing they understand same and different and higher and lower it is time to label the intervals they have been learning. Go back to playing notes that are the same and different and letting your child dance to the appropriate tones. This time instead of saying same or different for the two notes say both same and unison, and different and octave. So, if you play the octave, say that they are different and then say they are an octave.  Now when your child dances low and high have them say octave. Do the same with unison. If you play two notes that are the same (high or low) have them dance to the appropriate notes and say unison. You should be interchangeably using unison for same and octave for different until your child has learned these intervals.
  2. Higher and lower using the fifth. Fifths are just five notes in a scale (c-g) so if you don’t have the notes written on your baby xylophone, the two notes would be, counting from the longest one up, 5 notes up or a G.  Follow the same higher/lower and same/different sequences that you did with the unison and octave intervals. This time only use the fifth and unison as you do the dancing. Also, change from the stretched out dance of the octave, to having the hands out in front of them.  This gives a middle feel and helps to associate with the middle sound of the G. For the lower sound, they are still crouched down low and for the upper sound in these exercises they are dancing with their hands out in front of them.
  3. Label fifth and unison. Just follow the same directions as you did for labeling the octave and unison.
  4. Compare fifths and octaves. Once the fifth and unison and octave and unison have been mastered, it is time to be able to hear these intervals when they are played together.  Now that your child has labeled unison, fifths and octave, play them in their interval forms to practice same and different. For instance play two unison tones then an octave. Are these the same or different? Then two unisons and a fifth. Are these the same or different? Keep going with unison and one or the other intervals for same or different. (two sets of unison, two sets of fifths, two sets of octaves, unison and fifth or unison and octave). When you see that they are mastering this concept add the last comparison, fifth and octave (1 and 5, and  1 and 8). Mix all of these together until they can hear all of the intervals as well as label them unison, fifth or octave. These are complex concepts that take some time to work up. Please, be patient and always make it a fun game. Think of other ways they can show you with their bodies which interval is being played. As always, bond with your child and have fun.

 

Amarant Education is a music learning system that helps your child learn in the most organic way possible. Our curriculum is built with the idea of fun and unconscious learning in mind. We explore a topic, label a topic and practice a topic, before moving on to the next topic, so there is much fun and play in what we do. Our videos are interactive and our mini exercises are either singing songs or playing games or both.  These are not baby sitting videos as they require an adult to help the child learn.  We encourage the bonding time you have with your child (plus you will be able to learn music literacy also.) If you like this post, please go to our Kickstarter page to see a more in-depth explanation of our unique music teaching system. Who knows, you might want to donate to get 40% off our consumer product as well as some fun prizes.