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Solfege Lesson Plans – A Beginner Guide to Teaching Solfege

Looking for Solfege Lesson Plans?

Solfege is an important building block in elementary music, but if you’re not a specialist it may seem overwhelming. Luckily, solfege isn’t actually that hard to learn and it can make your music lesson plans more interactive and fun, as well as teaching important pitch concepts.

What is solfege?

Solfege is a system that gives a unique syllable to each note of the scale. It was made famous in the song “Do Re Mi” from the musical “The Sound of Music”. For example, in the C major scale, C would be “do”, D would be “re”, E would be “mi”, and so on.

Fixed “Do” – In the fixed do system, the note “C” is always do.

Moveable “Do” – In the moveable do system, Do is whichever note of the scale is the tonic, or root note of the scale.

Beginner’s Note: When teaching early elementary music, I typically stick to C major and fixed do up to grade 3. Moveable do becomes more of a discussion in grade 4, when they learn the absolute note names on the staff. So if moveable do gives you hives, don’t worry! It’s not totally necessary, especially at the beginning.

Why teach solfege?

Solfege is useful because it helps teach students to recognize and identify the relationships between notes (also known as intervals). It is much easier to teach and learn concepts when we have a name for them – and solfege provides us with that. Solfege helps students to hear patterns in music and be able to reproduce them, and sets the stage for both sight singing and music dictation. It’s also referenced in many music curriculums, including the Ontario Music Curriculum.

Teaching solfege to kindergarten

Prodigies music classes are a great source of solfege lesson plans

Kindergarten is a great time to start teaching the basics of solfege. Young primary students love learning the hand signs and it keeps their whole bodies engaged in the lesson. If you are teaching kindergarten music and don’t have a music background, the best resource I can recommend is Prodigies.com. The videos, starring Mr Rob, teach all your lessons for you – and the accompanying workbooks provide great activities for center play. I use the Prodigies program with my music classes as well as with my own kids at home, and they all love it. Best of all, you can get a 30 day free trial.

Solfege Lesson Tips

  • If your students have never learned solfege before, don’t teach the whole scale at once. Start with just three notes and gradually add more as your students get more comfortable.
  • Teach students the hand signs for the solfege, and use them while singing.
  • There is a commonly used colour scheme, most famously used by Boomwhackers and bell sets. This can be super useful in giving students another visual cue.
  • Teach the melodies for new songs using only the solfege syllables first, then the words.

Solfege Lesson Plans for Elementary

These solfege lesson plan packs are based on the Ontario Curriculum but will align with many other curriculums as well. They include complete teaching instructions as well as sound clips and visual aids. So easy a sub could use them – so high quality you’ll be proud to teach them yourself.

grade 1 solfege lesson plans
grade 2 solfege lesson plans
grade 3 solfege lesson plans