Did you know that my first job out of college was as a junior high choir director? Yes! I was the choir teacher in a very musically competitive school district in Texas and taught 7th-9th graders many singing techniques, including how to learn to sight sing with solfege hand signs. I had, of course, learned to sight sing when I was growing up in the many choirs I participated in, but I had never seen solfege hand signs until I got to college. Today you’ll learn what solfege hand signs are and I’ll give you some tips to learn to sight sing!
Why Have Your Kids Learn to Sight Sing
If you’re a homeschool mom who loves music, you may be looking for ways to teach your children to sight sing. Sight singing is the ability to sing a melody on sight, without any prior preparation. It’s a valuable skill for any musician, and it can be a lot of fun!
One way to teach sight singing is to use solfege hand signs. Solfege is a system of naming musical notes with syllables, and each syllable has a corresponding hand sign. By teaching your children the solfege hand signs, you’ll give them a visual way to remember the notes of the scale.
The Solfege Syllables used in Sight Singing
There are seven different solfege hand signs, one for each note in the major scale. Let’s use the C Major Scale as an example.
- Do (C)
- Re (D)
- Mi (E)
- Fa (F)
- Sol (G)
- La (A)
- Ti (B)
I always like to use the video of Maria von Trapp teaching the children in The Sound of Music. See if this helps you, too!
Why Solfege is Useful for Learning to Sight Sing
There are a number of ways why using solfege makes it easier to sight sing than simply singing the words or even the note names.
First, every major scale has the same pattern of whole and half steps. It doesn’t matter which note is the root, or “Do,” they all work the same way. “Re” feels like it wants to lead down to “Do.” “Ti” feels like it wants to resolve up to “Do.” “Fa” feels like it wants to lead down to “Mi.” Etc. Once you understand how the different notes of the scale behave with solfege, you can transfer that knowledge to any key!
Let Maria teach you again with this video:
How to Use Solfege Hand Signs to Sight Sing
Now, why add solfege hand signs? It’s such a helpful tool! You can actually feel the notes physically in your body with the hand signs. I teach them to you in this video (which is part of my Advanced Music Theory course for high schoolers, a course found inside the Music in Our Homeschool Plus membership):
Download Your Free Solfege Hand Sign Cheat Sheet and Worksheets
Learn More with the Sight Sing with Solfege Hand Signs online course
If you’re excited to learn more about sight singing with solfege hand signs, head over to get the full printable set with a tutorial video!
A Testimonial About the Sight Sing with Solfege Hand Signs Video Lesson!
Sight singing with solfege hand signs is a great way to improve your vocal skills and musicianship. By practicing this skill, you’ll be on your way to becoming a better sight-singer in no time!