What is solfa?
Solfa, also called solfege, is a music language using the syllables “do re mi fa so la ti”. Singing in solfa trains the ear of the musician, helping them to understand pitch, harmony and music notation. Different education systems use solfa in different ways. The solfa examples on Hymns at Home offer a simple introduction to solfa for home educating families through familiar hymns.
How to use the solfa lessons
When beginning a new song, we recommend you listen to the performance several times over several days, just as you would with a song in a foreign language. When you wish to begin singing along, try listening to the “solfa lesson” track for that song. For your first solfa piece, you may wish to listen to the whole track to understand how the procedure works. When the track says “listen,” the recorded voice sings the piece in solfa for instruction. When the track says “sing,” it is your turn to repeat the solfa phrase along with the hummed tune. If you want to focus on just one section of the piece you can, or you can simply echo each phrase that you hear. You can use the “solfa lesson” track over a period of time until you know the song well.
Please consider the ages of your children, just as you would with foreign language; for young children, the focus is to be on the sound of the syllables not the written words or notes. The score (music notes) can be used if you wish, but is not compulsory. It may give reassurance to parents or older children who read text already, or provide a teaching opportunity if you want to familiarise yourself or your family with written music. You can use your finger to trace beneath the phrase like you would with beginning readers in their native tongue. For students wanting to learn music notation, you can use the score for musical copywork, using a blank sheet of music manuscript, or even for musical dictation as the students grow in musical knowledge and experience. However, many families will use the singing experience only without using the score, and will find great benefit without needing the written music.
Q. Do I need to be a good singer?
A. The recording has a singing example – you can follow along as your children do, making a joyful noise if required!
Q. Do I need to learn the song before teaching it to my children?
A. The parent does not need to learn the song first – enjoy the satisfaction of learning along with your children, and let the recorded voice be your instructor!
Q. Why teach solfa with hymns?
A. Solfa can be taught with any music. Hymns is simply one enjoyable way to learn solfa. If families are already learning the hymns, it may be easier to learn the solfa phrases as the tune will already be familiar.
Q. How do I find which hymns have solfa lessons?
A. The A-Z Index notes which hymns have solfa lessons by an asterisk (*).