Thursday, September 20, 2012

Solfege Visuals

Solfege plays a large role in our music classrooms at Crestline. We begin teaching hand signals in kindergarten. Having visuals on display is very beneficial for the students. We each had a set of 8 1/2 x 11 posters that we purchased, but we were excited to find these hand sign printables through Pinterest. They originated from the blog, "Music with Mrs. Dennis." She has two sets available for free download. One set has the syllables printed on them, and the other signs are blank.

We started out with two sets of hand signals: green with syllables, and blue without. We printed them on cardstock, cut them out, and put magnet strips on the back.

We originally placed one set on the left side of the whiteboard, and the other set on the right. Then, one day when students were notating pitches on their small whiteboards and were struggling with lines and spaces, an idea came to life. We alternated the blue and green hand signs, so it was easy to see that if "do" is a line note, so are all the other pitches that are the same color.

Click here to visit Mrs. Dennis' blog post to download your own sets of hand signs. Scroll to the end of her blog post for the download links.

In addition to visuals that are always on display in our classrooms, we have a PowerPoint slide we show on our screens to demonstrate the relationship of the pitches. We call it the musical elevator and pretend to push buttons for the different floors, while we sing the syllables.
If you are not currently using hand signs in your music classroom, I highly recommend it. Start simple: sol and mi, then sol, la, and mi. Sing short patterns for your students to echo while performing the hand signals. You'll notice the benefit quickly.

"Sol" long for now. It's time for "mi" to go...


  1. YES! I am totally doing this next year. Right now I have a solfege bulletin board with alternating colors for line and space notes, but I am ready for the magnet hands next year!

    I also like your blue and green. I did maroon and green backgrounds this year (looks better than it sounds). My intern pointed out that kids who are color blind might not be able to tell those two colors apart! I will definitely be choosing my colors more carefully next year.

    Nice blog - glad I found it!
    Lauren :) -

  2. I started using handsigns some years ago now and am still totally flabbergasted about its effects on hearing, music reading and singing skills. Love it!