I’ve been getting a lot of questions lately about the often stressful topic of sight singing and if there is some kind of proven method to be able to master this once and for all. Well not surprisingly, I have an answer to this problem. I’m going to take you on a deep dive on how to use solfege to improve your sight singing in a very direct and profound way using 5 steps. All you need to proceed is a basic working knowledge of solfege.
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Here are my 5 Steps to Sight Singing Success
Step 1: Determine what key you’re in
- If this isn’t something you’re confident with, you can find a list online that tells you what the key signatures are. As soon as you determine what key it’s in, you’ll use your pitch pipe. You can also use any instrument of your choice or an app. Then, you’re going to find the ‘Do’ and play it.
Step 2: Establish your key center
- I tend to just sing the ‘do me sol me do’. You might also sing up and down the scale (do re mi fa sol la ti do ti la sol fa mi re do). Sing as much of that as you need to get you centered in the key and you may find that the more frequently you practice, the faster you’ll reduce it down to just ‘do mi sol me ’
Step 3: Work your way through just the pitches
- Forget the rhythm and just focus just on working the pitches out. Walk up as you need to. Let’s sayyou’re going from ‘do’ and the next thing that you see is ‘fa’ and you can’t quite figure out what pitch ‘fa’ is. Well, you can walk up by filling in the missing bits. Let’s say you needed to sing from ‘do’ to ‘fa’; you’d sing ‘do re me fa’ then ‘do fa’ and just continue to fill in pitches as needed.
Step 4: Clap and count the rhythm as you need to
- If you’re somebody who is very used to rhythms, maybe you don’t need to do this step. I’m going to say for people who aren’t super confident, it would be a very good use of your time if you just clap and count through the
Step 5: Sing the pitches in the correct rhythms
- Sing the pitches using the correct rhythms! I have a list of my very favorite sight singing books so you can click those links just to check them out.
I want you to remember that sight singing, like everything else, takes time. You could spend 5, 10 or 15 minutes a day just slowly working your way through sight singing examples until you’re feeling secure and strong.
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Crash Course in Solfege is an all-in-one course for developing your ear training, aural skills and music theory.
Solfege (do, re, mi, etc) is a centuries-old method of ear training that I have adapted for 21st Century singers.