So, you’ve decided to take the plunge! You want to have a better voice. You want to expand your musical understanding and you’re willing to do whatever it takes.
Last week, we introduced Solfa: an incredible technique that supports inner hearing and sight-singing, and makes it easier to learn pitch relationships. In this post, we will show you how to get started (and of course, have fun!) with Solfa hand signals which let you use physical movements to strengthen your sense of pitch.
Solfa Hand Signals
Anyone can sing; it’s a healthy and natural activity that everyone can take part in. You don’t have to be a professional singer to enjoy the experience.
If you want to improve your singing skills, Solfa hand signals are extremely useful for improving pitch accuracy and building harmonic awareness. They’re also a flexible tool that any group of music students can learn to help with instrumental skills too.
The idea is that each solfa note (do, re, mi, etc.) has a corresponding hand shape, and whenever you sing that note, you make the shape with your hand. You also move your hand up and down to match the pitch movements of the notes. This lets you use your whole body to understand the relationships between the notes. Neat!
If you’re using this with smaller children, it may be best to use both hands, whereas for adults it’s a good idea to try a variety of styles and see what’s most comfortable.
This Solfa hand signals video demonstration allows you to actually see the height and depth of each pitch. The lower “DO” should be level with your belly button. The upper “DO” is at eye level. Each hand signal (pitch) is made above the previous one. The pitch goes up as the hand signals go up. Now, let’s…
Have a look at the video and give it a go. Keep things simple. Familiarize yourself with each syllable going up and down. Get used to their order and their sound within the scale. Next, practice singing a major scale using each syllable and its corresponding hand signal.
DO – RE – MI – FA – SO – LA – TI – DO
DO – TI – LA – SO – FA – MI – RE – DO
3. Ascending and Descending Together
DO – RE – MI – FA – SO – LA – TI – DO – TI – LA – SO – FA – MI – RE – DO
It may seem difficult at first. Try just using the first few notes of the scale up and down, then adding another, to gradually build your familiarity with the scale. You can also have fun improvising little tunes using the notes from the scale and trying to do the matching hand signs as you sing the solfa.
Once you get the hang of it, you’ll be able to sing almost anything with Solfa! If you still need some help, check out this other great video tutorial. It definitely makes it easier to memorize the Solfa hand signals:
Putting it Together
When you feel a little more comfortable, pick a song and sing the patterns with Solfa hand signals. If you are a beginner, a simple song like “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” is a good place to start.
If you are more advanced, try a new song pattern and make the Solfa hand signals as you follow along. Repeat the whole process with other songs that you know by heart.
Singing is one of the most natural things in the world. But developing a stronger and better voice takes good training, focus, and regular practice. Like any new skill, learning the fundamentals – such as Solfa syllables and hand signals and using them throughout your training – is key. Solfa hand signals make it easier to transition to sheet music, develop pitch memory, as well as improve your listening skills.
This is just the beginning of a fun and basic singing method. Join Musical U today to get access to our online modules and active community of musicians who will help you get all the support and practice you need.
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