Hello, music makers!
Today’s post is for anyone with young elementary aged children just beginning their singing process. Children as early as ages 6 or 7 can have an exciting musical experience using sol and mi to sing, play, read, write, and compose.
We start young singers with this interval because this is the easiest interval for them to recognize and sing tunefully. Walk by any playground with young children and you’ll hear a chant – like song such as “na, nana boo-boo. You ca-n’t catch me!”. This chant like interval between the words “boo – boo” and “catch me” are sol and mi. Children sing this pattern naturally so it makes sense to start out our education process there.
Even if you consider yourself to have no experience teaching your children music, you’ll soon find that children already are capable of hearing these tonal patterns and engraining them on their own. All you have to do is make them aware of the patterns and give them ways to use them.
We do this by following a very simple process: Prepare, Present, Practice
Preparing Sol and Mi
To begin, sing this very simple song for your child or play the recording here.
If you can go to a playground, sing this song while your child plays on a seesaw. If not, sing while moving your body up and down, following the direction of the notes.
Your child should primarily listen the first time or two, but he or she will naturally sing when he’s ready.
After your child is comfortable singing, ask him why he thinks you’re moving up and down with your bodies as you sing (pitches of the song move up and down).
Let your child know that there are two notes to this song: sol and mi.
Sing again. This time put your hands on your head for sol and hands on your shoulders for mi.
This is where it gets fun.
There are lots of ways to practice sol and mi. During the practice stage, your child is free to make up his own songs using sol and mi (improvise), move shapes to follow the pitch direction of the song (write), sing the contour of shapes you place to learn a new song (read), and lots more.
For our purposes today, we’ll practice sol and mi through writing.
1. Print out these worksheets and cut out the seesaws.
2. Place the seesaw pictures above the words. Make sure that the words that use sol are higher than the words that use mi.
There it is!
When you try this activity, you’ll find that children pick up the interval between sol and mi very easily. Take your time with this activity, even though it’s simple. The prepare stage can last several days before you ever introduce the names sol and mi or show how to practice them.