Thank you for signing up to Solfeg.io! It's fun to learn music by playing together, and it's amazing how much our students can learn when they feel motivated by music they love. Let's go for it!
Lauma - Founder of Solfeg.io, Music Teacher for 10+ years
WEEK 1: SINGING
You've chosen a song your students love. They probably know the melody or at least the chorus by heart. That's why it's a great idea to start with singing! However, for some pop songs, the melody can be quite complicated, so are a couple of songs you can always start with. They're among the most popular songs in the app:
- Start with the correct posture and do a couple of breathing exercises – this is useful for singing and can be a lot of fun;
- Remind your students that the voice should be the most important line, which the rest of the instruments should accompany (no instrument should be played louder than the singer);
- Dictation and articulation are important so the lyrics can be heard and understood;
- Sing vividly. Singing should not be passive or with a “zombie face” (only for The Cranberries - Zombie maybe!)
- Taking all this information into account - listen to the song;
- Sing together with the vocals on the app;
- When you feel confident, mute the vocal track and sing on your own;
- Divide the singers into solo - groups - solo vs. class choir - girls vs. boys - and other interactive formations;
- Talk through the meaning of the lyrics. Make sure your students know how to pronounce them.
- Feature you will like: Mute the rest of the instruments, leaving just the vocal track. You can also use tempo change (- and + buttons) to slow down the song to work on getting the melody right and pronouncing the lyrics correctly. Then, mute just the vocal track and sing live, using the rest of the app as a backing track.
Tip: You can try out as many songs as your students like, but it's a good idea to stick to one song throughout the pilot, learning the melody, harmony and rhythm, so the class can perform it nicely by the end, film it and maybe even upload it to YouTube!
Find out more about the features in our video:
Homework (several ideas)
- Memory task - learn your part by heart;
- Creative task - write your own lyrics for one of the verses;
- Advanced task - create a harmony (2nd voice) together with a friend.
- Do you play an instrument? Bring it to school for the next class.
WEEK 2: INSTRUMENTS
Solfeg.io can be used with most instruments, so this task really depends on the type of instruments you have in your class. You can choose either one instrument type (e.g. ukulele) or work with all the different instruments you have in the class (or what your students have brought from home). If there are fewer instruments than students, you can work in groups. You can also create different instrument stations, e.g. piano station, metallophone station.
Depending on the level of your students, you can either play the songs or learn the basics of the instruments. Solfeg.io provides chord visualizations for piano, guitar, bass guitar and ukulele for each song! If necessary, you can also watch a YouTube video of “How to hold the ukulele” etc.
Most important instrument guidelines:
- Start with songs that have 2-4 chords. For example, Vance Joy - Riptide, Shawn Mendes - Stitches, The Lumineers - Ho Hey, Of Monsters and Men - Little Talks, and Shakira - Try Everything all feature chords: C, Am, F and G;
- Focus on the right fingering of the chords - it will then be easier to connect the chords afterwards;
- Skip a chord, if necessary. For example, chords Am, F and C are super easy on ukulele, but you have to try a bit harder for G. It's okay if you skip it in the first lesson. You can also work in groups with 1-2 chords for each group;
- Smaller kids? Try metallophones or boomwhackers, giving each student a note to play.
Feature you will like: You can filter songs by chords in Solfeg.io. Simply click on Filters, and then choose the chords. Also, remember the tempo change feature (- and + buttons)!
Homework (several ideas)
- Learning to play - learn all chords of the song at home on your instrument;
- Without instrument - download a piano app and learn to play the chords in a virtual environment;
- Group work - play together with a friend. Help each other - make sure that you both sound good and change chords together at the right time;
- Advanced task - class competition: learn to play the chords/notes on AS MANY INSTRUMENTS AS POSSIBLE! Who will win? 🙂
WEEK 3: Rhythm
Playing interesting grooves is the best way to learn note values and how to combine them in rhythmic patterns. Most of the songs have three rhythm lines, so you can learn the lines one by one in groups and swap them around afterwards. It sounds great when you put the whole groove together, and the class plays it with the song at a steady tempo!
Here's an example of how you can work with the rhythm lines:
- Rhythm line 1 - syncopated rhythm, rhythm line 2 - pulse (make sure your students keep a steady beat like heartbeat):
(Shakira - Try Everything)
- You can either listen to the rhythm tracks on the app or play “My turn - your turn” where students echo the rhythm played by the teacher;
- Explain the differences between the patterns (e.g. dotted 8th note vs straight 8th note etc.);
- Address characteristic features of the patterns like syncopation in the second part of the bar, the 8th note rest etc., explaining the necessary music theory;
- Put the pattern together and play it with body percussion (clapping, tapping etc.) or on percussion instruments;
- Divide the students into groups where each group plays one rhythm line. Explain which is the bass drum line (great to play with djembes, cajon etc.), and the snare drum (clapping, smaller drums etc.). Some songs also have the shaker. Choose which instruments best suit each line;
- You can switch the groups afterwards or complicate the task - for example, ask students to tap the pulse with their feet and clap the syncopated rhythm;
- In the end, your students should be able to perform the whole groove with the song in the original tempo.
Feature you will like: The mute function for mixing live playing with the recorded tracks of the app.
Tip: Of course, you will have to constantly remind the class to keep the volume down, but it's worth it. Your students will learn to listen to their instrument in the context of others, and they will learn the culture of the music class - don't play when the teacher speaks, respect others by adjusting your volume, etc. This way you will also be preparing them for the etiquette of performing in school concerts.
Homework (several ideas)
- Rhythm task - polish the rhythm at home in a group with friends to present it to the class in the next lesson. If the song has three rhythm tracks, there should be at least three students in the group;
Playing together - divide students into groups (minimum of four students per group), to present the song in the next class, playing one line (voice, instrument, rhythm) each, so that all instruments are represented.
WEEK 4: PLAYING TOGETHER
This will be an exciting music class. If your students are used to playing together, Solfeg.io will make it easier for them to follow the song. If they're new to playing in a classroom band, get ready to introduce this task more often, teaching different instruments and seeing your students' engagement grow.
- Let everyone choose their instrument or assign it to them;
- Put all the parts (voice, instruments, rhythm) together. Remind your students to: 1) keep the beat; 2) listen to each other so that the song sounds good;
- Work on counting and the metronome;
- Enjoy and have fun 🙂
- Do film your performance, watch it and talk it over in the next lesson – this is great for learning to express and receive feedback. Video-recording also makes your students focus on the task and is an awesome way to show the parents and the principal how great your music class is going. If you send it to email@example.com, we would be very happy to see you playing! If you wish, we can also nominate you the best class ever and share your video in our social networks (but we will only ever share your video with your consent).
Feature you will like: The metronome. You can make the metronome track louder and lower the volume for the other tracks as much as you need.
- Worksheet for group work (please feel free to adapt it):
- Worksheet for advanced group work:
- A 45-60 minute lesson plan with all tasks combined:
Ideas for cooperation:
- An afterschool music club with Solfeg.io - students of different age groups and musical skill levels can join! Some of the more experienced students can help you lead it.
- A karaoke-instrument break once a week with Solfeg.io. Use Wednesday's lunch break, and include all the instruments in your music class - anyone can join! The whole school will benefit from this amazing way to connect and spend time together.
- A competition between different classes with a combined performance. Or find a friend school across the globe. We can help you connect with a school using Solfeg.io in another country - and do a performance together via Skype or send videos to each other!
- Using Solfeg.io to prepare songs for your school concert.