Solfege: A Beginner’s Guide

If you have ever sung in a choir or taken voice lessons before, you have probably sung the major scale using solfege syllables. There are 7 unique pitches in this scale.

Major Scale With Solfege Syllables





As singers, we use solfege in sight singing and ear training practice. If these solfege syllables are new to you, don’t worry they are super easy to learn!

Today I’m going to teach you how to sing this solfege scale in tune and a cappella (by yourself). I’ve also created a 4 part series of simple solfege ear training exercises to help improve your pitch. Check out part 1 of the series!

What is Ear Training, You Say?

Ear training is the practice of developing/improving your sense of pitch and harmony. Great singers sing in tune. When someone says “Wow, she’s got a great ear”, it doesn’t mean that the singer has really good hearing. It means that she has trained her ear (her brain, really) to be able to understand and sing pitches with great accuracy as well as to hear harmonies and improvise/riff by hearing “inside the chords”.

Why Should I Bother With Ear Training?

Because singing out of tune sounds bad! Even good singers will benefit from ear training. No matter how good of a singer you are, you can always find ways to improve your craft. Fine tuning and developing your ear is a way to take your singing to another level.

How To Practice

Practice with a piano or virtual keyboard. Play the major scale in the key of C as you sing Do-Re-Mi-Fa-Sol-La-Ti-Do. Sing up and down the scale. Once you can sing the scale in tune by yourself (without the help of the piano), try moving around the scale in stepwise motion. For example: Do-Re-Do-Re-Mi-Fa-Sol-Fa-Mi-Fa-Sol-La-Ti-La-Ti-Do etc.

You should make a little solfege chart like the one I use in the video. This way, you can practice the exercises at your own pace. You may need to move slower at first and that’s ok.

do re mi on keyboard






Need some help with naming notes on the keyboard? Check out this video tutorial and article- Piano Keys- A Simple Guide To Learning Notes On The Piano


  • Lynda

    Reply Reply October 20, 2015

    Thank you so much Meghan. I am in my 60’s and have been singing in a choir for just over a year now. Recently I started learning about musicianship with our choir teacher. I never had the opportunity earlier in my life and I am absolutely loving it even though it is hard!
    At the moment we are working on learning to recognise aurally and then sing the solfege notes. I have trawled the internet looking for a video to help me do this at home, one that is straightforward practice for real beginners and yours is by far the best. It is really great, thank you very much, exactly what I need.

  • Meghan Nixon

    Reply Reply November 5, 2015

    Hi Lynda! I’m so glad I could help. I use this method with all of my private students and it always helps them improve their ears. Keep up the practice! There are 3 more lessons in this series- be sure to check them out!

  • alla

    Reply Reply February 18, 2016

    Your Website is so helpful. Love it! Will use it in a future.

  • Sheila

    Reply Reply February 19, 2016

    Well my teacher has always gave us test on are solfege and notes i will always fail but when my choir teacher had told me about it and i had told her that i will look into it so i can pass everytime we do it then i had started doing it alot then my grade was going up so fast my choir teacher was so impressed so i thank this website

  • thanks for sharing the informatio

  • Fernando Vargas

    Reply Reply August 25, 2017

    I have been singing for 40 years. This site is sooo helpful for beginners as well as intermediate singers.

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