Solfege- how widely is it used
Date: September 6, 2010
Hello Choral Directors!
My family recently moved from Massachusetts to Texas. I was one of three directors for a decently-sized, non-auditioned choir and in that capacity was exposed to basic solfege (basic scale and intervals). One of my children sang with one of the better know choirs in Boston, where I understand they did not use solfege.
Once we moved to TX, we discovered that in the school systems down here solfege is taught starting in 4th grade- it is part of the state's requirements for chorus. (Up north, my impression was that some teachers used it in elementary school but most did not.) Consequently by middle school, children are fluent in it and my daughter was very much behind. Additionally, while I directed a chorus up north without working knowledge of it, that won't happen down here. Of course, I will work to learn it as will my children.
So this made me wonder- how universal is this? Do most states require that solfege is taught starting in elementary school? For state, national, or international competitions, how often is solfege used in teaching music or correcting pitch problems? Do colleges now require expert knowlege in this?
By the way, I am not doubting the value of it- I'm just surprised that it has caught on so completely down here.
(former director of All Together Now Family Chorus, Littleton, MA)
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