Brand new manuscript book

A unique manuscript book designed with Kodály in mind. Suitable for instrumental and musicianship students, the 25 leaf book alternates blank pages with manuscript pages. This enables solfége students to write stick notation, pulse and pitch pictures and more on the left hand page and then transfer to the stave on the right.

Ideal for use with DoReMi Piano Book 2 and beyond as musicianship skills are developed alongside practical performance.

Wire bound, A5 portrait, 6 large staves per manuscript page.

Only £2.50 Buy it now!

DoReMi Manuscript Front Cover

Here Sits A Mousie

One of my students asked me the other day which of the songs from DoReMi Piano is my favourite. I didn’t have to think very long. My favourite song is the one that can come out time and time again. My students never get bored of playing it and it can cover a number of learning objectives.

The song is Here Sits A Mousie.

First found in Sing and Play, on the surface it is a simple “la“, “so“, “mi” song. It is the first one that is printed with the stems already in place, as by now most of my students are confident enough with the rhythm not to need the extra task of drawing them on each piece. It is also the first song that changes pitch within a quaver pair and the first song since Balance Balance that has the same pitch for more than one beat. So plenty to challenge a student and plenty of reason to encourage good preparation with a great game.

My idea for this game came from a sadness about this poor little mousie. I must have been having an emotional day! The lyrics are: Here sits a mousie, in his little housie. No-one comes to see him. Poor little mousie. Poor little mousie indeed. No-one comes to see him? That’s just too sad. I can’t leave it at that! So I devised an extension to the song where lots of his friends do come to see him.

Here Sits A Mousie

I have a soft mouse toy to play the part of the mousie. I select two or more other toys as the mouse’s friends and give them each a rhythm flash card. I use at least the two rhythms from the song. I bounce each toy to the rhythm on their card and ask the student to do the same until they are confident they know the rhythms. Then we sing the Mousie song, the mouse bounces in time with the pulse, and at the end of the song I knock or clap one of the rhythms. This is the toy knocking on Mousie’s door. The student then chooses the correct visitor. You could leave the rhythm flash cards visible, or put them away. An alternative start to this game is to demonstrate each rhythm without the cards and the student must select the correct card.

As always, next we swap roles. The student sings the song and knocks the rhythm and I have to select the correct friend. You can expand this game by using more and more friends. You can use known rhythms or use those from a new song you want to prepare. You could even create a doorbell melody to cover pitch as well as rhythm.

The students will play this all lesson if you let them!

What’s in DoReMi Piano Book 1?

DoReMi Piano Book 1 covers

  • Posture and hand position
  • Two and three line staves moving to five line staves
  • Black keys leading optionally to white keys
  • Solfa singing names do, mi, so and la as hand signs and on the stave
  • Pulse
  • Rhythm names ta and titi (crotchets and quavers or quarter notes and eighth notes)
  • Stick notation leading to stems on the score, including stem direction
  • Ta rests (crotchet rests or quarter note rests)
  • Dynamic markings forte, piano, mezzo-forte and mezzo-piano
  • Time signatures 2/4 and 4/4
  • Ledger lines
  • Accents
  • Repeat sign
  • Use of both hands with single fingers (starting with middle finger) and moving onto using the index finger
  • Two note slurs
  • Improvisation
  • Sight Reading

DoReMi Piano Book 2, coming soon, continues from this point introducing the Grand Staff and absolute letter names.

Jolly Music

If you would like some further resources to help you use the Kodály Approach with your students then I can highly recommend Jolly Music Handbook for Beginners by Cyrilla Rowsell and David Vinden

This book is a comprehensive classroom scheme for Early Years and KS1 classes to teach singing and musicianship using the Kodály Approach. I’ve also used it to good effect with pre-schoolers and on a one to one basis with my piano students. It was an invaluable resource while I was developing DoReMi Piano.

Many of the songs in this book are also contained in “Songs for Singing & Musicianship Training” by David Vinden and Yuko Vinden. This is an excellent reference book for the Kodály Approach and solfa, and has lots of songs in it slowly increasing in complexity. However with Jolly Music the songs have been made into a full scheme of work with detailed lesson plans and audio CDs. You can also buy a Big Book to go with it. I love it and so do my children.

If you’re new to the Kodály Approach and want to learn yourself then it’s not the best resource since each book only covers a small amount of content. However it’s great for identifying creative ways to be repetitive with the skills and information. You could use it without a deeper understanding, or gain your personal understanding elsewhere and then use it to help your teaching.

Have you used Jolly Music? Or perhaps another Early Years scheme. Why not share thoughts below?

The Kodály Approach

All of the activities in DoReMi Piano are beneficial to students of any instrument. They are based on the Kodály Approach, used internationally to teach musicianship to pre-instrumentalists. In the United Kingdom, where Kodály is not commonly used in primary schools, many instrumental teachers use the approach with their students.

If you would like to learn more about this approach to music education then I would advise contacting the British Kodály Academy. They run excellent courses for musicians and music teachers. See their website at http://kodaly.org.uk

Brand New Piano Method

Welcome to the brand new website for the brand new piano method DoReMi Piano by Helen Russell.

DoReMi Piano is a collection of songs, plus some original compositions, newly arranged by Helen Russell for the young beginner pianist.

A Kodály Approach enthusiast, Helen has published the approach she has found to be so successful in her piano studio. Prior training in Kodály is not required, as there is a comprehensive teacher guide available.