Course Description

Conversational Solfege is a music-reading curriculum that grows literacy by developing a deeper understanding of music reading through patterns, traditional folk songs, rhymes and classical music as the primary source material.  CS is intended for music teachers who have completed First Steps in Music and learners who have already demonstrated they can think tunes, move with the beat and respond to the expressive qualities music.  This course will show how to use the teacher’s manual to introduce students to music literacy by an “ear-first” approach, similar to how we all learned language as a child.  Music teachers will learn how utilize John Feierabend’s 12 steps to build student’s conversationally improvised musical ideas into original written compositions.  Significant class time will be spent learning about each of the twelve steps, how to use the teacher’s manual to plan measurable learning units, picking repertoire, practice Techniques to create lesson that intensify musical thinking for every student, and techniques to quickly assess student achievement.   Participants who successfully complete this course will receive an official certificate of completion from the Feierabend Association for Music Education (FAME).

Course Outline

Session I:

  • History and Philosophy of Solfege
  • Overview of the 12 Step Conversational Method
  • Applying the 12 steps to Unit 1 & Unit 2

Session II:

  • Applying the 12 steps to Unit 3 & Unit 4.
  • Walk though Teacher Manual
  • Unit Planning
  • Lesson Planning
  • 3 Dimensions of a Music class

Session III:

  • Overview of Conversational Solfege Level 2 (units 5-13).
  • Applying the 12 steps to Units 5-13.
  • Developing of two-part listening
  • Applying teacher techniques
  • Planning for Success:
  • Questions and Closure

Learner Outcomes

By the end of the course participants will:

  • Have gained an overview and background of the Feierabend approach to music literacy.
  • Be able to identify Feierabend’s 12 steps to grow student’s conversationally improvised musical ideas into original notated compositions.
  • Be able to give examples of appropriate literature and activities for each level of learner for the 12 steps, as applied to literature in a each unit.
  • Know influences to consider when picking age appropriate repertoire and practice techniques for differing aged / ability students.
  • Be able to implement the curriculum using the teacher’s manual to plan measurable learning units.
  • Have learned assessment techniques and strategies: what to assess, when to assess and when to move on.
  • Be able to link the three dimensions of a music program together.


This course can either be taken for credit or clock hours. Credit is available under EDMU 5613.


The First Steps in Music Curriculum
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