Key Signatures and Finding Do

My workshops end tomorrow! I have learned so much! As part of my coursework, I need to know the key signatures in order to transpose a song. My classmate shared with me a mnemonic device that she teaches her students: different words to the song “My Country ‘Tis of Thee.” This song has helped me remember how to find the “do” (for sol-fa) in any key signature (except for F):

When sharps are in the key
The last one will be ti
Down one from do.
Then off to flats we’ll go
Next to the last one’s do
These are the two rules for finding do.

Because I didn’t learn my key signatures (except for C) or the circle of fifths growing up, and because I’ve never been able to keep them fresh in my memory, I seem to have to keep relearning how to figure them out! This song is helpful, and I’m hoping that I can keep using this trick–not just for my first final tomorrow–but also for reading songs and finding do from here on out! Then my understanding can become permanent. Wouldn’t that be nice?!

Not having learned theory as a child motivates me to teach music to children so they can easily access that information, whether or not they become musicians. It’s just great to be able to read a piece of sheet music to sing or play it for fun! Children often can grasp concepts SO easily! I walked in the door from school today, and while my 9-year old was eating dinner, I taught him the five pentatonic scales. He totally got it and could fill in the pattern as I explained it–even before I finished explaining it. SO unfair. But it was a perfect illustration of why it is so worth teaching children music when they are young.