Solfège and Syncopation with Teemo the Singing Monkey

by Abby @ Quaver on October 5, 2015

in At Quaver HQ

Today we welcome to the QuaverMusic Blog Tammy Thiele – a fantastic teacher from Irving, TX that enjoys using “Teemo the Singing Monkey” to introduce her students at Jackie Mae Townsell Elementary to solfège and syncopation.

Take it away, Tammy!


At the beginning of every school year, I begin my year by assessing my students’ previous knowledge of music concepts. For my fourth graders, I use one of my favorite Quaver songs, “Teemo the Singing Monkey” to aid in reviewing and engaging the students.

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How I Use “Teemo the Singing Monkey”

1) Vocal warm-up with solfège

As a vocal warm-up, I point to random steps and skips on my solfège hand chart. This helps introduce solfège to new students and reviews those who are already familiar with the syllables.

2) Remove all the instruments

Now I’m ready to introduce the song! I go to ClassPlay in my Quaver teacher account and search for “Teemo” under All Songs or Original Teaching Songs. Then I open the FULL SCORE activity. I remove all instruments by clicking on the colored tabs at the top of the screen, leaving only the pink VOCAL tab highlighted.

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3) Sign the pitches with solfège

With vocals isolated, I use the yellow NEXT arrow in the top right of the screen to go to measures 18-21 and teach the students to read and sign the pitches on D-M-S-L. Once the syllables are learned, we sing the “Oooh’s” while signing the syllables. This engages the students in both reading and signing.

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4) Sing the verses acapella 

Next, I sing the verses acapella, and each time we sing the “Oooh’s” we sign the symbols we learned earlier. Once the students are familiar with the tune, I navigate back to the beginning of the song and click PLAY. We sing the whole song with the track and continue signing the “Oooh’s.”

5) Add Instruments

After singing through the song, I re-activate the N.P. WOODS and N.P. METALS parts by clicking the blue and green tabs at the top of the screen. Then, we begin reading, assigning and playing non-pitched instruments. This song is a wonderful introduction to syncopation, which is used in the non-pitched woods and metals parts.

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6) Improvisation

As students become more comfortable playing their parts within an ensemble, I often join in and improvise on the tubano drums. This lesson creates a wonderful opportunity for my students to both learn and build community in our classroom.


To access “Teemo The Singing Monkey:”

  • Visit and Log In to your Teacher Account
  • Click the Teacher Tab
  • Click ClassPlay on the Teacher Dashboard
  • Search “Teemo” under All Songs or Original Teaching Songs
  • Choose “Teemo” and click LAUNCH

Have you ever tried building a lesson around a ClassPlay score this way? Did Tammy’s method give you any big ideas?

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