Lesson 1: Learning “O Sole Mio”

Aim: What makes a healthy classical singing style?
Summary: Students learn to sing in a legato style on “O Sole Mio.”
Materials: Musical Explorers CD or online audio, Musical Explorers Student Guide
Time Required: 30 minutes (one 20-minute activity, one 10-minute activity)
Standards: US 1, 2, 3.1, 3.2, 4.1, 4.2, 4.3, 6, 7.2, 9, 10, 11; GA 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 8; SC 1, 3, 4, 5, 6
Vocabulary: legato, staccato

Meet Rebecca

  • Meet Rebecca on SG25.

Warm up your voices

Healthy singing is part of a good technique for a classical singer. Prepare your students to sing well in “O Sole Mio” by focusing on using their head voice, emphasizing good posture, and breathing from the abdomen. ↓ Download illustrated warm-up guide

Sing “O Sole Mio”

  • Listen to “O Sole Mio,” Track 20.
  • Ask students whether they think the song is mostly smooth (legato) or choppy (staccato).
  • Practice the words alone in the Neopolitan dialect with the pronunciation from Track 22. Emphasize saying the words smoothly and in a connected way.
  • Sing along with the chorus of “O Sole Mio,” Track 21. It may be easier for your students to sing an octave lower than Rebecca.

    • How can we make our voices more legato?
  • Guide students toward the following answers: connect the vowels together, breathe deeply in order to take fewer breaths, and sing continuously without stopping.
  • Practice singing the chorus legato.

O Sole Mio

Che bella cosa na jurnata ‘e sole,
n’aria serena doppo na tempesta!
Pe’ ll’aria fresca pare già na festa…
Che bella cosa na jurnata ‘e sole.

Ma n’atu sole cchiu’ bello, ohi ne’
‘O sole mio sta ‘nfronte a te!
‘O sole, ‘o sole mio
sta ‘nfronte a te,
sta ‘nfronte a te!

Quanno fa notte e ‘o sole se ne scenne,
me vene quase ‘na malincunia;
sotto ‘a fenesta toia restarria
quanno fa notte e ‘o sole se ne scenne.


A sunny day is a wonderful thing,
The calm air after a thunderstorm,
A party is happening in the fresh air…
A sunny day is a wonderful thing.

But there’s another, still brighter sun
It’s my own sun that shines on your face!
The sun, my own sun
It shines on your face,
It shines on your face!

When night comes and the sun has gone down,
I start feeling blue;
I’d stay below your window
When night comes and the sun has gone down.


Although it is considered one of the most famous Italian songs, “O Sole Mio” is actually sung in a Neapolitan dialect originating from the city of Naples, Italy. It says that the sun brings delight and joy, but the joy of the beloved’s face is even more warming than the sun.

Where can I go to hear classical music?

  • There are many places we can go to hear classical music in the Lowcountry.
  • Brainstorm places you might go to listen to classical music in the Lowcountry.

    • Where do we hear classical music? (theatres, places of worship, stages, radio, television)
    • How is this different from other forms of music we have been studying? (People dress up, go in the evening, don’t clap along, etc.)
  • Use the pictures on SG26 to discuss the places to hear and learn about classical music.
  • Listen to different kinds of classical music at Musical Explorers Additional Resources.

Classical singing as a technique was developed to carry unamplified voices in large concert venues before the invention of amplification. Using breath pressure targeted toward the hard bones in the skull and chest, singers are able to capitalize on natural resonances in the human body to amplify the sound. It takes years of training to accomplish this without damaging the delicate vocal folds in the throat. Opera is still mostly performed without amplification today, except in outdoor concert venues.

Musical Word Wall

Add the words legato and staccato to the Musical Word Wall.

PDF Downloads

SG25 ↓ Download File
SG26 ↓ Download File