Instruction focuses on vocal/choral technique and musical literacy with an added emphasis on the visual aspects of performance. The curriculum may consist of standard choral literature, pop, jazz, and music from musical theatre, with the goal of overall musical excellence. As time and funds allow, students will have the opportunity to work with guest instructors, conductors, adjudicators, and singers.
Earning an “A”:
60% Daily Class Participation
30% Concert Performances
10% Tests & Written work
Earning a grade in a choir class is different than most other classes, in that the grade is earned mainly by participation rather than homework and tests. It’s also different in that it is a group effort, and one classmate’s contribution, or lack of, affects the success of the whole class. I’ve noticed that students expect to receive an “A” in choir---and with good reason. It should be an easy “A”; however, it is not an automatic “A”. This is a participation and performance based class. Although some points will come from theory, sight-reading, occasional writing assignments and singing quizzes, students will earn most of their points by daily participation and concert performances. Therefore, a student can’t expect to miss class or performances and still get the same grade as those who don’t. Grades will be posted once a month, so that students can know where they stand and do the work to improve their grade, if necessary.
Full credit for daily class means that the student was professionally punctual, and giving 100% focus and energy to choral work during class-time. Unearned points that stem from an excused absence can only be made up through a supervised rehearsal or music theory session with me, and are available by appointment.Full credit for each MHS concert performance means that the student was professionally punctual, dressed for performance, and fully prepared musically. If necessary, excused absences may be made up through a pre-approved typewritten assignment within a reasonable, agreed upon time after the absence for credit. Hopefully, it will become obvious that the easiest way to get an “Easy A” is to earn your points in our
regular scheduled class-times and performances. Makeup work is more complicated and time consuming for everybody.
The calendar of events is given out the first month of school, and your work and family schedules should be arranged to avoid conflicts. As I give calendar updates, you will have 1 week after each is given out to turn in a signed copy from your parent, with any conflicts noted. Then, you have up to 1 week after the performance to get your makeup assignment planned, pre-approved, and the due date scheduled with me. Excused performances are, by definition, pre-excused. (Also, “excused” does not mean that you don’t have to do the makeup work. In rare instances of extreme illness, with a doctor’s note, I will make an exception.)
If you have an emergency, your parent should leave a message on my voicemail by the day of the performance. The excuse must articulate what kind of effort you made to get there. Simply saying there was a conflict is not substantial enough reason for it to be excused. (Ex. “I couldn’t get a ride.”) Then you have the right and responsibility to make up the points with a typewritten, pre-approved assignment.
If you wait until after a performance to bring a written excuse from your parents, you are risking the right to make up the points lost, and you will have already let the choir down.
Please let me know as soon as you are aware of a conflict
so we can do our best to solve it, because…
There are two standard written make-up assignments from which to choose:
Music and Folder:
Each choir member will be assigned a music number. This number will be on each piece of music and on the folder checked out to the student. At the end of the year, each piece of music and the choir folder must be returned in good condition. Students will be charged the replacement cost for any music that is missing or damaged in any way that makes it unusable (this includes doodling and marks that can’t be erased). Likewise, students will be charged $3-12 for the replacement of their folder in the event that it is necessary.
Women will wear black nylons, black dress shoes, and a performance outfit chosen by the group (AC and CC wear robes).
Men will wear black tuxedos (PP), or black dress pants, socks, and shoes with a dress shirt and tie to be decided by the group.
Need a private teacher?
1. Refrain from talking
The first and greatest rule. It also includes whispering during the music.
2. No singing, tapping fingers or feet
The musicians do not need your help, and your neighbors need silence. Learn to
tap your toes quietly inside your shoes– it’s a good exercise to reduce toe fat.
3. Please have nothing in your mouth, besides your teeth and tongue
Gum and candy are not allowed.
4. Do not wear watches with alarms nor jangle jewelry
You may enjoy the sound, but the added percussion is disturbing to everyone
5. Do not open and close your purse nor rip open your velcro wallet
The best plan is to leave purses, etc., back at school or on the locked bus.
6. Do not sigh with boredom
If you are in agony, keep it to yourself. Your neighbor just may be in ecstasy,
which should also be kept under control.
7. Do not applaud between movements
You may think the music is over, but it is not. You don’t want to be the only
8. Do not embarrass your teacher nor your school
Remember that you are representing your school, and you want to be on
your best behavior. There are many eyes looking at you.
9. Do not read nor play with a toy in your pocket
To listen means just that. Use the time to turn on a “video screen” in your mind
and create a story to the music.
10. Do not go to the concert thinking you will hate the music
You may be surprised– millions of people all over the world enjoy classical music,
and if you give yourself a chance, you might, too!
1. Refrain from talking
This is the first and greatest rule. This rule includes whispering to or disciplining your other children.
2. Refrain from unwrapping noisy candy wrappers during the performance
If the composer wanted to include crinkle paper noises to the music, he/she would have written it into the parts.
3. Turn off pagers, cell phones, and watch alarms
While many phones and pagers now have very symphonic-like rings,
they don't always fit into the musical score, nor do they provide pleasant
sounds for your neighbors.
4. Do not wave to your child during the concert
After all, they do know who you are already and they know you are there;
you most likely brought them to the concert.
5. Do not take flash photography
You don't want your child to walk off the edge of the stage from flash
blindness, do you?
6. Please do not walk down the center aisle with your video camera
Video cameras work just as well from the back of the auditorium
(besides; the light is usually not good enough for video taping anyway.)
7. Do not leave as soon as your child's portion of the concert is over
All of the students deserve a full audience for their performances.
Remember, the next time your child's song could be last!
8. Applaud at appropriate times
Some music has several sections. Remember, it's not over until all of
the sections have been performed.
9. Do not leave the auditorium during the music
Wait for a break in the concert to visit the restroom, unless you are carrying
a screaming child, in which case you should leave quietly and quickly, PLEASE!
10. Go to the concert expecting the best
You just might be surprised how good your student sounds when the other
students join in!
Choir Room Rules
1. Be prepared (in your seat, with music & pencil) by the bell.
Lose one point for tardy
2. No gum or food. Drinks must be on the shelf, not on the floor.
3. Give focus and energy to singing and learning.
Lose points for less than full participation
4. Don’t disrupt the rehearsal with talking or goofing around.
5. No cell phones (or other distracting things) out without permission.
It will be confiscated.
6. Use your music until we are to the memorized stage in the learning process.
7. Clean up after yourself.
If I have to pick up after you,
it costs 25 cents to get your folder back
8. Take care of your music.
Loss or damage will cost you a music fee for each piece
at the end of the semester/year
9. Appropriate language only.
Pushups/wall-sits will be assigned for inappropriate language.
Thank you to the students who provided these pictures.