You are on page 1of 10

CONCERT CHOIR

Mrs. Nichole Thompson

ni394377@arbor.edu

Fall 2015-Spring 2016


Introduction
Choir is a collection of people coming together to sing a work of music. Choir is an
example of how people can accomplish the grandest of aspirations when they work
together towards one goal. Our goal in this class is to advance our musical knowledge and
to produce beautiful music. We will do this by positively engaging ourselves in the learning
opportunities here in class. This syllabus outlines what you need to know for choir this year.
Within it, there are our guidelines, procedures, discipline and grading policies, and
explanations of some fun aspects of this choir class.

The Nature of Choir


This choir will learn about choral literature of many historic periods and styles. We will
perform each period or style as accurately and expressively as possible. Choir members are
expected to adapt to the varying vocal practices for each style of music, so the stylistic
differences become evident in performance. We will do all of this as positively and
professionally as possible.

Class Attendance
Attendance to class is essential for a choir to learn the material as effectively as
possible. The whole of a choir is equal to the sum of its parts. If there are students who are
not in attendance and therefore, not putting forth the effort, the quality of the whole choir
will suffer. Attendance will be taken each class by reference to the seating chart. Students
are to be in their seats before the bell rings to ensure that they will not be marked absent. To
be marked absent, unless it is an excused absence (meaning with good documented
reason), is to forfeit that students participation grade for that day. In-class participation is
worth 30% of a students final grade. Students who know they are to be absent ahead of
time should work to make up the assignments beforehand. Students with illnesses that keep
them out of class for extended periods of time may be able to make up the in-class
participation under individualized circumstances.

Missed Work
Students who are absent are expected to make up the work they have missed. The
day they return to class the student is expected to look in the Absent/Missed Work binder
at the Student Table in the back of the room. There will be a description of what was
taught, what examples were given in the class, what the homework assignment was, and
the date it was given. Students are expected to turn in make-up assignments three class
periods after the absent student has received the assignment or earlier if the student is able.
There will be a chart of dates that explains what day the student is to turn their assignment
based on the date the absent student receives the assignment. It is recommended that
students turn in their work as soon as possible so they can easily keep up with the work from
the rest of the class. Students with extended absences may be allowed only to take on a
few make-up assignments at a time to ensure that enough time is given for the student to
complete quality work.
In the missed work binder, for each day there will be descriptions of what was done.
If there was an in-class quiz on the day the student was absent, the student must make it up.
To do this the student must fill out a line on the Quiz/Test Make-up Schedule in the Missed
Work binder. Students are requested that they make-up tests upon returning to school as
soon as possible. If a student knows they will be absent from a test day, the student should
try to arrange to take the test early.

Concert Attire
Concert attire will be provided for the students by the school except for the following
items: shoes, hair accessories, undershirts, socks or stockings. Shoes are expected to be
black, closed toe dress shoes (not black tennis shoes). Men and women are expected to
keep their hair out of their faces with necessary hair accessories. Hair accessories should be
hardly noticeable and in the shade of black or a very dark color to match the rest of the
attire. Men should wear a white undershirt under their attire and black socks with their black
dress shoes. If women decide to wear nylons, stockings, or the like, they should be flesh
colored. Leggings and long underwear are acceptable to wear under attire as long as they
are either flesh colored or black and they do not easily become visible when the student is
moving. Jewelry is not allowed except for stud earrings or gauges that only fill the hole of
the piercing. These earrings or gauges should not be a bright color or be distracting from
the rest of the attire. Fingernails need to be unpolished or have only a clear coat polish on
them.

Folders
At the beginning of the year, each student will receive a folder of current music.
Both folder and music will display an assigned number. It is the students responsibility to
have his or her folder and music at each class. A folder cabinet will be placed at the back
of the room for students to place their choir folder with their music in the correct slot.
Students are allowed to take their folders home with the knowledge that each student is
responsible for the folder and music and if any damage is done to the folder or music the
student is responsible for paying to replace it. Music should remain in the folder labeled with
the number corresponding to the musics number to ensure that it will not be misplaced.
You are expected to have at least two pencils with you in class and to keep them in your
folder. You are strongly urged to mark your music in pencil (NO pen/marker) to remind you
of problem spots or interpretational decisions. It is VERY important that markings be made
because you will not be able to remember everything between rehearsals. Markings do not
have to be made only when the teacher suggests it; markings can be made whenever a
student knows that he or she will have trouble remembering something, even if the rest of
the class does not have the same trouble. This is a form of taking initiative in your learning.
Please do this!

Classroom Procedures

Enter and leave the room in an orderly fashion.


When the bell rings, students should already be in their assigned seats.
o This means that students will walk into the classroom one at a time a few
minutes before the bell rings. They will grab their choir folder (or have it with
them if they had brought it home after the last class), place any large
belongings such as backpacks at the back of the room against the middle of
the wall, and be seated in their seats by the time the bell rings for class to
start. Students must give their attention to the teacher at the start of the class.
Students are responsible for being ready at the start of class so that
attendance can be taken and the lesson can begin promptly. Infraction of
this guideline is a disruption to the learning process so arriving to class late
should be avoided.
Students should place their belongings back under their chair each time they get
something out of their bags.
Each student should bring two pencils to class in case one breaks or somebody else
forgets theirs.
To turn in papers during class, the papers will be passed from the right side of the
room to the left side of the room. The students at the end of their row will get up and
turn in their rows papers to the turn-in basket on the teachers desk. This means that

only four students should be up at this time. After the students turn in their papers
they are to return to their seats.
In an emergency follow the appropriate plans posted near the exits on the wall in
the classroom.
When you have a question about the content, raise your hand or quietly ask your
neighbor if you think the question will be quick and not be beneficial to ask to the
whole class.
Bathroom procedures:
o When you need to use the bathroom, silently raise your hand with your index
and middle finger crossed. Wait to be acknowledged with eye contact and
a nod from the teacher. Then grab a bathroom lanyard off the wall near the
door. You have 10 minutes from the time you leave the classroom till the time
you return. Depending on the size of the class, only one person may use the
bathroom at one time.
When the teacher is at the music stand, podium or the piano, the students should be
silent and ready to listen.
Only pack up materials when the end-of-class bell rings or when instructed to do so
by the teacher.
Students are expected to make up quizzes and tests ahead of time if they know they
will be absent on a test day.
If you were absent the previous class, go to the Absent/Missed Work binder at the
back table and pick out the sheet labeled with the date you missed. Also if you
missed an in-class quiz, fill out the Make-up quiz/test Schedule to let the teacher
know when you plan on making up the quiz.

Classroom Guidelines
I will expect that all of my students follow the guidelines set in place for this year.
Breaking any of these guidelines will result in the action of the below discipline policy.
These guidelines are set in place so that we, as a class, can learn in a safe, productive
environment both physically and socially:
Students will be expected to:
1. Be on time for class.
2. Refrain from talking to their neighbors unless when asking a question about the material
or when being designated into groups for discussion.
3. Respect one another and one anothers belongings.
4. Use all class materials (such as books, music, chairs, etc.) only for their intended use and
to keep them in good condition.
4

5. Always participate in class activities.


6. No food or gum chewing will be allowed during class. Water bottles are permitted and
encouraged.

Discipline Policy
If any student does not follow these guidelines, the discipline policy below will be put
into effect. The teacher will also follow the discipline policy established by the school in the
classroom. The teacher has the right to skip any of these steps in order to administer
discipline appropriate to the offense.
First Offense: Verbal Warning
Second Offense: Verbal Warning along with a lunch detention where the teacher and
student put together a plan of action (Behavior Plan) to help the student
follow the guidelines.
Third Offense: Automatic after-school detention.
Fourth Offense: Removal from the classroom to the principals office.
Fifth Offense: In-School Suspension

Further Explanation of Guidelines


1. Be on time for class.
The exceptions to this tardiness rule require a note from one of the following people: a staff
member, a doctors note, or a parent/guardian of the student(s) provided that they have a
valid excuse. Valid excuses are those such as a meeting with another one of the students
teachers, a doctors visit, or a family emergency respectively. Exceptions will not be made
for those students who arrive late to class because of a lack of good time management
skills.

2. Refrain from talking to their neighbors unless when asking a question about the material
or when being designated into groups for discussion.
Class time is to be used solely for the purpose for learningnot to chat with neighbors about
topics unrelated to the lesson. Students may chat in the classroom at their seats before the
start-of-class bell rings and also during lunch periods. When going over music it is
appropriate for students to occasionally ask quick questions to each other to make sure
5

that they are on the right page, for example. Students are also allowed to ask questions to
the teacher about the music by raising their hand if they think it will benefit the learning
process. However, it is the students responsibility to listen to the instructions the teacher
gives so that questions regarding what the class is currently working on can be reduced as
they should have been heard the first time. This means that students must keep the amount
of talking to a reasonably low level at all times. Asking appropriate questions about the
music is welcome and the discipline policy will not be put into effect for these questions, but
for talking that is off-topic, the discipline policy will be put into effect. If students have an offtopic question they may ask the teacher before or after class. Just as with guideline number
one, the students get a fresh start at the start of each semester allowing the offenses not to
pile up throughout the entire year.

3. Respect one another and one anothers belongings.


Students should treat one another with respect and come to class ready to be a positive
influence on one another. Students treating one another with respect means being truthful
but kind, empathetic, and understanding towards each other. It does not mean that each
student needs to do something to gain respect from one another, or that one can speak his
or her mind unfiltered without repercussion. The discipline policy will be put into effect for
students who say cruel things even if they claim that they are merely speaking their mind
and that their opinion should be respected. Note: To say the words no offense preceding
or following a snide comment does not make the comment respectful. Bullying is taken
very seriously in the classroom and, depending upon the severity, steps may be skipped
within the discipline policy to react with punishment appropriate to the severity of the
offense. The school has the right to involve authorities when necessary.
A student can handle a classmates belongings only when the student has permission to do
so from said classmate. Note on choir folders: Choir folders are the property of the school
even though students each have a choir folder assigned to them. It is with permission by the
teacher that students get to use a choir folder. To damage a choir folder or sheet music is
damaging school property and the student will be held responsible.

4. Use all class materials (such as books, music, chairs, etc.) only for their intended use and
to keep them in good condition.
Just as previously stated about choir folders, any damage done to school property by the
student will be held accountable to the student. Each object should be used for its
intended purpose.

For worn items: Old and worn items can easily fall apart (such as sheet music). When these
things fall apart it is up to the school to replace and the student will not be penalized.
However, students who do not use the item for its intended purpose and destroy it will have
to be responsible for the item no matter how worn it is. The teacher will use sound judgment
and integrity when determining appropriate responses to broken items. Appropriate pencil
markings are allowed to be made within the music (no pen/marker).

5. Always participate in class activities.


Students who are present are always expected to participate in class activities. Students
must be attentive to what is going on in the class even if their particular voice section is not
being worked on. Failure to comply will result in action of the discipline policy. Those who
have special physical and cognitive needs will be allowed to have class activities adapted
to them. Students not participating in class activities may not only have their in-class
participation grade taken away for that day, but the discipline policy may be put into
effect.
Concerts: Concerts are considered a class activity. They are mandatory and a part of the
students final grade. Skipping the concert will result in 15% reduction in grade. If a student is
too ill to perform in the concert, he or she is required to provide the teacher with a note
from the parent or a doctors note. The student will be able to make up the grade for the
concert by singing the repertoire in his or her voice part to the teacher.
In the event that someone is sick and cannot sing during class, he/she may mouth the
words along when the class in singing and audiate the notes. To audiate means to think the
notes in your head so you are still mentally participating. These students who are obviously
participating will not have their participation grade for the day deducted. Students who
physically cannot make an effort to participate in class because of illness should be sent to
the office to call home. If a student is about to lose their lunch they may leave the
classroom immediately.
Bathroom Passes: There is a 10 minute time limit to using the bathroom during class. Students
who abuse this rule may lose privileges of using the bathroom during class time. Students are
required to sign out and then back in to class on the sign in/out roster on the wall near the
door. Not signing out and in will result in the loss of bathroom privileges.

6. No food or gum chewing will be allowed during class. Water bottles are permitted and
encouraged.
Your mouth needs to be free and actively involved while singing in class. Singing and
eating at the same time is not only gross to look at, it also pose a choking hazard for the
individual. This will be strictly enforced. Students should finish any meals or snacks before the
bell rings. I understand that some students may have dietary needs that are timedependent such as diabetes or hypoglycemia. If you think this could affect your
participation in class, please bring a note written and signed by your doctor or parent to
verify this deficiency as soon as possible. Students with these deficiencies are asked to eat
before class. If problems are starting to arise, and the student does not have his or her own
food, they will be allowed to pick a snack and a water bottle from my snack stash near my
desk and take a short break to eat it. A deficiency is not an invitation to try to get out of
participation in class or to get a free snack. Students are expected to have integrity in these
sorts of situations. Water bottles are permitted and encouraged in the class. They can be
kept under a students chair. It is highly recommended that you do not share your water
bottle (and germs) with each other.

Grading Policy
30% - In-class Participation
25% - Assignments
30% - Tests/Quizzes
15%- Concert Performance

30% - In-class Participation


Students will receive a check mark in the grade book when they are participating
during class and an X mark when they are not. The only exception is for sick students who
cannot sing. These students will be expected to be cognitively participating by audiating
their part in their heads. As long as they are not disrupting the class and paying attention
they will receive their check mark. This grade will cover 30% of the final grade. If a student is
absent they forfeit their participation grade for that day (meaning they get an X). If a
student is ill for an extended period of time, arrangements may be made so that the
student can still do work that will benefit them for the class and participation grade may be
given to them.

25% - Assignments
The amount of graded assignments may vary so when they are assigned they are
important. Students will be graded upon whether they did the assignment, not whether they
got the answers right or wrong. Homework assignments are used for practice, so students
will not be penalized for still trying to learn the material. Completed assignments will be used
by the teacher and the student to determine if the learning target(s) have been met. If an
assignment is completed incorrectly, the teacher will give it back to the student with
comments in order to help the student succeed in accomplishing the objective. The student
will then redo the assignment. This is considered more practice. The student will receive yet
another grade based upon whether the assignment was done when they turn in their
redone assignment.
25% - Tests/Quizzes
Tests and quizzes will be given every so often. If there is more than one test or quiz
the percentage will be divided equally between them. It is important for the student to
keep up with material so they will be ready for tests and quizzes. Students will be notified
ahead of time if they are going to have a test or quiz and what will be on it. Formative tests
and quizzes will be graded according to whether they are completed or incomplete, while
summative tests and quizzes will be graded on whether the answers are right or wrong.
15% - Concert Performance
Concerts are mandatory and are 15 % of the final grade. Students and parents will
be notified well in advance to the dates of concerts. The teacher will not change the dates
of concerts because of individual family trips. Students who are too sick to perform may sing
the concert repertoire in his or her part to the teacher at a later date but only if a parent or
doctors note has been given to the teacher for the students performance absence.

Grading Scale
A
AB+
B
BC+
C
CD+
D
F

94-100%
90-93%
87-89%
84-86%
80-83%
77-79%
73-76%
70-72%
67-69%
60-66%
0-59%

4.0
3.7
3.3
3.0
2.7
2.3
2.0
1.7
1.3
1.0
0.0

Source: Montgomery, M. How to Calculate Your GPA-Letter Grades And Percentages. (2014). Montgomery Educational
Counseling. Retrieved from http://greatcollegeadvice.com/how-to-calculate-your-gpa-letter-grades-and-percentages/

Heres Where the Fun Starts


You contribute to the amount of fun you have! Students who actively participate get
extra fun opportunities such as extra performance opportunities, the privilege of performing
in festivals the following year, and maybe a choir celebration class (a class has to be doing
very well for this!)
One pre-determined fun element of this class (besides the joy of being a part of a
talented choir) is the opportunity for a student choice piece of music to be sung. Students
will search for a choral arrangement of a song on their own, then write a short report as to
why that piece would be good for the choir to learn and perform. I will choose the most
appropriate piece and the choir will get to sing it at the semester concert. If the students do
not come up with any acceptable selections I will choose how to fill the vacancy. SATB
music is usually a safe bet to choose, but higher or lower level music may be chosen
depending on other factors. Make sure you have a good reason for the music choice (not
just because it is a song you might know, for example). Good reasons could be because it
helps us learn the discipline of good breath control, it could help us learn about a particular
genre, style, or period of music, or it introduces a rhythm we do not encounter often in our
other pieces. The report can be short and sweet, but it needs to be written persuasively.
Please include the name of the piece, the composer, and where I can find the piece
(preferably online). The piece needs to be a choral arrangement. I will let you know in class
when the deadline to turning these in is approaching, however please start looking as soon
as possible if you are interested!

10