Beginning Vocal Music Syllabus


Instructor:  Jimmy D. Price, M.A.Ed.
School Phone:  (910) 653-4073  Extension 37116
Remind Messaging System:  Text @vocalmus1 to 81010

Course Description

The study of vocal music is cumulative and sequential to include learning from previous levels. Students who have not received a previous instruction in vocal/choral music will be enrolled in the Beginning level standards.  A performance-based class, concerts and performances are an important aspect of music study; additionally, the daily processes of critical thinking and developing students’ musical abilities are vital.  Students will perform music at difficulty levels I-III in at least three (3) parts with and without accompaniment in concerts and possibly festivals.  

Course Objectives

While in choral music, students will be engaged in a great deal of learning experiences, many of which are above and beyond singing:
  • Learn, memorize and perform a variety of choral styles appropriate to developmental abilities (standards, sacred, popular, classical, etc.);
  • Perform rhythmic, melodic and harmonic patterns via sight-singing and performance literature;
  • Apply musical elements and theoretical components to all choral literature and repertoire;
  • Perform in a variety of concert settings;
  • Create a positive learning environment by working as a learning team towards a common goal of musical and creative excellence;
  • Through listening and viewing, experience choral performances to develop and enhance listening skills;
  • Develop skills in critical evaluation of choral performances;
  • Develop basic vocal/choral technique skills including but not limited to:  appropriate singing posture, proper diction, breath support, choral tone and resonance, among others;
  • Develop knowledge pertaining to the physiological/anatomical foundations of proper vocal technique;
  • Develop basic performance/concert etiquette skills.


  • Three-Ring Binder (Size:  1” or 1½”)
  • Tab Dividers (No more than 5)
  • Loose-Leaf Paper
  • Pencils/Erasers (Pens are not allowed!!)
  • Highlighters (Multiple Colors)

Course Fees

Course Fee: $20.00   In a time of budget constraints, it is essential that students pay their fees in a timely manner.  All fees accumulate and must be paid prior to graduation; it is much less of a financial burden to pay fees each semester.  The choral music department relies on course fees in order to purchase music and classroom materials in order to provide the best possible education to each student; therefore, please endeavor to pay fees by the second week of class.

Grading/Evaluation Policies

The nature of the choral program is unique; however, many similarities with other classes will be present.  First and foremost, studying music is AN ACADEMIC ENDEAVOR.  Just as a student has to put forth effort in social studies or math, music will require them to put forth similar effort in order to be successful.  Please understand that choral music is NOT an easy class, in which students will simply sing popular music with no academic standards or rigor. Quite the contrary, many students find that studying music is very enjoyable, yet rigorous.  In actuality, many mathematical and language concepts will be incorporated into class assignments, such as writing and pattern recognition.  Grades are representative of individual students’ effort and mastery of content.  Students will be required to bring all materials daily (refer to Materials/Supplies section), as well as participate in classroom/rehearsal activities, whether individual, small group, or whole group.  Formally, grading/evaluation in choral music are based upon the following criteria:
  • Ensemble Performance:  Ensemble Blend and Balance, Technical Accuracy, Intonation, Stylistic Interpretation, Effort and Attitude.
  • Individual Performance:  Vocal Technique, Musicianship and Accuracy of Musical Elements, Effort and Attitude, Written Assignments and Tests.
  • Public Performance:  Any Performance for an audience of any size, at any level.
6-Week Grading Period Grade Categories
  • 25% Daily Classwork & Participation; Daily Rehearsals & Sectionals; Written Assignments
  • 75% Weekly Vocal Tests; Quizzes; Tests; All Performances--Rehearsals and Concerts

Final Course Grade Categories
  • 25% 1st 6-Weeks Final Grade
  • 25% 2nd 6-Weeks Final Grade
  • 25% 3rd 6-Weeks Final Grade
  • 25% Final Exam
Please Note: All grades are calculated strictly utilizing the Columbus County Schools grading policy.

Classroom/Rehearsal Discipline Policy

PHILOSOPHY AND RATIONALE: Discipline is vital to any circumstances in which human beings are participants; not merely at school, but also in the workplace, in the community, at church, and any other setting, individuals must conduct themselves in an appropriate manner as to maintain order.  Students, as well, are to maintain self-discipline while at school.  Classroom rules are kept to a bare minimum, as students at the high school level are well-aware of behavior expectations, as well as what is deemed appropriate and inappropriate.  Above all, students must exhibit an appropriate level of respect and respectability; they must display respect to others, as well as conduct themselves in ways that will allow others to return the same level of respect to them.  Unruly students will NOT be tolerated, as it is a blatant disruption to the learning process for others in the class; these students will be dealt with according to their offense.  The teacher will never disrespect students; discipline will be afforded, but under no circumstances will humiliation, bullying, intimidation tactics, or any similar means be employed in the choral program, by students nor teacher.  At all costs and in every situation, the dignity of each human being (children and adults) will be upheld; this is a non-negotiable.  Students will be explicitly instructed in the proper procedures of conduct while in the choral music classroom, as well as while engaged in any program-sponsored activity.  If a student makes the unfortunate decision to disrespect themselves, other students, and/or the teacher, they will be disciplined accordingly.  The school handbook will be followed, and proper disciplinary action will be administered as deemed necessary by the teacher and/or school-level administration.  

CLASSROOM DISCIPLINE PROCEDURES: Each student receives a total of four (4) points per day earned toward their ACADEMIC GRADE--two (2) for listening and two (2) for participation. Each student maintains their point levels if they do the following:

  • listen quietly and attentively while the teacher is giving direction or providing classroom instruction;
  • actively participate in ALL activities  (Please refer to the Active Participation Policy).

At the end of each week, each student's point balance is used to calculate their weekly classroom participation grade, which represents 25% of their course grade.

If unacceptable student behavior arises, the following policy will be applied. 

  • The student will be deducted one (1) point for the first minor offense; 
  • The student will be deducted an additional point for the second minor offense, as well as a student-teacher conference immediately after class period has ended.
  • If minor offenses persist, the student will be referred to administration, following school-level discipline procedures.
  • Please Note:  For serious offenses, the student will be referred directly to administration, following school-level discipline procedures. 

Active Participation Policy

Showing up and actively participating are two very different things. Student grades are representative of their active participation in the ensemble. The following guidelines govern the variances between the active and passive behaviors in the choral music classroom:
  • Have a positive mental attitude.
  • Concentrate and work on the the task at hand.
  • Give a positive effort during EVERY activity/rehearsal.
  • Have all materials (i.e., music, pencil, etc.) at the beginning of every rehearsal.
  • Employ correct posture and breath support during singing.
  • Refrain from food, drink (except water), candy, and gum in the classroom and during rehearsals.
  • Ensure the voice is in good working condition. In the event, the students is have vocal issues, they should notify the teacher, immediately upon entering the classroom. The singer will only be excused from actual singing if this has taken place. An alternate assignment will be provided in written form, summarizing and/or critiquing the rehearsal.
  • Maintain total musical and personal responsibility within the ensemble.
  • Refrain from tobacco products, as there is a ZERO TOLERANCE POLICY on campus. Any student in possession or using tobacco products will be referred to school administration immediately.

Attendance Policy

As the nature of choral music in performance, many of the activities in class are participatory and performance-based. Therefore, it is extremely difficult for students to make-up work that is missed, as it is performance-based. At times, it will be required that students complete make-up assignments that require performance-based activities; however, these are determined by the classwork missed on the day of absence. Students must sign in on the posted class roster immediately upon entering the classroom, daily; each student will note the actual time they entered the classroom. This documentation is utilized to input daily attendance into PowerSchool, which becomes the official record of student attendance.

Please Note: Any student who is absent more that ten (10) days during the academic semester will automatically receive a failing final course grade for the semester.

Tardy Policy

Any student entering the classroom after the tardy bell shall be marked tardy. The following policy will apply:
  • Tardy 1: Initial Warning
  • Tardy 2: Final Warning
  • Tardy 3: 1 Day of ISS (In-School Suspension)
  • Tardy 4: 2 Days of ISS
  • Tardy 5: 3 Days of ISS
  • Tardy 6+: Disciplinary Referral to School Administration
This policy will stand in all circumstances; please do not ask otherwise.

Bring Your Own Technology (BYOT) Policy

Students have the opportunity to bring devices such as cell phones, tablets, Chromebooks, laptops, etc. into the classroom. When utilized properly, these technological devices enhance the educational experience and promote 21st century learning. However, the following guidelines govern use of these in the classroom setting:
  • It is a privilege, not a right to use privately owned technology in the classroom setting. Therefore, it the sole right of the teacher to revoke that privilege in their individual classroom, if and when the technology is being employed inappropriately. Examples include, but are not limited to the following: texting during class, Internet use during imappropriate times, video recording at ANY TIME ofther than when given explicit permission to do so with WRITTEN APPROVAL, and for SPECIFIC INSTRUCTIONAL PURPOSES. Please be reminded that with freedom comes much responsibility and once violated, consequences will match the offense.
  • Students are not allowed to make or receive phone calls during class, for any reason.
  • Violation of the BYOT Policy in any way will result in any combination of the following consequences: In-School Suspension (ISS), Confiscation of Technology Device(s); Temporary Loss of Privileges; Out-of-School Suspension (OSS); Permanent Loss of Privileges.

Performance/Concert Policy

The choral music program, being performance-based in nature, mandates participation in regular school and public performances. We spend weeks and months diligently working toward these public performances.  All in-class goals are directed toward these performances. Think of the performance/concert as the EOG/EOC that covers everything the student has learned; it is the culmination of their musical studies.  Not participating in a performance is akin to not showing up for an exam or an EOG/EOC. If you have a schedule conflict, you must communicate this with the teacher well in advance of the scheduled event. In the event a student does not attend a scheduled performance; the following policy will be fully enforced:
Attendance and full, active participation is the expectation for all students in the choral music program. Any student absent from any required performance will be assigned an authentic, individual project that will require the amount of time and effort equivalent to that of attending and fully participating in the required performance/concert.  This assignment will be made available, and students will have five (5) instructional days from the instructional date immediately following the performance date to submit the final product.  After this date, no submissions will be accepted, and students will receive a grade accordingly. This policy will be in force for the duration of the academic year; no exceptions will be made.

Performance Calendar

Multiple performances will be conducted by the choral music program throughout the duration of the academic semester.  **Please refer to the performance calendar page, located on the blog, for a listing of all required dates for the academic semester.  

Dress/Attire Requirements

Students will be required to dress in the appropriate attire for performances. For beginning choral music students, some of these items may already be owned. Students are not required to purchase these items through the choral music department; only the required chorus t-shirt will be purchased. The attire requirements are as follow:

Black, formal concert dresses are required to be worn on stage for formal concerts. This can be any solid black dress, as long as it is at least knee-length and fully covers the upper body, with no spaghetti straps and/or cleavage visible. Solid black, flat dress shoes are to be worn, as well; NO high heels on stage, as these are a hazard while on the risers.

Solid black trousers/pants (NO BLACK JEANS WHATSOEVER); white button-down shirt; solid black socks and belt. Solid black dress shoes are to be worn, as well. NO black athletic shoes; these must be dress shoes. Please do not ask otherwise.