Northwest School of the Art
Middle School Chorus
Mr. Aaron F. Lafreniere, Director

Course Outline and Syllabus – 6th, 7th, & 8th Grade Chorus

  1. Course Overview:
    1. This course is for all Middle School (Grades 6-8) Chorus majors who passed their audition for placement into Northwest School of the Arts. This class meets year-long on an A/B Day calendar.
  2. Course Goals and Objectives:
    1. Vocal technique
      1. Posture, breathing, vowel placement
    2. Part-singing (singing in harmony)
      1. Echo songs, ostinato, descant, partner songs, rounds/canons
    3. Sight-singing
      1. Rhythmic, melodic
    4. Choral ensemble singing
      1. Tone quality, intonation, balance, blend, diction, etc.
  3. Course Materials:
    1. 3-ring pocket pencil pouch
    2. Pencils (mechanical or sharpened)
    3. 12-count pack of erasable colored pencils or erasable colored pens
    4. Loose-leaf paper
    5. Staff paper
    6. 3-ring plastic pocket folder
  4. Curriculum Calendar:
    1. Units:
      1. Rhythm reading (quarter, half, whole, and eighth notes and rests, etc.)
      2. Melodic reading (solfege, key signatures, hand signs, intervals)
      3. Rehearsal skills (posture, singing when asked, silent when director is speaking, not getting out of seat without permission, following instructions, following classroom procedures, etc.)
      4. Choral ensemble skills (tone, intonation, balance, blend, diction, etc.)
      5. Concert etiquette (onstage and offstage behavior expectations)
      6. Repeats (repeat signs, 1st & 2nd endings, dal segno, da capo, coda, fine)
      7. Dynamics (pianissimo-fortissimo, crescendo, decrescendo, etc.)
      8. Tempo (metronome markings, accelerando, ritardando, a tempo, etc.)
      9. Articulations (ties, slurs, accents, staccato, fermata, etc.)
    2. Major Assessments: (teacher-created)
      1. Mid-term Exam
      2. Final Exam
    3. Daily Assignments:
      1. Bellwork questions
        1. Review of content material covered in previous class(es)
      2. Stretches & warm-ups
        1. Warm-up physically and vocally to prepare for rehearsal and learn new musical and vocal concepts
      3. Sight-singing
        1. Rhythmic and melodic exercises to drill musical literacy
      4. Rehearsal
        1. Preparation for concert performance
    4. Homework:
      1. Sheet Music Coloring (6 informal assessments per quarter)
        1. These assignments help students drill their music literacy skills by identifying measure numbers, tempo markings, dynamic markings, repeat signs, articulations, solmization, and rhythm counts.
      2. Sheet Music Projects (2 formal assessments per quarter)
        1. These assignments help students identify key elements to a piece of music including time signature and key signature. These assignments also help them learn what symbols mean in music and to be able to locate and apply those symbols to the music they are performing.
      3. Late work policy is 5 points deducted per day or 10 points deducted per class period.
    5. Class Participation
      1. Students are given participation grades on a weekly basis. For one quarter, the student will have 9 participation grades. Students receive 3 participation points per M/W/F weeks and 2 participation points per T/Th weeks which equates to 1 point per class period. Students can earn their participation grade by following instructions, displaying proper classroom rehearsal skills (posture, singing when asked, etc.), following classroom procedures, etc. Students will lose 1 of these points if they are excessively off task or repeatedly not participating in class activities (talking, sitting idle, doing work for another class, distracting others, not singing, being disrespectful, etc.).
        1. Weekly Choir Participation Rubric
  5. Assessment/Grading Policy:
    1. Informal Assessments = 35%
      1. Participation, homework (sheet music coloring)
    2. Formal Assessments = 65%
      1. Concerts, performances, projects (sheet music worksheets), mid-term exam, final exam
    3. Grading Scale:
      1. 90-100 = A
      2. 80-89 = B
      3. 70-79 = C
      4. 60-69 = D
      5. 0-59 = F
  6. Class Policies:
    1. Attendance:
      1. Attendance in any musical ensemble is crucial to not only the individual student, but the entire group. Elements such as balance, blend, and particular phrasing cannot be addressed when there are musicians missing from the section. If at all possible, please do not miss class!
      2. If you are sick and cannot sing for the day, you must have a note from your doctor or parent excusing you from participating in that day’s rehearsal. No note = required to sing. Refusal to sing without a note could result in a zero for the participation grade and/or ISS for the period.
    2. Promptness:
      1. Students should arrive to class on time with their music binder and classroom materials needed for the day.
      2. Students who are late without a note will be marked unexcused tardy in PowerSchool and will receive necessary consequences due to NWSA school policy.
      3. After entering the classroom, students should drop off their bookbag and report to their assigned seat quietly with their materials and begin working on their Bellwork assignment immediately.
    3. Passes:
      1. If a student needs to leave the classroom, they should grab the appropriate hall pass for their destination (office, restroom, nurse).
      2. Only one student out of the classroom out of the time for each hall pass.
      3. Students are not permitted to leave the classroom during the first 10 minutes or the last 10 minutes of class.
    4. Behavior expectations:
      1. Be in your seat with materials and silent when the director is speaking.
      2. Keep healthy posture when singing
      3. Follow all instructions
      4. Sing when asked
      5. Listen and follow along when you are not singing
      6. Do not get out of your seat without permission
    5. Food/Drink in classroom:
      1. Food, chewing gum, and drink are not permitted in the classroom
      2. Only water (not flavored) is acceptable in the classroom
    6. Dress code/electronic device usage
      1. Students must adhere to the NWSA and CMS dress code policy.
        1. This includes no hats!
      2. Students will place their cell phones in their assigned pocket number.
        1. They may charge their phone.
        2. If cell phone is out at their seat, it will be taken and turned into the office and must be picked up by a parent at the end of the school day.
      3. Students may use Chromebooks during class for instructional or educational purposes when given permission to do so.  
      4. Students must adhere to the CMS Internet Acceptable Use Policy.
  7. Academic Support:
    1. Tutoring:
      1. Tutoring is available Monday afternoons from 4:30-5:30 PM when there are not rehearsals scheduled.
      2. Tutoring can also be arranged for other times (morning or afternoon) as long as the student or parent communicate in advance.
    2. Online Tutorials and Websites:
      1. On homework assignments (sheet music coloring and projects):
      2. On music theory:
      3. On music terminology:

Mr. Aaron F. Lafreniere
Middle School Chorus Director
Northwest School of the Arts
1415 Beatties Ford Road
Charlotte, NC 28216