Veronica Chavez-Vara

Hello My Name Is...

Ms. Vara


Vocal and General Music Program

My conference schedule is as follows:

A Week:  Monday through Friday from 11:45 a.m. until 12:30 a.m.

B Week:  Wednesday and Friday - same as above - 11:45-12:30 a.m.
            Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays at 3:30 p.m.




Dear Parents/Guardians,

     Welcome to the Richardson Middle School Vocal and General Music Program!  Your student has chosen to be involved in the wonderful world of music and I hope to inspire your student for a lifelong love of music both in my classroom and beyond!  I hope to take this opportunity to introduce myself to you.  I am a professional classical musician and singer and love teaching music to the younger generation.  I hold a Master of Music from Boston University and a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from Arizona State University.  I have been teaching
vocal music for many years from Pre-K through 12th grade as well as private vocal instruction. Our General Music and Vocal Music Calendar is chock full of fun learning and performance opportunities.  Please read through this Syllabus and the attached yearly Calendar and then kindly sign and return the Parent/Student Contract with both a parent/guardian signature as well as a student signature no later than Friday August, 25, 2017 with your student. 




                 Your attendance is requested at a “MEET & GREET”


Time: 3:00 to 3:30 PM

Location: NRMS Choir Room



     All instruction will be formatted from the new (TEKS) Texas Music Curriculum. General and Vocal music classes will have a big push for beginning music literacy, musical cultural awareness, and concert etiquette, as well as the opportunity to perform with our end of semester choir concerts (Holiday/Spring). Concert Choir students will additionally have a big push to continue to rise to the level of Middle School Class CC Concert and Sight-Reading level responsibilities.  In addition, for extra-curricular items, we have the EPISD/UIL All Region Choir Auditions (fall) as well as the Solo-Ensemble competition (spring) for those that are interested and that remain eligible.  Please find the attached yearly Calendar for specific events and dates (subject to minor changes).


In general, all students are required to adhere to all El Paso ISD rules and policies, all Nolan Richardson Middle School rules and policies, and my general music/vocal music policies which are as follows:

Vocal Music/General Music Class Policies (Rules)

Show me you’re S-O-N-G!!!!

S – Stand or sit ready to learn and perform music

O – Open your mouth to sing, or share a question by raising your hand to speak!

N – Never disrupt the learning environment

G - Give it your ALL 

ALL includes the following General Rules in the Vocal/Music Program

  1. Listen attentively – when it is time to listen.
  2. Sing/Perform actively – when it is time to sing/perform.
  3. Be quiet during times when it is your section’s time to rest and another section’s turn to perform.
  4. Class binders with all music and assignments are to be brought to music class daily and taken home daily for study and practice.
  5. All assignments are expected to be turned in on time or late penalties will apply.
  6. Respect and care for the choir room and all its belongings: piano, books, furniture, etc.
  7. Attend all extra rehearsals as assigned.
  8. No chewing gum – it is a choking hazard.
  9. No eating or drinking in the choir room without prior permission.
  10. No playing the piano (or other instruments) without prior permission.
  11.  No venturing into the practice rooms unless assigned to do so.
  12.  No profanity or harsh words of any kind.
  13.  Hands and feet to yourselves at all times.
  14. No cell phones!

Disciplinary Procedures


1.  A student will first be given a verbal warning for breaking any rules or policies. 

2.  If poor student behavior persists beyond the first warning, I will assign students to a self-reflection sheet to be turned in to me with a shared student-teacher discussion.

3.  If the student further violates policies, I will assign one after school day of detention and notify parents/guardians.

4.  If a student further violates rules and policies, I will assign additional days of after school detention, and ask for a parent/teacher conference.

5.  Finally, if a student further violates vocal music rules and policies, I will refer the student to the school administration and request a parent/teacher conference.

6.  At any time, if a student’s behavior is in extreme violation of rules and policies, I shall write an incident report and refer the student to the school administration immediately and contact the parent/guardian that day.  Detention may also be assigned

7.  At any time, if a student’s behavior is in violation of any rules and policies while in attendance at any concert, filed trip, or other scheduled vocal music events, I may pull the student from the performance or event immediately and contact the parent/guardian to pick-up their student (if away from campus).  If such an incident occurs on school property, the student will be pulled from the program and referred back to their regular scheduled class, the school office, or to the parents directly if present.

8. In General, student attendance at concerts and field trips must be EARNED.  I hold a strict policy that if any student maintains a history of violating Vocal or General Music rules, then such student shall not be allowed to attend such events. 




Students will be graded daily for their ensemble work in the classroom (daily coursework) as 50% of their 9 week grade.  Students will also be given one quiz weekly that will account for 25% of their 9 week grade.  Most scheduled performances will count as an additional Quiz grade. In addition, there is a Final (9 Week Exam) at the end of each 9 Week Grading Period that counts as 25% of their 9 week grade.  We will have an end of semester concert for both the Fall and Spring Semesters and these performance will count as part of their end of semester grade/9 week grade.    Performance Assessments are graded according to the amount of music skills performed correctly for the assignment. Written assignments/assessments are graded according to the percentage of written answers correct/incorrect. 10 points per day will be deducted for late assignments and/or up until the end of the 9 Weeks grading period when a ‘0’ will be entered.  Students that are in attendance but are too ill to sing for a singing quiz will be given a temporary ‘0’ until the quiz is made up.  If a quiz is not made up by the end of the 9 week grading period, then the grade of ‘0’ will be permanent. If a student fails a weekly quiz then a student has the opportunity to re-take the quiz for up to a passing grade score of 70 and before the end of the 9 week grading cycle.  Daily Coursework that is ensemble work will be graded for the amount of time each student is performing and practicing diligently as part of the ensemble – not for the amount of mistakes in the practice of music. Lack of singing and performing or constant and disruptive talking during the ensemble time will result in a grade commensurate with the percentage of student work during the allowable time provided.  Therefore, it is possible for a student to receive a daily grade of 0%, 50%, etc., for lack of working in the daily music ensemble but possible for a daily grade of 100% for student contribution of work to the ensemble.  In addition, 20 points per day will be deducted for each day of chewing gum while singing. Also, 20 points will be deducted for each day that a student fails to bring their music, assignments, and choir binder to class.

     In addition, part of the final semester/9 week grade will be required of all Vocal Music and General Music students to attend and perform at the end of semester concerts (Holiday and Spring at NRMS).  Any student not able to attend the final concert will be assigned a 500 word essay in lieu of the final performance or a grade of ‘0’ will be entered.

   Lastly, our performance and scores for the Spring EPISD Choral and Sight-Reading Contest depend on EVERY student in the Choir for a successful concert.  Therefore, attendance in these concerts is MANDATORY for those enrolled in NRMS Vocal Music and optional for General Music Students who would like to join after school practices with the choir. However, a student may not attend EPISD Spring Choral and Sight-Reading Contest if any student fails to learn their music, fails to attend after school rehearsal on a regular basis, fails to follow instruction on a regular basis, or is ineligible by UIL Standards (no pass no play – must be passing all classes with a score of at least ‘70’ for all classes.  Parents will be notified if a student will not be attending.


Please See Attached Vocal Music Calendar - Dates are subject to change.


 Further monthly Vocal and General Music Newsletters will be sent home with students with updates on upcoming concerts, events, fundraisers, rehearsals and their schedules, and any other issues as they may arise.  Students will be required to have a Parent/Guardian signature receipt and to return such signature receipt on all newsletters so as to ensure parent –school- student - contact.  


After School Mandatory Rehearsals

     The current after school rehearsal schedule is in place and will remain so until further notice.  If any student is unable to attend rehearsals on a regular basis, I need to be contacted by a parent on the legitimate reason.  Student’s class grade will not be affected for their inability to attend after school rehearsals.  However, attendance at after schools rehearsals is a serious consideration for any student that wishes to be prepared for EPISD Spring Music Competition as well as any other scheduled yearly concerts other than the two end of semester concerts which are mandatory for all students.  Rehearsals are in the Choir room from 3:00 to 3:30 PM and will begin on Monday August 28, 2017!

Monday: Sopranos

Tuesdays: Altos

Wednesdays: Full Choir Practice

Thursdays: Individual Tutoring

Fridays: Individual Tutoring and After School Detention as Assigned!

Finally, please sign and return the parent/student Contract below, Friday, August 25, 2017. You may detach the Vocal Music School Supply list for your shopping!  I am so thrilled for the vocal music and general music program this year! If you ever have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact me.


Very truly yours,

Veronica Chavez Vara

Director of Vocal Music and General Music

Richardson Middle School


Phone: 915-236-6656




Vocal/General Music School Supply List DUE By Monday, AUGUST 28, 2017

  1. A ½ inch BLACK 3-ring binder
  2. Plastic protector sheets
  3. 5 Tab Divider Set
  4. Some loose leaf paper
  5. Sharpened pencils
  6.  100 Flash Cards
  7.  Zipper pouch for flash cards
  8.  Thin colored PENCILS





Parent/Student Vocal Music and General Music Contract


Nolan Richardson Middle School


I do herein acknowledge and sign that I have received, read, and fully understand the curriculum, grading and policies of the Vocal and General Music program at NRMS.


Student Printed name___________________________________ Grade _______

Student Signature___ _________________________________________________

Parent/Guardian Printed Name_________________________________________

Parent/Guardian Signature_____________________________________________

Parent email address _________________________________________________

Parent contact number ________________________________________________



I am interested in volunteering as a parent/guardian for vocal music activities such as concerts, trips, fundraisers, etc.


_________________                          __________________                 

YES                                                     NO