Veronica Chavez-Vara

Hello My Name Is...

Ms. Chavez  


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.  After many years of performing as a classical soprano, I fell in love with teaching music to the younger generation.  I hold a Master of Music in Music Education 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 Thursday September 1, 2016 with your student. 



                 Your attendance is requested at a “MEET & GREET”


Time: 3:45- 4:30 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 invitation 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 only to sing, perform music, or ask

        A question by raising your hand

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 of any kind

13.   Hands and feet to yourselves at all times

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 one day of after school detention and parents will be contacted.

3.  If the student further violates policies, I will assign additional after school days of detention and request a parent/teacher conference.

4.  If a student further violates rules and policies, I will assign additional days of after school detention, make a student referral to the school counselor and request and additional parent/teacher conference.

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

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.

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 and such events.  



Students will be graded daily for their ensemble work in the classroom (daily coursework) and weekly for their musical work in progress (weekly assessment).  Daily Coursework counts as 50% of their overall 9 Week Grade.  Weekly Assessments count as 40% of their overall 9 Week grade. In addition, there is a Final (9 Week Exam) at the end of each 9 Week Grading Period that counts as 10%.  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 and 10 points per day late will be deducted and/or up until the end of the 9 Weeks grading period when a ‘0’ will be entered.  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 will be deducted for chewing gum while singing. Also, 20 points will be deducted for each day that a student attends class and fails to bring their music assignments and their choir binder.

     In addition, a final semester grade will be required of all vocal music students to attend and perform at the end of semester concerts (Holiday and spring at RMS).  Any student not able to attend the final concert will be assigned a 500 word essay in lieu of the final performance.  General Music students will be encouraged to join the Choir in the end of semester performances to receive their Final Semester Grade or they may opt for a final written exam instead with no penalty for their choice of a final exam.

   Lastly, our performance and scores for the Spring EPISD Choral and Sight-Reading Concert depends on EVERY student in the Choir for a successful concert.  Therefore, attendance in these concerts is MANDATORY for those enrolled in NRMS Vocal Music.  Failure of any student to attend these concerts will result in a Grade of “0” until the student writes a 500 word essay as assigned which is usually due within one week of the missed performance.



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



 Further Vocal Music Newsletters will be sent home with students as concern upcoming concerts and 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

     Please look for upcoming Vocal Music Newsletters that will delineate a specific schedule for section rehearsals (Sopranos, Altos, and possible Baritones), All-Region tutoring, Solo-Ensemble tutoring, Full Choir practice, and any other necessary after-school rehearsals that will begin, hopefully, by the week of September 6, 2016.  In general, rehearsals will be Monday through Friday from 3:00 – 3:30 as assigned unless otherwise noted. 

Finally, please sign and return the parent/student Contract below, by Tuesday August 30, 2016!  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: 915-822-8290







Vocal/General Music School Supply List DUE By Tuesday AUGUST 30, 2016

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


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