All of the Arts are about communication and making connections between other human beings. For this to effectively take place, participation is required. Middle and High School students in my class will be expected to perform literature that is appropriate to the group, by learning any music theory needed to effectively perform that literature. They will also be responsible for any personal or school equipment used.
Performance standards will be high, yet appropriate developmentally for the group. The literature will be chosen by several different criteria. It will be developmentally appropriate and an opportunity for curricular and theory lessons. The literature will also provide opportunities to teach about history and culture.
Performances outside of the classroom will be mandatory. Depending on the group performing and the policy of the school, these might include in-school concerts, after school concerts, or concerts at different locations.
Everyone in the class makes a commitment. They commit to the music, the ensemble, and the individual. They will commit to the music, being open to new kinds of music, to learn about other cultures through music, and to find it's meaning. They will commit to the ensemble, to contribute equally, use excellent participation each day, have faithful attendance, and think of others in the group very highly. Being committed to the ensemble also means rehearsing and performing your best at every opportunity. Finally, students commit to the individual, to be their best and to help others be their best, to know that they are focused on improving their skills each day, and to keep their goals high and work hard to reach them.
The classroom one rule is "Do What You Know Is Right" (DWYKIR). By secondary school, students know the basic rules of conduct in any classroom. They should not need to be spelled out additionally in the music classroom. Students who are not "DWYKIR-ing" will be given a warning, then a warning with some kind of intervention (ex. Changing of seating arrangement), and if they choose to keep doing what they know is not right, they will receive an after school detention or whatever consequence is deemed appropriate with the school's disciplinary system.