The study of music should be made available to ALL students.  As it states in our mission...

"we strive to present a comprehensive music program that challenges students to reach their full potential, become knowledgeable and appreciative musicians, and contribute as positive members of society, while performing at the highest level of musical excellence.  In all of these endeavors, we will strive to embrace the inherent joy of making music together."

  • Everyone will have access to a comprehensive music education.
  • Everyone will be assessed at their current ability level and challenged to demonstrate industrious growth.
  • Everyone will have the opportunity to perform.
  • Everyone will have the opportunity to be apart of an ensemble.


Participation in the Music Program earns the student credit for each academic year he/she participates.  A grade is given quarterly for the ensembles and is based on the criteria listed below. The EMMS music member will be graded primarily on the basis of improvement, participation, and preparedness.  It is conceivable that any member, at any level of proficiency, would be able to attain a grade of “A”, provided the student works hard, is prepared, and shows continual industrious improvement.

Grading categories from the HCPSS Music Grading Standards are weighted as follows:

Mus s1: Creativity & Composition (5%) - Students develop and apply strategies to generate and express a variety of musical ideas.

  • Students will complete composition assignments to further their understanding of music theory and creative processes.

Mus s2: Musicianship (15%) -  Students will demonstrate their performance skills many times throughout the year in performance settings.  These performances are set up to mimic professional settings as closely as possible.   The skills required for a successful performance are as follows:

  • Calendar Management - Students are required to keep a calendar of performance dates.  Students must communicate those dates to family members and do everything they can to make sure that they have no conflicts with the performance date and that they have secured transportation.
  • Professional Attire - Knowledge of and adherence to the EMMS performance uniform is required for all performances.

NOTE:  The HCPSS Middle School Performance Assessment is required of Howard County Music Performance students.  This is a one-time performance opportunity that cannot be made up.  Please plan for this now!  Specific dates for each performing ensemble are included on our Events Calendar.  Exact times and transportation information will be available closer to the event.

Mus s3: Applied Skills & Technical Development (25%) - Students demonstrate individual and ensemble skills and strategies appropriate to music-making.

  • Students will work as individuals, in sections, and as an ensemble to develop the necessary skills to be successful as a musician and as an ensemble.  Individual/section skills will include vocalises (aka "voice builders") that will strengthen and grow the individual voice.   Ensemble skills will focus on techniques and skills used to blend and balance with members of your section, as well as the choir as a whole.  Assessments will occur throughout the year. Students will NEVER be asked to sing alone, but will be asked occasionally in groups of 4 or more.

Mus s4: Procedures & Practices (50%) - Students demonstrate appropriate musical practices in all musical settings, including: rehearsals, performances, and other music experiences.

  • Students are not just learning to perform on their instruments, but they are also learning to conduct themselves in varied musical settings.  This class will put the student in the role of a professional musician.  As such, you will be asked to show your understanding of rehearsal and performance behavior.  Students are observed and assessed not only on their singing but their rehearsal conduct , as well.
    • Participation - Students are expected to participate fully in all rehearsals.  Rehearsal participation includes asking/answering questions, assisting others where appropriate, supporting the efforts of the directors, and remaining emotionally and intellectually involved in what the ensemble is doing.  Students are expected to adhere to any guidelines set forth for proper rehearsal management.

    • Preparedness - Students are expected to attend rehearsals with appropriate materials (sharpened pencil, choir folder, all music).

    • Sectional Attendance - Students must keep an organized calendar of sectional classes and are responsible for attending these scheduled classes.

Mus s5: Reflection (5%) - Students communicate an understanding of concepts and strategies through the evaluation of music.

  • After every performance, it is important to reflect. After all, we cannot grow and develop our skills without understanding where we are and where we need to go! Students will be expected to participate in either written or verbal reflections, highlighting important musical concepts such as pitch, balance, blend, diction, intonation, breathing, alignment, expression, energy and appearance.


HCPSS defines Performing Ensembles as co-curricular classes that require time outside of the scheduled school-day. (HCPSS Policy 8090: Non-School-Hour Curricular Programs).


We DO NOT use Practice Charts (Logs) to track student practice. However, students will be asked to take their folders home every night, and they are encouraged to practice every day for 30 minutes. Each day, we will learn new music and concepts, and the only way to truly improve is to reinforce your learning with at home practice. Just like the rest of your body, your singing voice is made up of muscles that need to be physically strengthened (made stronger) in order to hear improvement. Not only will daily at-home practice allow you to memorize your music faster for our concerts, it will also make you feel confident during rehearsals! It's a win-win situation. 

Now if you will excuse me...  It's time for me to go practice!