Our handbook contains information about our mission and vision as well as expectations for students and families. Registering a student for classes also means that you agree to follow the guidelines in the handbook.
North Georgia Homeschool Band & Choir (NGHBC) is a Christian, non-profit organization founded in 2007 and overseen by a volunteer board of directors. NGHBC is dedicated to offering high quality, music education to homeschool families at an affordable cost. Our classes are open to all homeschooled children, preschool through high school, and their parents.
Our program encourages musical literacy and appreciation. Quality instrumental and choral literature from all styles and periods form the foundation for musical learning.
With an emphasis on making music together in a large group setting, musical understanding and artistic expression will be nurtured in each class and concert.
We are committed to glorifying God and desire to nurture the true joy of music in each child who joins our organization.
Working together to provide a quality, well-rounded music education to homeschooled students and their families in our community
Creating a Community of Musicians that Spans Generations
We are devoted to the process of making quality music, and also strive to make a difference in the lives of young people in our area.
“Sing to Him a new song; play skillfully and shout for joy.”
“Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me.” Mark 9:37a
We are committed to working cooperatively with parents to create the best possible music education experience for homeschooling families.
“Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. They are a garland to grace your head and a chain to adorn your neck.”
We are a Christian organization that operates under Biblical principles and adheres to the golden rule.
“Do to others as you would have them do to you.”
Musical Objectives & Prerequisites
Babies with Buddies, Tuneful Tots, and Mini Musicians (ages 0 - 6)
The main goal of these classes is for children to experience music and LOVE it! With a main emphasis on matching pitch and maintaining the steady beat, students will sing, play, dance, move and make music together. Combining the approaches of Kodály, Dalcroze, and Orff, and implementing the First Steps in Music methodology of John Feierabend, students will be taught the basics of reading notes and playing instruments. The age requirements for these classes is based on age on the first day of class for each semester.
PREPARATORY PROGRAM (ages 7 - 9)
This training program offers the foundations of musicianship and will help prepare students for success in future band and choir classes. Through singing games and basic Kodály principles, this class offers age-appropriate vocal training and an introduction to music reading, as well as experience playing the recorder, ukulele, and strings.
INSTRUMENTAL PROGRAM (ages 10* - High School)
Our instrumental program offers students an opportunity to learn the language of music while gaining proficiency on an instrument of their choice. Students can begin our program with little or no musical training and leave with a solid foundation of music fundamentals. The subject matter covered will include tone production, technique, sight reading, theory, terminology, scales, and ear training. We will then take these tools and learn how to apply them in developing individual musicianship in an artistically expressive way.
Beginner Strings: No prerequisites or experience necessary.
Strings Ensemble: Placement is by audition.
CHORAL PROGRAM (ages 10* - High School)
Our Choral Program offers a learning environment designed to provide a fulfilling and rewarding musical experience for each member. After spending time in our program, we hope members walk away from our organization with a rich love for singing and a deep appreciation for the art of choral music. Additionally, we want young singers to gain solid vocal training, develop music literacy skills, and grow in their understanding of musical concepts. The singers will meet these objectives by performing a wide variety of music from contrasting time periods and varying levels of difficulty.
Treble and Concert Choir students, both current and new, are evaluated at the beginning of the year for placement in the appropriate ensemble (at the discretion of the director).
Prep, Choir, & Strings students should be of class age by August 1st. However, we know that age doesn't always match up with ability, so we've allowed a "Grace Period" (AKA wiggle room) for age cut offs. If a child will turn the required class age by October 1, a parent may choose to enroll the child in that class. But if the child is unable to succeed, either musically or behaviorally, the teacher has the authority to place him in the younger class.
* Preschool students should be of class age by the first day of class for the registered semester.
* Students enrolled in Babies with Buddies must be enrolled jointly with a parent (or other adult) who will attend class and participate with the student. Because the structure of the class requires the participation and attention of the parent, other siblings who are not enrolled in Babies with Buddies may not attend classes.
*A 9-year-old student may enter Beginner Strings and/or Treble Choir based on an audition and provided he has participated in the Prep Program for 2 years. Classroom behavior and attendance while in Prep Class will also be taken into consideration. Additionally, if the child is unable to succeed, either musically or behaviorally, the teacher has the authority to place him in the younger class.
As an organization committed to operating on Christian principles, we expect that our students and families will exhibit basic courtesies such as kindness, honesty, diligence, respect for others both as individuals and at the group level, and respect for property and facilities. Families who do not meet the following expectations may be asked to leave the program without a refund.
All NGHBC families (including children not enrolled and guests) are expected to:
- Support the NGHBC leadership and respect their authority as it relates to decisions affecting NGHBC programs, rehearsals, performances, and related activities.
- Commit to the program for the entire year (with the exception of Foundation Classes which are registered separately in the fall and spring).
- Follow the rules.
- Treat others as you yourself would like to be treated.
- Communicate with respect and offer suggestions in a constructive manner.
- Deal with conflict in a Biblical manner.
- Come properly dressed to NGHBC activities. Clothing is expected to be clean and modest. No short shorts, tank tops, midriff tops, or tight clothing. Underwear should be covered by outer garments. No t-shirts with inappropriate designs. Some classes involve stretching arms up, moving, etc., so students should dress in order to accommodate that comfortably and modestly. Your children may be given appropriate clothes to wear or be dismissed from practice or a performance if not dressed properly. All decisions regarding appropriateness are at the discretion executive director, board, or teacher.
All Parents are expected to:
· Check their email and keep current communication information on record with NGHBC.
· Aid their children in meeting the attendance and practice commitments.
· Honor their financial commitments to NGHBC, recognizing that the commitment for the classes (except Preschool) is for the entire year, even though the treasurer may divide payments as a convenience.
· Support NGHBC through a volunteer position or pay a Volunteer Opt Out Fee.
· Support NGHBC’s fundraising efforts by participating in NGHBC’s fundraising campaigns or by paying a Fundraising Opt Out Fee.
· Be responsible for their children at all NGHBC activities, at all times.
If you leave while your student is in class or otherwise you must:
1. Arrange for another adult to be in charge of your student until your return.
2. Make your sure your child knows who their responsible adult is while you are away.
3. Inform NGHBC of your supervision arrangements via “Fire and Blood Mom Log”at info desk.
*Exceptions may be made for a student driver who has a student driver form on file.
All Students are expected to:
- Respect those in authority.
- Respect peers - bullying, unwholesome speech, disruptive behavior, and any other inappropriate behavior will be grounds for discipline and/or dismissal.
- Be punctual in attendance and work.
- Show diligence in effort and attention.
- Be committed to their ensemble.
~ NGHBC and/or Mt. Zion Baptist Church will not be held responsible in case of injury, abuse, or neglect. ~
Program, Class & Ensemble Policies
Attendance at all rehearsals and performances is imperative to our success; therefore, it is expected that NGHBC rehearsals will take a very high priority in each member’s schedule. We cannot accomplish our mission and goals without each participant demonstrating faithful, consistent, and punctual attendance. Each person holds a valuable place in his/her ensemble, and each individual part/voice is important.
With regard to absences for Choir and Strings:
- If a student is going to be absent, please notify the teacher by email as soon as possible. If the absence is within 24 hours of rehearsal, please email the teacher or text the executive director.
- If a student misses 3 rehearsals in a semester, he may asked play or sing a part assessment for the teacher. Until he is able to pass the assessment, he won’t be allowed to participate in any performances.
- If a student misses 4 rehearsals in a semester, he will be required to play or sing a part assessment for the teacher. Until he is able to pass the assessment, he won’t be allowed to participate in any performances.
- If a student misses 5 rehearsals in a semester, the student will be dismissed from the program for at least the remainder of the semester without a refund.
- Final rehearsals prior to a performance are mandatory. An absence, for any reason, may result in the student NOT participating in the corresponding performance.
- Attendance at all performances is required. Performance conflicts must be addressed with the director as soon as the conflict is known. Future participation in NGHBC may be prohibited if a performance is missed during the season.
With regard to absences for Preschool and Prepatory Program Classes:
- Even though the Foundation Classes don’t perform in all of the concerts, attendance is still important for the sequential learning and recorder playing, as well as the classroom experience for the others. Therefore, if a student misses 4 classes in a semester, he may be dismissed for the remainder of that semester without a refund. If a student is going to be absent, please notify the teacher by email as soon as possible.
Playing an instrument is a physical activity that requires daily practice to build endurance. Practice minutes are to be recorded as directed by the teacher. As students prepare for special events, these times will by necessity increase. Band students are also required to pass off material during the course of the semester.
Babies with Buddies, Tuneful Tots, and Mini Musicians -- There are no practice requirements for this class. Students may be asked to bring a specific item for certain class sessions.
Preparatory Classes -- Teachers will assign practice times.
Choir -- All songs and music must be memorized prior to each performance. The teacher will provide deadlines for each song to be learned. Sight reading examples may also be sent home for practice on occasion. There is not a regular weekly practice regime for singers, but occasional assignments may be given.
Strings – Students will have assignments they should practice. This includes scales, etudes, music, and exercises that will need to be worked on at home. The teacher will assign the practice times.
Our teachers diligently strive to select songs of only the highest quality. Each piece of music must have musical integrity and contain musical concepts related to our sequential teaching methods. Many elements must be considered when selecting music: range, style, time period, text, melodic line, harmonies, voicings, and type of instrumentation are just a few of the things we evaluate as music is selected. Due to the instructional value of all songs selected, all students will be expected to perform all songs.
NGHBC complies with all copyright laws. Any music distributed by NGHBC must not be duplicated, and must be returned. Printed band music must be destroyed at the end of the semester. Additionally, any recordings of performances are for archival purposes and personal use; videos of our students should not be posted to the Internet in any capacity. Our organization assumes no responsibility for those who violate the copyright law, and we appreciate your respectful cooperation of this matter.
Choir Music & Folders
- All Choir members will be given a binder and assigned a folder number. Students will be responsible for maintaining the folder and music. No stickers, decorations, or pictures should be added to the folders and/or music.
- Music may be marked lightly with pencil markings only. Please do not doodle or write unrelated comments in the music.
- All music must be returned at the end of each semester, and folders must be returned at the end of the year. NGHBC must be reimbursed for any music or folders (a minimum of $5/item) that are not returned in usable condition.
The following procedures will help us achieve discipline and professionalism:
1. Arrive a few minutes early. Wait quietly outside until your teacher invites you into the room. Please use the bathroom prior to class and be in your place ready to play/sing at rehearsal time.
a) Tuneful Tots and Mini-Musicians: Please line up outside the assigned space and wait until you hear music to enter.
b) Preparatory Program: Please line up outside the assigned room and wait until you hear music to enter.
c) Strings: Please bring your instrument and supplies: black 3-ring binder with music, stand, pencil, and water bottle (optional) for each session. d) Choir: Please have your folder with music, pencil, and water bottle (optional) for each class session.
2. Late arrivers should quickly join the rehearsal already in progress with as little disruption as possible.
3. Be prepared to stay in the rehearsal space until the completion of rehearsal. Students will not be excused from rehearsal to leave early unless previously arranged with the teacher or in the case of student illness.
4. No food, candy, gum or drinks (other than water) are allowed during rehearsals. Please eat lunch or a nutritious snack before rehearsal if you are afraid you will be hungry.
5. Students should not use any medications while in rehearsals, and should refrain from distributing medications (Tylenol, Advil, Tums, etc.) to other students during any NGHBC function. If students are not feeling well, they should report to a teacher or room monitor.
6. No cell phone use is allowed in rehearsals unless instructed by the teacher! Phones may be collected by staff members and held until the end of rehearsal if they are being used during “working” rehearsal time. Parents will be contacted upon violation of this rule.
7. If a student is not able to actively participate in rehearsal for any reason, please bring a note explaining the circumstances. He/She will be expected to sit quietly, follow the music, make marks appropriately, and listen attentively to the practice.
8. Students who are unable to exhibit self-control and appropriate conduct will be removed from rehearsal, and parents will be notified immediately.
9. Rehearsals are always open to all parents who wish to attend. In the event that you wish to bring
several guests, please notify the teacher(s) one week in advance if possible.
PERFORMANCE RULES (Attendance in concerts are required.)
Performances require the very best conduct, appearance, and musicianship:
1. Eat a nutritious meal and get plenty of rest before a concert.
2. Arrive at the specified call time.
3. Tardiness to a concert may exclude a student from participation at that performance.
4. All students must arrive in concert attire as explained under “Uniform Guidelines.” Failure to wear the proper uniform will result in non-participation in the concert.
5. Conduct yourself at all times in a calm, polite, professional manner. Always give your undivided attention to the teachers and parent volunteers.
6. Know your music. Each musician must have a confident command of the concert program or he/she will be asked not to perform.
7. Always let a volunteer know if you are feeling ill. If you feel ill during a performance, quietly sit down and rest for the remainder of the selection. Volunteers are always watching and will help if needed.
8. Remember that you represent the North Georgia Homeschool Band & Choir at all times.
ADDITIONAL PERFORMANCE OPPORTUNITIES
In addition to our concerts at the end of each semester, invitations to perform in the community also arise. It is not always possible to have these dates on our calendar when the season begins. Our teachers consider each invitation by evaluating the event and its alignment with our mission and purpose, and they also consider the repertoire we have prepared to perform. If the performance opportunity is a worthwhile educational experience for our ensemble(s), the parents will then be notified in advance of the potential performance. Each student will be asked to commit or decline by a designated deadline, and the teachers will accept the invitation if enough members of the ensemble can attend. If you commit to the additional concert, you are expected to follow through on the added performance.
There are no uniforms for Foundation or Preparatory Classes. In the event of a public performance, simple dress expectations will be provided by the teacher, which may include the annual t-shirt. Since the annual t-shirt is sometimes used for performances, please take good of the shirt until the year is over. (i.e, no eating messy food in it, painting in it, etc.)
Band and Choir
Band and Choir Concert Attire is as follows:
- Uniforms are the property of NGHBC. They will be issued in the fall, and will be inspected within a few weeks of their return after the spring concert. Families will be required to pay to replacement cost of damaged uniforms.
- Uniform is based on the sex of student – ladies will wear dresses and gentlemen will wear pants.
- Black socks/black tights
- Black closed-toe shoes – Shoes should be solid black without buckles or other adornment. If you have any doubt, please show them to the teacher.
- Hair should be pulled away from face and not in eyes. Please use neutral hair bands or clips. No hair bows or colored items may be worn in hair. Hair should be a natural color and not distract from the musical performance. Hats may not be worn.
- Girls may wear small, inconspicuous earrings. No other jewelry or accessories may be worn unless provided to the entire group by the teacher.
- Girls may wear neutral colored makeup that doesn’t distract from the musical performance.
- Refrain from using perfume, cologne, scented hairspray, and lotions in rehearsals and performances.
- All students must be dressed in appropriate performance attire in order to perform.
- NO CELL PHONES in pockets & NO GUM in mouth allowed during performances!!
General NGHBC Information
NGHBC has an information table that includes reminders, sign-up sheets, items for parents to take home, and the “Fire and Blood Mom Log.” Additionally, parents can make tuition payments here. It is the parent’s responsibility to check in at the information table and stay apprised of current events.
NGHBC uses gmail as the main way of communicating.
Older students are welcome to ask to be put on their teachers’ email lists with parental permission. Simply send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the student’s name and email address to be added.
Personal information will remain private and comments are only visible to our group. NGHBC will not use family contact information for outside solicitation of any kind, and we ask that our families abide by the same policy.
NGHBC.org is our main source of information for the community. No registration is needed to access this site. On nghbc.org you will find a google calendar link for classes, concerts, and special event dates, information on what classes are offered, instructor bios, on-line registration link, and other current information.
Teacher Contact Information
Our teachers are always happy to speak with students and parents. They are glad to answer questions, address concerns, and hear your opinions. However, our teachers cannot address serious concerns on Fridays due to their schedules unless a prior arrangement has been made. The best way to get in contact with a teacher is by email. If you wish to have a conversation, please email them to arrange a phone or in-person meeting.
Other Contact Information
Executive Director - Jackie Gray email@example.com
firstname.lastname@example.org - For general questions
email@example.com - For money related questions
FEES & TUITION
When you enroll in NGHBC classes, you are required to pay for the entire year. If you leave the program early your financial commitment to pay for the entire year remains.
- Registration Fees are due with enrollment. Enrollment is not official until the Registration Fee is received. Checks for online registration are checked by postmark for deadline compliance.
- Facility Fees, Uniform Fees, and the optional Volunteer Opt Out Fees are due on the first day of class.
- Fund Raiser Opt Out Fees are due by the first day of class in October.
- Tuition may be paid in full or in two installments, due by the first day of class in August and January.
- If any of the above due dates create a hardship, please contact the treasurer to make alternate payment arrangements.
- Instrument Rental Deposit and Fees are due at the time of rental. NGHBC will not hold an instrument without a deposit. Instrument Deposits will be refunded once the instrument has been returned to NGHBC in good playing condition. In the event of an outstanding balance, the deposit will first be applied toward that balance, then any remainder will be refunded.
· NGHBC accepts cash, checks, and money orders.
· Checks should be made payable to NGHBC.
· Payments may be made directly to the treasurer on Fridays or mailed to NGHBC PO Box 1441 Jasper, GA 30143.
- Overdue payments may result in students not being allowed to participate in performances.
- Registration Fees are non-refundable.
- Uniform Fees are non-refundable after the uniform fitting day.
- Volunteer Opt Out Fees are non-refundable.
- Fund Raiser Opt Out Fees are non- refundable.
- Even though we will break up tuition payments into 2 semesters for convenience, the commitment to NGHBC is for the entire year. However, in the case of serious illness, death, unemployment, or a move of more than 50 miles away, the portion of tuition for which a student has not yet attended classes may be refunded with board approval.
Discounts, Benefits, & Scholarships
- Referral Discount - credits both the referred and the referring family with $20 off of tuition costs. There is no limit on the number of Referral Discounts a referring family may accrue. (Referral Discounts may only be applied to fees.) Discounts are given once the new family has registered and paid their tuition.
- Family Cap Discount - limits the total amount of fees and tuition one family is required to pay to $850 (Early Bird) or $950 (Regular). (Fund Raiser Opt Out Fees and Volunteer Opt Out Fees are not included in the Family Cap.)
- Early Bird Registration Discount - $10/student when registered by June 1.
- NGHBC is an approved HSLDA Discount Group, as such our members are eligible for a discount from HSLDA on annual membership.
- Need-Based Scholarships are also available (for fully funded classes). Applications for Need-Based Scholarships are available from the treasurer.
We are extremely grateful to the staff, deacons, trustees, and congregation at Mt. Zion Baptist Church for allowing us to use their facilities. Thank you for your respectful conduct and courteous attitude while in this complex.
Anyone who causes damage to the equipment or building will be held financially responsible for the repairs, and may be asked to leave NGHBC without refund.
- All regular Friday classes will be held at this location unless otherwise notified.
- Please remain in the designated areas at all times:
- Families should familiarize themselves with NGHBC’s safety plan. (A copy of the plan is available at the information table.)
- Food and drinks are not allowed anywhere except the fellowship hall.
If Cherokee County cancels school due to inclement weather, NGHBC will automatically be canceled. We realize that some families drive many miles to get to Mt. Zion Baptist, so even if class is not canceled, please use your own discretion to keep your family safe if weather is questionable. There will be no makeup days for classes canceled due to weather. In the event of inclement weather on the day of a concert, a make-up performance will be scheduled.
A Few Notes on our Philosophy
A note about our Goals
- To worship and serve God with our talents and abilities
- To create a musical family within our local homeschool community
- To promote self-worth and self-respect in all NGHBC members
- To encourage personal and social growth in each individual child
- To teach young people to be musically literate (able to read music at various ability levels)
- To attain a high level of excellence in performance
- To contribute to the cultural life of the North Georgia area
A note about Individual Musical Growth
Although our primary emphasis in this organization is making music as an ensemble, our teachers care very much about the individual growth of each child in our program. Students in Tuneful Tots and Mini-Musicians will be assessed on steady beat and pitch matching in each session through normal class activities. Students in our Preparatory Program will also be assessed on these elements, as well as recorder skills. Recommendations for each child’s placement during the next season will be given at the end of the spring semester.
Private Music Lessons
We gladly support any child who wishes to take private music lessons. Our teachers can provide resources for you. If additional supplemental materials are needed for students with more experience, our teachers will make these arrangements and/or suggestions on a case-by-case basis with the child’s parents.
A note about Conflict
- We realize that for the group to be successful, personal preferences sometimes have to be set aside for the good of the organization.
- An organization that has all members focused first and foremost on doing what benefits the group is a force to be reckoned with. – John Wooden
- We realize that there will be times that certain problems, conflicts, and concerns arise. It is for that reason that we feel it is important to state up front our position on handling these situations. We use Matthew 18:15-18 as our Biblical guide to handle such issues with full respect. If any parent, student, teacher, or director has a concern, they have a Biblical responsibility to go first to the person(s) that they have the concern about or with. It is our desire that any problems can then be cleared up and those involved can move on. If, however, this does not resolve the issue, then and only then, should the issue be brought to the attention of another person. The level of authority at NGHBC will be as follows:
3. NGHBC Board
A note about Music with Sacred Text
Although a wide array of compositions will be performed, lyrics with sacred text will be present in our repertoire. Our intention is to provide the students with the best music possible, and to accurately teach music history. As explained by the Music Educator's National Conference, “music with a sacred text or of a religious origin (particularly choral music) constitutes such a substantial portion of music literature and has such an important place in the history of music, it should and does have an important place in music education.” They also take the position that “the study and performance of religious music within an educational context is a vital and appropriate part of a comprehensive music education. The omission of sacred music...would result in an incomplete educational experience.” North Georgia Homeschool Band & Choir agrees with this position. Further information about the role of sacred music in choral and instrumental education can be found online at this link: http://www.menc.org/about/view/sacred-music-in-schools.
A note about Attendance in a Weekly Class
Traditional choral and band programs have the advantage of meeting five days a week for 60-90 minutes. We meet only once a week. With the quality of our students this is not a disadvantage, but it makes each person’s individual contribution more vital. Each performer’s part fits together with the others like a puzzle. Students, when you are absent and your piece of the puzzle is missing, the group ceases to function the way it should. Without you, the rest of the ensemble cannot learn balance, blend, intonation, harmony, and other aspects of ensemble playing. Each of you offers a unique sound and perspective through your voice/instrument. You are a vital part of the ensemble.
A note about Volunteering
Simply put we couldn’t run NGHBC without our Volunteers -- at least not in a way that was affordable for most of our families. Volunteering also helps to create the special sense of community at NGHBC that we all enjoy. NGHBC keeps operating expenses low by requiring all families to volunteer in our organization. The NGHBC Board of Directors has identified the main areas of need in our program, and a parent (or designee) from each family must serve in some capacity. Volunteer jobs are assigned by NGHBC with due consideration given to families’ preferences, strengths, and time constraints while still making sure that NGHBC’s needs are met. Volunteer jobs are assigned at the beginning of the music year by NGHBC. Those who choose not to participate can pay a Volunteer Opt Out Fee in lieu of volunteering. If you have a medical reason that prohibits you from serving, please express this need to our Board.
A note about Fundraising
Akin to volunteering, fundraising allows NGHBC to serve our families at an affordable price, to grow our program, to purchase music and instruments, and to allow the students to do lots of fun extra things as well. Since all of families benefit from fundraising, all are expected to help raise financial support. NGHBC understands that families feel strongly about fundraising, so NGHBC offers annual fundraisers so families have a choice in how to participate. In addition, if you’d rather not participate, we also give families the choice of paying an opt-out fee.
NGHBC Board of Directors
Janet Dubuc firstname.lastname@example.org
Jackie Gray email@example.com