Music in the Schools Program

Introduction – The Houston Children’s Chorus, founded in 1989 by Stephen Roddy, involves over 200 children in grades 2 through 8 by annual audition. The Chorus is considered one of the top five children’s performing ensembles in the nation. Major funding is provided by the Houston Arts Alliance, the Cullen Trust for the Performing Arts, the Brown Foundation, Houston Endowment, the Kinder Foundation, Texas Commission on the Arts, as well as other major corporations and contributors. Education is the primary purpose of the Chorus, with a goal to teach children to achieve high artistic standards through choral singing and performance. Members of the Chorus represent all ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds.

Course Materials

  • Selected songs from the Houston Children’s Chorus repertoire as appropriate for learning and public singing.
  • Music theory worksheets compiled from various theory regimens and issued to students when a specific theory concept is to be taught.
  • A piano or keyboard for rehearsal accompaniment and demonstration of theory concepts.

Audition-based Enrollment

Choir members will be selected based on a simple audition that will assess the singer’s ability to match pitch. The instructor will, most importantly, look for students who show commitment, discipline and a desire to sing. Choir membership would number approximately 35 singers.


For over 15 years, the Houston Children’s Chorus’ Music in the Schools program has provided educational services for the students of the Houston Independent School District. Through this grant-funded program, founder and director, Stephen Roddy and his staff have introduced students to the joy of preparing and performing a major choral concert. Instructors from the Chorus, in collaboration with school principals and magnet coordinators, have formed choirs at schools that did not have a music teacher or a choir and taught them musical terms, how to count and sing music, and the discipline of practice, all in a fun learning environment. The highlight of the students’ involvement with the Houston Children’s Chorus was their performance with the Chorus at their Annual Spring Concert at Rice University Alice Pratt Brown Hall, forming a Chorus of nearly 400 children from area schools. The audience totaled more than 1,000 people and viewed by over 12,000 via live stream.

This proposal is to form a continued partnership between the Houston Children’s Chorus (HCC) and the Houston Independent School District (HISD), aligned with the philosophy of the HISD Fine Arts Department, “to develop the whole child…stimulating imagination and selfexpression… to encourage the leader and artist in every child.” We offer to HISD schools, the Houston Children’s Chorus Music In The Schools program.

Terms and Conditions

Timeline of Engagement

  • The course will be made available to students during the Spring semester each school year.
  • The Music In The Schools curriculum is designed for students in third through eighth grades.
  • Schools to receive these services are to be determined by HISD Fine Arts Administration, and approved by HCC. This program is offered for elementary and middle schools lacking a choir teacher or an established choir.
  • Choir class will be held for one hour on the designated day of the week and timeframe determined by the school principal and/or magnet coordinator and coordinated with the instructor’s teaching schedule. To clarify: one class period per week. Consideration should be given for holidays, teacher service days, early dismissal/staff development days, and testing days to avoid schedule conflicts with choir rehearsal. No choir rehearsal will be held on holidays. The instructor must be notified in advance of early dismissal and testing days if choir class will be affected by these dates and times.
  • The choir class is to be held during school hours. This ensures that all children eligible to participate in the program will not be excluded due to conflicts with after-school commitments.
  • All classroom teachers must cooperate in dismissing students to attend rehearsal on time.
  • Each school should designate a Choir Liaison – a staff member or volunteer – who will assist with communication, attendance, uniforms, and concert and field trip preparation.

Course Description


To offer Houston students of diverse backgrounds and communities an unique opportunity through learning and musical experiences while engaging with teaching professionals from one of the nation’s finest children’s performing arts organizations.


Music In The Schools student participants will learn:

  • Basic music theory concepts – theory, notation, rhythmic patterns, musical terms. (HISD MUSIC.3.2A – Read, write, and reproduce rhythmic patterns using standard notation…)
  • Singing techniques, part singing and music interpretation. (HISD MUSIC.3.3D – Perform simple part work, including rhythmic and melodic ostinati…)
  • International and ethnic folk songs for an understanding of various cultures and self-knowledge. (HISD MUSIC.3.3A – Sing or play a varied repertoire of music such as American folk songs…)
  • Learn to sing with simple choreography. (HISD MUSIC.3.5A – Perform songs, move to music…from diverse cultures and periods.) (HISD MUSIC.3.3C – Move alone or with others to a varied repertoire of music using gross motor, fine motor… skills and integrated movement such as hands and feet moving together.)
  • Choir decorum. (HISD MUSIC.3.6A – Exhibit audience etiquette during live and recorded performances.)

The Houston Children’s Chorus Music In The Schools program is based on a school-funded plan. Fees are assessed to cover a portion of the actual cost of the program to the organization. The cost for each school per semester, along with class scheduling, is as follows:

  • Program Plan A – One Choir, one class per week (all grade levels meet together) – $7,500
  • Program Plan B – One Choir, two classes per week (different grade levels meet on different days) – $10,000
  • Program Plan C – If funding is available, the Houston Children’s Chorus will provide a FREE program for 3 schools each spring semester. There is currently a waiting list for this program.

Your schedule preference is required before the start of class by signed contract.

Fees for services must be paid in full to Houston Children’s Chorus half way through the semester, on or before March 1st.

Due to various end-of-school activities, field trips, events and final testing that occur during the last month of school, the program will end on May 10th. However, the school choir may perform for school events during the remainder of May upon request.

It is the school’s responsibility to provide a room of suitable size with ample seating for all singers, a piano and a chalkboard or whiteboard. Schools are responsible for providing bus transportation, if necessary, for any off-campus activity or event.

Email [email protected] on next steps to enroll!