Graduate Jazz Audition Requirements

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BASS | DRUMSET | GUITAR | PIANO | SAXOPHONE | TROMBONE | TRUMPET | VOICE

Prescreening-Required of all applicants

All jazz applicants are required to upload a prescreening to SlideRoom by December 1st.  All submissions should include both audio and video. The requirements are listed below for each individual instrument.  

Jazz Bass

Prescreening 

  • Please perform with live accompaniment wherever possible, do not use play-along tracks
  • The minimum instrumentation should be piano or guitar, and drums.
  • The prescreening should show accompaniment of another musician’s melodic statement
    • This does not apply to solo selections.

On-Campus Audition

Applicants for the Master of Music

  • Sight Reading
    • Classical Etudes- intermediate and advanced levels
    • Rock/Fusion- 16th note syncopation and improvisation on intermediate and advanced levels
    • Jazz- heads, walking lines, and improvisation on chord charts, intermediate and advanced levels
  • Prepared Material (Optional)
    • Should represent the highest possible level of achievement of the candidate. The material is left to the discretion of the applicant. No more than two selections.
  • Theory
    • There will be questions throughout the audition in reference to the audition material at hand

Applicants for the Doctor of Musical Arts

All of the material cited above, but at the advanced level only. The prepared material is required.

If there are any questions about repertoire, please contact Professor Chuck Bergeron.

Jazz Drumset

Prescreening 

Perform each of the following:

  • One jazz piece in a trio or quartet setting with a walking bass line. Short solos (‘fours’) should be included
  • One Contemporary fusion or rock piece, played with an appropriate rhythm section.
  • One selection with an Afro-Caribbean, Brazilian or world rhythm
  • One big band excerpt

Since musical interaction is essential, please use a live rhythm section for your recording.

On-Campus Audition

Fundamental Requirements

  • Knowledge of jazz idiom, traditional and modern, at various tempos
  • Proficiency in the rock, funk, and fusion styles
  • Familiarity with Afro-Caribbean, Brazilian, and world styles
  • Soloing in various settings: trading fours, filling, and improvising over an ostinato
  • Chart reading in various styles

Additional Requirements for All Applicants

  • Prepare two pieces in contrasting styles that exemplify your abilities in these areas. Examples would be: post bop/rhythm and blues, hard bop/fusion, or ECM/Latin jazz. Be prepared to solo over the song form of these pieces. For accompaniment, please supply a recording or sequence with which to play along.
  • You will be asked to perform with a top-level student ensemble at the Frost School of Music, in order to assess your musical intuition and interactive skills. Sight-reading may be required.
  • For additional evaluation, please bring a DVD which best represents your abilities in various genres

If there are any questions about repertoire, please contact Professor Steve Rucker.

Jazz Guitar

Prescreening 

  • Three short songs (standards, jazz standards, originals) in contrasting styles, two with bass and drum accompaniment and one unaccompanied solo piece (chord melody for guitar). Please include the melody of each song and several choruses of improvisation. Include comping for bass solo on at least one selection.
  • Supplemental material such as minor instrument pieces, classical pieces, big band recordings, etc. is welcome but cannot substitute for the requirements above.
  • Video with live rhythm section is preferred, audio only acceptable. Play along tracks are highly discouraged.

On-Campus Audition

Applicants for the Master of Music

Be prepared for all of the following, even if some areas are omitted in the actual audition:

  • Repertoire
    • Bring your repertoire list with you (those standards and jazz tunes which you know from memory). You will be asked to demonstrate proficiency related to this material.
  • Sight-reading
    • You will be asked to sight-read several pieces
  • Ear Training
    • You will be asked to demonstrate your ability to play “by ear”
  • Theory
    • You will be asked questions pertaining to your knowledge of various chord voicings, scales, arpeggios, etc
  • Improvisation
    • You will have the opportunity to play several contrasting pieces (of your own choice) accompanied by a member of the Jazz Guitar faculty. Know the melody and be able to improvise and accompany (if asked) on these pieces.
  • Solo Guitar
    • Prepare one solo unaccompianed jazz guitar piece. This should be a standard, taken, if appropriate at ballad tempo, or medium swing if preferred. Include some improvisation within the framework of the arrangement.
  • Recording
    • Bring a high-quality recording, video if possible, of some jazz performances featuring you with a rhythm section. This recording should be approximately 30 minutes in length, and have been recorded within the past two years. One selection should be with guitar and acoustic bass, and one with guitar, bass, and drums. The other selections could include a piano, or horn, if desired.

Applicants for the Doctor of Musical Arts

The Doctoral audition is exactly the same as the Masters, but will be assessed at an appropriately higher level.

If there are any questions about repertoire, please contact Professor John Hart.

Jazz Piano

Prescreening 

Prescreening selections must be performed on acoustic piano, with live bass and drums accompaniment. Please include one song from the standard jazz repertoire from each of the following categories:

  • Ballad in tempo
    • Must be performed solo piano
  • Medium Swing
  • Up Tempo Swing
  • Latin/straight-eighth

Improvisation should be included on all selections. At least one selection should include accompanying (comping) for a bass or other instrument solo.

Supplemental material, including any other recordings which you feel showcase your abilities, are encouraged, including playing in other styles, accompanying, recordings of original compositions/arrangements, etc.

On-Campus Audition

Applicants for the Master of Music

Auditions will be performed on acoustic piano, with bass accompaniment provided. Please bring lead sheets for all prepared songs. Prepare at least one song to perform solo piano.

Please prepare a variety of selections from the following categories:

  • Ballad
  • Medium Swing
  • Up Tempo Swing
  • Latin/straight-eighth
  • A composition by Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, Joe Henderson, (or one of similar style/complexity)

Your audition will also include a sight-reading component.

You are highly encouraged to bring a CD, DVD, or flash drive including any other material you feel showcases your abilities (arrangements, compositions, recordings/videos of playing in other styles, accompanying, organ/electric keyboard selections, etc.).

Applicants for the Doctor of Musical Arts

The Doctoral audition requirements are exactly the same as the Masters, but must also include at least one original composition in both the prescreening and on-campus auditions. Doctoral candidates will be assessed at an appropriately higher level.

If there are any questions about repertoire, please contact Professor Martin Bejerano.

Jazz Saxophone

Prescreening 

  • Three short songs (standards, jazz standards, originals) in contrasting styles with live rhythm section accompaniment.
  • Please include the melody of each song and several choruses of improvisation.
  • Supplemental materials such as minor instrument pieces, classical pieces, big band recordings, etc. are welcome but cannot substitute for the basic saxophone and rhythm format.
  • Video is preferred, audio is acceptable.

On-Campus Audition

Basic piano accompaniment will be provided. In some cases applicants will perform with a rhythm section.Jazz repertoire should be performed by memory
  • Applicants should bring a list of prepared repertoire representing a variety of key centers, tempos, and rhythmic formats
  • Applicants will be evaluated on improvisational skills, melodic interpretation, instrumental proficiency, as well as size and variety of repertoire
  • In addition to prepared selections, applicants may be asked to demonstrate technical devices (scales, articulations), theoretical knowledge (chord scale relationships), aural skills, keyboard skills, and sight-read written music and/or chord changes.
  • Optional, but encouraged- a concert piece or etude (non-jazz). Applicants will be judged on technique, accuracy, phrasing, articulation, tone and intonation, etc. as related to the interpretation of a written piece of music. May be submitted as a supplemental recording.
  • Optional, but encouraged- an etude, concert piece, or jazz performance demonstrating skills on a secondary instrument(s) such as clarinet, flute, or piano. May be submitted as a supplemental recording.
  • Supplemental audition materials such as original compositions and arrangements are encouraged, but may not be substituted for the listed audition requirements.
If there are any questions about repertoire, please contact Professor Gary Keller.

Jazz Trombone

Prescreening 

  • Any melody with I Got Rhythm chord changes B-flat, D-flat, and G.
  • Ballad of choice- melody and one chorus of improvisation
  • Cherokee in B-flat (M.M. = 240)
OR:
  • Any melody with I Got Rhythm chord changes in B-flat
  • Ballad of choice- melody and one chorus of improvisation
  • 1st Trombone part to Thad Jones’ composition Second Race

On-Campus Audition

Applicants for the Master of Music

Perform melody and improvisation (3 choruses for numbers 1 and 3) for the following selections:

  • Confirmation
  • Ballad of choice- melody and one chorus of improvisation
  • Wayne Shorter’s Fee Fi Fo Fum or Joe Henderson’s Inner Urge
OR:
  • Blues
  • Ballad of choice- melody and one chorus of improvisation
  • 1st Trombone part to Thad Jones’ arrangement of Groove Merchant

Applicants for the Doctor of Musical Arts

Perform melody and improvisation (3 choruses for numbers 1 and 3) for the following selections:
  • Any melody with I Got Rhythm chord changes in B-flat, D-flat, and G
  • Ballad of choice- melody and one chorus of improvisation
  • Wayne Shorter’s Fee Fi Fo Fum or Joe Henderson’s Inner Urge
OR:
  • Any melody with I Got Rhythm chord changes in B-flat
  • Ballad of choice- melody and one chorus of improvisation
  • 1st Trombone part to Thad Jones’ composition Second Race

If there are any questions about repertoire, please contact Professor Dante Luciani.

Jazz Trumpet

Prescreening 

  • Three short songs (standards, jazz standards, originals) in contrasting styles with live rhythm section accompaniment. Please include the melody of each song and several choruses of improvisation.
  • Supplemental material such as minor instrument pieces, classical pieces, big band recordings, etc. is welcome but cannot substitute for the format above.
  • Video is preferred, audio is acceptable.

On-Campus Audition

Applicants for the Master of Music

Perform melody and improvisation (3 choruses for numbers 1 and 3) for the following selections:

  • Confirmation
  • Ballad of choice- melody and one chorus of improvisation
  • Cherokee in B-flat (M.M. = 240)
OR:
  • Blues
  • Ballad of choice- melody and one chorus of improvisation
  • 1st Trumpet part to Thad Jones’ arrangement of Groove Merchant

Applicants for the Doctor of Musical Arts

Perform melody and improvisation (3 choruses for numbers 1 and 3) for the following selections:

  • Any melody with I Got Rhythm chord changes in B-flat, D-flat, and G
  • Ballad of choice- melody and one chorus of improvisation
  • Wayne Shorter’s Fee Fi Fo Fum or Joe Henderson’s Inner Urge
OR:
  • Any melody with I Got Rhythm chord changes in B-flat
  • Ballad of choice- melody and one chorus of improvisation
  • 1st Trumpet part to Thad Jones’ composition Second Race
If there are any questions about repertoire, please contact Professor Brian Lynch.

Jazz Voice

Prescreening 

  • Three short songs (standards, jazz standards) in contrasting style:
    • Two (2) pieces with rhythm section accompaniment (live rhythm section preferred, play-along tracks acceptable) and one (1) either self-accompanied selection on piano or one song singing and playing piano with a rhythm section that demonstrates comping ability.
  • Please include the melody of each song and several choruses of improvisation.
  • Supplemental materials such as secondary instrument pieces, classical pieces, solo recordings, etc. are welcome, but cannot substitute for the basic vocal with rhythm section format.

On-Campus Audition

Applicants for the Master of Music

  • Perform two selections from the traditional standard or jazz repertoire at contrasting tempos (medium to fast swing) including at least two choruses of improvisation
    • One of these pieces should also include a section of about eight measures sung a capella. A rhythm section will be provided. Applicants will provide all necessary parts/charts in his/her appropriate performance key.
  • Perform one selection from the traditional standard or jazz repertoire in slow/ballad style that includes a portion in rubato tempo
  • One self-accompanied selection on piano that demonstrates comping ability
  • Perform additional selections (two maximum) of the applicant’s choice
    • These may include material from the above styles or any other style- Latin, fusion, R&B, etc., and may include original compositions.
  • Applicants must be prepared to demonstrate sight-singing ability, aural skills, and theory knowledge.
  • Supplemental audition materials such as original compositions and arrangements are encouraged, but may not be substituted for the listed audition requirements. 

Applicants for the Doctor of Musical Arts

  • Applicant must demonstrate mastery of the jazz vocal idiom in a 30 minute performance.
  • Program should be varied and demonstrate knowledge of traditional and contemporary jazz repertoire and improvisational styles that include bebop, modal, and fusion. A rhythm section will be provided.
    • Applicant will provide all necessary charts/parts/lead sheets in his/her appropriate performance key.
  • Applicant must be prepared to demonstrate jazz keyboard (accompaniment) skills, sight-singing and aural skills, and a knowledge or jazz theory.
  • Supplemental audition materials such as original compositions and arrangements are encouraged, but may not be substituted for the listed audition requirements.
If there are any questions about repertoire, please contact Dr. Kate Reid.