Undergraduate Jazz Audition Requirements

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

All jazz applicants are required to upload a prescreening to SlideRoom.  All submissions should include both audio and video. The requirements are listed below for each individual instrument.  Unless specified, the pre-screening requirements are the same as the audition requirements list below.

Jazz Bass

Prescreening

  • Swing Four - with a walking bass line (5 minutes - most important) and improvise a solo
  • Latin - Samba, Bossa, or Afro-Cuban (3 minutes) and improvise a solo
  • Rock Feel - anything from funk to Corea, etc. (3 minutes) and improvise a solo
  • A Legitimate Piece - selections from Baroque or Classical literature. Need not be a piece composed solely for bass; may be an etude (3 minutes).

We will be looking especially for a solid time feel and sound bass lines. State the theme in any or all of the first three categories. In addition, you must solo on all of them. The first three selections should be with drums, guitar and/or piano; additional instruments are acceptable as are synthesized or pre-recorded backgrounds.

On-Campus Audition

  • Play a walking bass line, over changes at sight and improvise a solo
  • Sight-read a Classical piece
  • Sight-read something with swing feel and improvise a solo
  • Answer questions on theory and background

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.

Snare drum, mallets, and timpani are no longer part of the drumset curriculum and are not required for the drumset audition.

On-Campus Audition

On-campus auditions are preferred. You will be asked to demonstrate:

  • Knowledge of the 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

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

Jazz Guitar

Audition Guidelines

  • The pieces must have either On-Campus rhythm section accompaniment (preferred) or pre-recorded (Jamey Aebersold play-a-longs are acceptable)
  • All selections (except the unaccompanied "solo piece") should feature the applicant playing the melody (at least once) and improvising. Soloing by the other musicians should be strictly minimal. Edit your selection if necessary to keep it to a minimum.
  • The selections should all be common standards and jazz tunes. Please, no "originals" at this time.
  • The total length of each of the 3 small group pieces should be between 3 and 5 minutes each.
  • Please do not include additional pieces beyond what is listed in the requirements below.
  • All music performed (except, of course, for the improvisation sections) needs to be played from memory, in other words, no "reading" lead sheets, fake books, etc.

Prescreening & On-Campus Auditions

  • Solo Piece - a standard or jazz ballad (e.g. Misty). Present the melody harmonized "chord-melody" unaccompanied (2-3 minutes). Improvisation is allowed within the time limits, but is not mandatory.
  • Small group selections - guitar, bass, drums, optional piano and/or horns.
  • A medium tempo 12 bar "jazz" blues.
  • A medium or medium-up tempo standard jazz tune; the harmonic rhythm (number of beats per chord change) should be primarily whole notes or half notes.
  • A standard ballad or jazz ballad.

On-Campus Audition

  • In addition to all or part of the material listed above, you will be asked to sight-read a brief selection, as well as play and answer questions about scales and chords. The accompaniment will be provided by the faculty member conducting the audition. If your selections are unusual, please bring a lead sheet. 

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

Jazz Piano

Prescreening

Prescreening selections must be performed on acoustic piano, with bass an drums accompaniment. Please include one song from the standard jazz repertoire for each of the following categories. Improvisation should be included on all selections.

  • Ballad-must be performed solo piano
  • Medium tempo Swing tune
  • Up tempo Swing tune
  • Latin/Straight eighth tune
  • At least one selection should include accompanying (comping) for a bass or other instrument solo. 

On-Campus Audition

Your audition will be performed on acoustic piano, with bass accompaniment (provided). Please include one song from the standard jazz repertoire for each of the following categories. Improvisation should be included on all selections.

  • Ballad
  • Medium tempo Swing tune
  • Medium up/Up tempo Swing tune
  • Latin/Straight eighth tune

Your audition will also include a sight-reading component.

Please bring lead sheets for all prepared songs. Prepare at least one song to perform solo piano.

You are highly encouraged to bring a CD/DVD/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.).

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 rhythm section accompaniment (On-Campus preferred, or play along tracks acceptable). 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 basic saxophone and rhythm format.
  • Video is preferred, audio acceptable. 

On-Campus Audition

  • Applicants should prepare a minimum of five standard songs/jazz standards representing a variety of key centers, tempos and rhythmic format. Applicants will be evaluated on improvisational skills, melodic interpretation, and instrumental proficiency. Basic piano accompaniment will be provided; in some cases applicants will perform with a rhythm section. Performance of jazz repertoire by memory is strongly encouraged.
  • In addition to prepared selections you may be asked to demonstrate technical devices (scales, articulations), theoretical knowledge (chord scale relationships), aural 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 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 welcome and 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 & On-Campus Auditions

  • Two or three short tunes in a small group setting with drums, bass, guitar, and/or piano that demonstrate your improvisational skills.
  • Please include a variety of rhythmic feels or tempos (swing, Latin, rock, ballad, etc.)
  • You may include big band selections on which you are a featured soloist (tape only).
  • Optional - Original compositions or arrangements.

On-Campus Audition

  • In addition to prepared selections you may be asked to demonstrate technical devices (scales, articulations), theoretical knowledge (chord scales) and sight-read for rhythmic accuracy, time feel, and phrasing.

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

Jazz Trumpet

Prescreening & On-Campus Auditions

  • Two or three short tunes in a small group setting with drums, bass, guitar, and/or piano that demonstrate your improvisational skills. Include a variety of rhythmical feels or tempos (swing, Latin, rock, ballad, etc.).
  • You may include big band selections in which you are a featured soloist (recording only).
  • Optional - Original compositions or arrangements.

On-Campus Audition

  • In addition to prepared selections you may be asked to demonstrate technical devices (scales, articulations), theoretical knowledge (chord scales) and sight-read for rhythmical accuracy, time feel, and phrasing.

If there are any questions about repertoire, please contact Professor Brian Lynch.

Jazz Voice

Prescreening

The audition will consist of four (4) prepared selections as listed below:

  • Perform two (2) selections from the traditional jazz or standard repertoire at different tempos: one medium and one fast swing.
    • One of these selections should include at least one chorus of jazz improvisation. To be performed with live accompaniment (piano alone or rhythm section).
  • Perform one (1) slow tempo ballad from the standard or jazz repertoire (not in a 12/8 time feel).
    • To be performed with live accompaniment (piano alone or rhythm section).
  • Perform one (1) selection of your choice from the above or any other style (Latin, Rock, Pop, R&B, Fusion, original compositions, etc.).
    • This piece may be performed with live, self, or recorded accompaniment.

On-Campus Audition

  • Perform two (2) selections from the traditional jazz or standard repertoire at different tempos; one medium and one fast swing.
    • One of these selections should include at least one chorus of jazz improvisation. To be performed with live accompaniment (piano alone or rhythm section).
  • Perform one (1) slow tempo ballad from the standard or jazz repertoire (not in a 12/8 time feel).
    • To be performed with live accompaniment (piano alone or rhythm section).
  • Perform one (1) selection of your choice from the above or any other style (Latin, Rock, Pop, R&B, Fusion, original compositions, etc.).
    • This piece may be performed with live, self, or recorded accompaniment.
  • Applicants are encouraged, but not required, to perform different material from the pre-screening selections
  • Applicants will be asked to demonstrate sight-singing ability and aural memory. A short theory assessment will also be required at the audition.
  • An accompanist will be provided for on-campus auditions. Applicants must provide legible lead sheets prepared in his/her performance keys.

If there are any questions about repertoire, please contact Dr. Kate Reid.