print header

Ensemble Auditions  

Purpose of Auditions

The purpose of the auditions are threefold. First, they provide an opportunity for the person not enrolled in any jazz ensemble to be placed in a group of like ability. Second, they provide an opportunity for students who have been working extremely hard to move up to a group commensurate with his/her demonstrated ability. Third, they place the student in a real situation that exists in the professional/educational world; that of auditioning before a panel of evaluators. The more experience students can receive the better prepared they will be to deal with the audition process outside of school.

The Jazz Studies Area faculty believe that by having ensembles composed of those whose abilities are as nearly the same as possible, students in all groups will receive the best and most thorough education. It is the intent of the Jazz Studies Area to make these auditions as positive as possible. Students may speak with Jazz Studies facultyfor an evaluation of their audition after the results are posted. In this way the students receive input from the jazz faculty to assist the students' improvement. We realize that moving down a band can be unpleasant and that feelings may be hurt. We also ask that students trust our judgment in helping the player to become a better jazz performer and better future jazz educator by placing the student in an organization we believe will better facilitate the learning process. We will be happy to discuss the audition process or results at any time. We encourage questions and comments. Please note that the regular applied faculty will be invited to all auditions. 

Audition Materials - Fall Semester

Audition materials may be picked up one week before classes begin outside of the Jazz Studies Office (Fine Arts 250). Auditions are held traditionally during the first week of classes. Sign up lists, directions for audition procedures, and scheduled times are located outside of the Jazz Studies Office (Fine Arts 250).

Large Jazz Ensembles - Winds Only (non-jazz chair)

Audition materials consist of a jazz etude, scales and possible sight reading. Auditionees are encouraged to bring a prepared piece to the audition to exemplify their strengths. During the audition, consideration will be given to style, range, tone, intonation and aggressiveness. Several styles such as swing, funk, ballad, and Latin may be used in the audition. Please read the suggestions for audition on the audition instructions outside the jazz studies office.

Small Jazz Ensembles, Combos, Jazz Chairs

Those students interested in playing a jazz chair in a jazz ensemble and/or playing in a jazz combo will go through a large jazz audition first. After this audition, students interested in improvisation will be asked to play changes prepared and at sight from the Aebersold Jazz Records. A jazz studies faculty member will select the tunes.

Large Jazz Ensembles/Small Combos - Rhythm Section Players

All student rhythm section players will play in a group setting with other auditionees. Each student will be asked to read a variety of jazz literature as well as comping in several styles. In addition each rhythm section player will be asked to solo over changes. Drummers should know all styles of drumming including, but not limited to: tempo, swing, medium groove, funk, shuffle, samba, bossa nova, jazz waltz, etc. Drummers will be asked to play some of these styles without the rest of the rhythm section. Drummers may be asked to play four measures of time in any style and four measures of solo.

Auditions - Spring Semester

Because so much emphasis on successful jazz playing is based on sight-reading, the sole basis for placement in a large jazz ensemble for the spring semester will be sight-reading. An optional prepared piece is also recommended. Again, during the audition, consideration will be given to style, tone, intonation and aggressiveness. Several styles such as swing, funk, ballad may be used in the audition. Read carefully the audition suggestions posted outside of the Jazz Studies Office (Fine Arts Room 250). 

A Word About Audition Results

Although being placed in a group that the student believes is below their ability seems to be an unpleasant experience, the jazz studies faculty will do everything possible to see that the students gain new insights into their playing as a result of the audition evaluation. Students should understand that the audition is based on how a particular person plays at that particular time and day, and under those specific circumstances. A student may undergo many auditions and interviews in their lifetime. Students are encouraged to use this audition experience as a positive educational process so that they may profit from the opportunity.

Show Your Stuff

What do you really sound like?

Bring a prepared piece to your audition (should be a medium to up tempo swing style)

Playing a prepared piece is optional

Excellence. Our Measure. Our Motto. Our Goal.