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Ensemble Auditions  

 Show Your Stuff

There is a Place For You

Jazz Ensemble Auditions take place on the second and third day of classes.  Audition materials are located outside of Mr. Baca’s office (Haas Fine Arts 250) five days before auditions begin. Combo auditions take place during the Big Band auditions.

When Big Bands Meet

Jazz Ensemble I      M,W     12:00-12:50pm  Friday  12:00-1:50pm

Jazz Ensemble II     T,TH    12:00-12:50pm 

Jazz Ensemble III    T,TH      1:00-1:50pm

Jazz Ensemble IV   M,W       1:00-1:50pm

Jazz Ensemble V   TBD    Evening

Combos are taught by Richard Johnson, Jeremy Boettcher, and Michael Shults.

Audition Tips

1. Play a prepared piece. (We want to hear you at your very best.) This should not exceed one minute.

2. Prepare music taken from the packet with your instrument name on it.

3.  Saxophones:  Play as many doubles as possible in your prepared pieces.These pieces need be 12 measures or less.Doubles ability makes a difference!

4.  Improvising:  Each ensemble needs improvisors.This can make a difference.

5. Lead Trumpet Audition Piece:If you would like to also play lead trumpet, there is a special audition part to play.  If you do not make a lead trumpet chair you may still play a section part.

6.  What we are looking for: Tone Color, Pitch, Rhythm, Style and Creating a Groove in the music are what we will listen for.  If the music is too difficult, play it slower until the musicalattributes listed above are achieved.Tempo should not be a first priority.

7. Audition regardless of your ability. The music is meant to challenge all levels of ability.   

 More Details

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 faculty for 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. 

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 Jamey Aebersold Jazz CD. 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 prepare 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. Drum sets player will be given a small group tune and asked to play the intent of the tune by themselves with solo to jazz faculty. Drum set players should be able to demonstrate all styles including, but not limited to: slow, Medium, Up Tempo swing, funk, shuffle, samba, bossa nova, jazz waltz, etc. Drum set players will be asked to play a blues and/or rhythm changes with guitar, piano, bass and solo on fours.

 A Word About Audition Results

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.

Since auditions are held each semester, it is possible for a student to work extremely hard one semester and audition into a lower band the next.  Know that as the standard rises, the jazz studies faculty will do everything possible to help students gain new insights into their playing as new challenges emerge. A student may undergo many auditions and interviews in their lifetime with varying results. Students are encouraged to use this audition experience as a positive educational process so that they may profit from the opportunity.

 Jazz Scholarships

Jazz Scholarships are available to students based on need and ability.  To audition for a jazz scholarship, send a digital recording of yourself performing a standard jazz composition with an electronic rhythm section, live players or feature or solo with your big band.  Scholarships are available for original composition/arrangement abilities, rhythm section instruments, improvisation, saxophone doubles and lead trumpet.