The Department of Music and Theatre Arts offers a wide variety of ensembles to meet the musical and artistic needs of all students at UW - Eau Claire. The large performance ensembles, including our jazz ensembles and combos, are open to all university students, regardless of major. The jazz ensembles at UWEC will push your creative boundaries, facilitate collaboration with experts in your field and connect you with students who share your creative passion.
Jazz Audition materials will be made available two weeks before classes begin.
Jazz Ensemble auditions traditionally take place on the second and third day of classes
The Audition Experience
If you have played in the jazz ensembles at UW-Eau Claire before or miss playing in Jazz Ensemble from high school and your instrument has been collecting dust, now is the time to use your favorite tarnish remover, buy new reeds, try out new mouthpieces, start practicing and audition for one of four Jazz Ensembles. If you know how to improvise or would like to, there are also many Jazz Combos to perform in.
1. Sign Up for an audition time (Sign Up Genius will be set up a week before auditions)
2. Read all useful documents (including the audition piece(s), will be posted on this page closer to the audition dates)
3. Learn the audition piece(s) and optionally a prepared piece
Saxophones, Trumpets, Trombones
Saxophones (Alto, Tenor and Baritone), Trumpets (Lead Trumpet and Section Trumpet), Trombones (Tenor and Bass) perform a one page jazz etude with the option of soloing on a jazz standard with background track (provided by auditionee)
Rhythm Section players (Guitar, Piano, Bass and Drums) audition in a group style in the following manner.
Each Instrumentalist plays their audition etude* and their prepared piece** with the option of soloing on a jazz standard with backing track
The rhythm section ensemble plays a blues or rhythm changes piece together with soloing one chorus
Guitarists and Pianist must illustrate right both right hand reading and knowledge of left hand chord voicings
*Jazz Audition material will be made available on this page one week before auditions
**Each auditionee should bring a prepared piece that exhibits the best of their ability (Optional but highly encouraged)
At Your Audition:
1. Perform the audition piece(s)
2. Play a prepared piece (optional) can be written or improvised
Auditioning For Combos
If you are interested in playing in a combo, please let us know at your audition. Your audition for large jazz ensembles will serve as your audition for combos, with the one exception being that everyone interested in a combo must improvise at their audition. A chorus or two of blues with a play along is perfectly acceptable for this, though I would encourage people to be more ambitious if possible. Combo placements will be competitive just as large ensemble placements are. Each group will meet at least one hour per week on their own, and have coachings with Aaron Hedenstrom, Christine Hitt or Jeremy Boettcher. Like any other ensemble at UWEC, attendance at rehearsals and coachings is mandatory. All groups will have opportunities to perform around town and at special events on and off campus
Audition Questions and Answers
What do UWEC jazz auditions look like?
Jazz auditions are held the first week of each semester. Jazz auditions are very similar to any other audition. The student will prepare a solo repertoire piece and scales along with on-site sight reading during the audition. They will play in front of both Mr. Baca and Dr. Crowell at UWEC! Good luck!
What are the judges looking for?
Judges always look for sound and rhythm first! Having a good sound means having good tone, being in tune, and expressing dynamics well. They also look for good improvisation skills. You have worked hard on your audition preparation! Show them what you can do!
What makes the UWEC jazz program unique?
The jazz program at UWEC is built on a positive environment that encourages the students to constantly strive for excellence, rehearsing together, participating in combos, or getting involved off campus and in the community. Furthermore, the jazz program focuses not only technique, but real-world applications that prepare students for every facet of life.
What does a week usually look like for a student in a jazz ensemble?
Those participating in a jazz ensemble or combo usually practices 1 or more hours a day and then has 2 full jazz ensemble rehearsals every week, each one 1-2 hours long. In this class, they not only rehearse, but they discuss philosophies, performing, and sometimes they bring in guest artists like Carl Allen or Doc Severinsen!
Where are the auditions?
The auditions are either held at Haas Fine Arts Center in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. This is located On-campus across the footbridge and on Water Street!