Jazz Studies - Program and Auditions Information

Auditions are required of anyone wishing to obtain the Bachelor of Music in Jazz Studies, the Masters of Music in Performance (jazz) or to be considered for scholarship funds. For further information on the admission process, see admission procedures.

Instrumental auditions consist of several elements. Chordal instruments (Guitar, Vibes, Piano), be prepared to also comp through the changes of the below standards. (Bassists and Drummers, see below):

  1. Sight Reading
  2. Scales - all scales should be performed full range
    • Incoming Freshmen: Major scales in all 12 keys
    • Sophomores: Same as freshman plus natural, melodic, and harmonic minor scales in 12 keys
    • Juniors: Same as sophomores plus bebop scales in 12 keys
    • Seniors and Graduate Students: Same as juniors plus pentatonic scales in 12 keys
  3. Prepared material. Visit the prepared material page to access pdfs of suggested prepared material.
  4. Improvisation.
    1. Undergraduate: You will be asked to improvise over a blues as well as one standard from the following list, accompanied by a Jamey Aebersold recording. The jazz studies director(s) will choose the tune from the following list:
      • Bye Bye Blackbird
      • All the Things You Are
      • I've Got Rhythm (rhythm changes in Bb)
      • Autumn Leaves
      • Blue Bossa
      • What Is This Thing Called Love
      • Someday My Prince Will Come
      • Confirmation
    2. Graduate: You will be asked to improvise over one song of your choosing. Please choose a standard or jazz standard with functional chord changes, and bring an accompaniment recording with you on CD (i.e. a Jamey Aebersold recording, etc.). You will be asked to improvise in two different styles - the admissions committee will provide you with a second tune over which to improvise. Contact the jazz studies faculty with specific questions.

´╗┐Bassists: In addition to preparing the items in #1, #2, and #4 from above, we would like for you to demonstrate a walking bass line over a 12-bar blues for several choruses, as well as over chord changes to a song we provide at the audition. We may ask you to demonstrate a 2-beat feel, bossa nova, samba, or other styles. You do not need to prepare the items in #3 until the auditions for band placement.

Drummers: We would like you to demonstrate the following feels:

  • Medium swing (sticks and brushes)
  • Fast swing (sticks and brushes)
  • Bossa Nova
  • Samba
  • Funk
  • Ballad (w/ brushes)
  • 2-beat
  • 12/8 Afro-Cuban

In addition, you will be asked to sight-read big-band style charts and demonstrate your ability to set-up figures and play the chart. You will also be asked to trade 8s with yourself (i.e., 8 bars of time, 8 bars of soloing, etc). There is also a prepared excerpt posted on the prepared materials page.