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School of Fine ArtsMusic Department

Jazz Audition Requirements

Undergraduate Entrance Auditions

Bachelor of Music (BM)
Bachelor of Arts (BA)

All applicants must apply to the University of Connecticut and contact the Department of Music to schedule an audition. Please use the following link for instructions, application materials, audition dates, and repertoire requirements (also listed below): Application and Audition info

2017 – 2018 Undergraduate Audition Dates

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Friday, January 5, 2018

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Friday, January 12, 2018

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Fall Open House

Sunday, October 1, 2017
Sunday, October 29, 2017

Applicants who intend to enter the jazz program are encouraged to use the following audition format for initial acceptance into the music department. Please note that students are officially admitted into the jazz emphasis degree program only after successful completion of their sophomore jury. Although not considered official jazz majors as freshmen and sophomores, all students may enroll in improvisation courses, jazz history, combos, and large jazz ensembles. Private lessons in jazz replace traditional private instruction after passing the sophomore jazz jury.

  1. Required Repertoire
    1. Prepare two contrasting pieces from the jazz idiom. These should be memorized and must include performance of the melody as well as improvisation. Prerecorded accompaniment may be used (Aebersold, Ricker, Dobbins, etc.) if ‘live’ accompaniment is unavailable. The candidate is responsible for providing the audio CD or cassette tape.Recommended selections: Billie’s Bounce, Au Privave, Oleo, Solar, All the Things You Are, Body and Soul, Blue Bossa, Beautiful Love, Out of Nowhere
    2. Prepare two contrasting selections from the classical repertoire.
  2. Sight Reading
  3. Special Requirements

Drummers must demonstrate:

  • various styles at various tempos (swing, shuffle, Afro-Cuban, funk, bossa, samba, etc.)
  • proficiency with brushes as well as sticks
  • facility on mallet instruments (vibes and marimbas will be provided)
  • In addition, jazz drummers must demonstrate classical skills by performing:
    • any snare drum etude from Portraits in Rhythm by Cirone
    • a prepared mallet solo

Bass players must demonstrate the ability to improvise appropriate bass lines on each piece. Pianists must demonstrate ‘comping’ on all jazz pieces.

Jazz Emphasis Program: Declaration and Jury

After four semesters of traditional applied training, a sophomore jury will determine acceptance into the jazz emphasis program. If the student does not pass the jury on the first attempt, the student may retake the jury the following semester. The student may not take the jury more than twice.

Components of the sophomore jury

  • From the list below of 12 jazz standards, two will be performed: one selected by the faculty, and one selected by the student. These pieces must be memorized. Performances will include the melody as well as several choruses of improvisation on the song’s form.
  • Transcription: prepare a short transcription of a solo played on your instrument. A selection at a medium-tempo is recommended to best demonstrate sound, articulation, time feel and stylistic concepts. The transcription may be performed unaccompanied or along with the original recording.
  • Sight reading
  • Scales: Demonstrate fluency with all scales and technical requirements listed.
  • Drummers must
    • prepare all scales and song melodies on mallet instruments
    • include trading 4’s and/or 8’s in their performance of the memorized standards
  • Bassists must demonstrate the ability to improvise appropriate bass lines on each piece.
  • Pianists must demonstrate “comping” on all jazz pieces.

Standards for the sophomore jury

  • All The Things You Are
  • Alone Together
  • Anthropology
  • Billie’s Bounce
  • Body & Soul
  • Maiden Voyage
  • Out of Nowhere
  • Recordame
  • Solar
  • Someday My Prince Will Come
  • Stella By Starlight
  • What Is This Thing Called Love?

Scales (prepared in all 12 keys)

  • major and all major modes
  • minor (harmonic, melodic and “jazz melodic minor” forms)
  • modes of harmonic minor and “jazz melodic minor”
  • major and minor pentatonics
  • diminished (1/2, w & w, 1/2)
  • whole tone
  • augmented
  • bebop scale (mixolydian with passing tone)
  • blues

Auditions for the Jazz Ensemble, Lab Band, and Combos

Competitive auditions for all jazz groups take place during the first two days of classes each semester. Sign-up sheets are posted in the main hallway of the music building the week before classes begin. Auditions are approximately 10 minutes in duration and consist of sight reading, improvising on a 12-bar blues form or the jazz standard of your choice, and a prepared piece in any style which demonstrates what you are capable of producing with practice. Auditions are open to all UConn students regardless of academic major.

For further information

For questions regarding the application/audition process

Department of Music
Phone: (860) 486-3728
Fax: (860) 486-3796

For questions regarding the undergraduate curriculum

Dr. Peter Kaminsky
Associate Department Head for Undergraduate Studies
Phone: (860) 486-2758

For questions regarding Jazz Studies at UConn

Earl MacDonald
Director of Jazz Studies
Associate Professor of Music (Jazz)
Phone: (860) 486-0670