2023 Jazz Audition Requirements

All new and returning musicians who are interested in participating in the Jazz Ensemble must audition. Jazz auditions will be held in person.

  • Jazz audition dates: Monday, September 25, and Tuesday, September 26. 
  • Deadline to register for a jazz audition: Sunday, September 24 

Jazz Audition Requirements

  • Jazz Ensemble Auditions will last approximately 10 minutes for each applicant.
  • Prepare any jazz standard of your choice. A jazz standard means a song from theAmerican Songbook (e.g., musicals, movies) or a widely recognized jazz composition (e.g., by Charlie Parker, Mary Lou Williams, Horace Silver, Miles Davis, etc.). Do not choose a blues for your jazz standard. You will play the melody and improvise one chorus of the song. Next, the Director will ask you to identify the following theoretical components that relate to the tune’s structure: chord structures (Major 7, minor 7, dominant 7, minor 7 b5, and diminished 7), harmonic substitutions, and scale/chord relationships.
  • Be prepared to play the melody of a 12-bar blues of your choice and to improvise upon the form.
  • It is preferred that you have the two selections committed to memory, however, you may bring a lead sheet if you feel that you need one.
  • Some considerations for different instruments:
    • Pianists and guitarists: please prepare to comp on both of your tune selections.
    • Bassists: please prepare to walk bass lines for both tune selections.
    • Drummers: please prepare to sing the melody of your two selections, paying close attention to the rhythm. Drummers will perform their two selections with the Director, demonstrating accompaniment skills while performing with the Director. Drummers will also solo on the song form by trading fours and/or eights as requested by the Director.
    • Vocalists: please prepare the lyrics for your selections. If your selection (e.g., a Charlie Parker composition) does not have lyrics, please scat the melody. If you have experience with scat improvisation, the Director will ask you to improvise. You may use a lyric sheet during your audition. 

Results & First Rehearsal

  • Rosters for the ensemble will be emailed to auditionees and posted outside the Music Department Main Office (Goodspeed Hall, Room 309) and in the Logan Center for the Arts, on the Music Department Performance Program bulletin board (outside Room 214).   
  • Accepted students will be placed in the 5:30 PM–7:00 PM ensemble or the 7:30 PM–9:00 PM ensemble. If there is a conflict for either of these times, please let the Director know as soon as you have been accepted and placed.   
  • All musicians accepted for membership are expected to attend the organization’s first rehearsal (Wednesday, September 27) as announced on the posted list.  

Tips for In-Person Auditions (please read carefully)

  • Please arrive early! Each director has a very large number of auditions to hear and needs to keep on schedule.   
  • Guitarists and bassists: there will be an amp with a cable at the audition. Please arrive to your audition with your instrument out of its case and tuned, ready to play.   
  • Pianists: there will be a piano for you.   
  • Drummers: There will be a drum kit with cymbals for you to use. Please bring your sticks and brushes.  
  • All auditionees should warm up thoroughly before the audition. Practice rooms on the lower level of the Logan Center for the Arts (915 E. 60th Street) will be available for this purpose on the audition day.    
  • Remember that the goal of these auditions is to involve you in our Department of Music Performance Program, and to foster your musical growth while you are at the University of Chicago. The audition is not about playing perfectly, but honestly demonstrating your present capacity (strengths and limitations) as a musician and improviser so that the Director may develop a program for everyone’s improvement, growth, and enjoyment.

Have fun and show us what you can do!