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Jazz Studies Audition Requirements

All applicants will submit the following application materials based on their desired degree program. For area-specific audition requirements, please scroll down or use these buttons to navigate to the appropriate area.

APPLICATION REQUIREMENTS FOR UNDERGRADUATE DEGREE PROGRAMS

  • Complete the UNC Undergraduate Application
  • After submitting your application, upload and complete the following School of Music Checklist Items in your Bear App Portal
    • School of Music Supplementary Application, which includes
      • Virtual Interview Scheduling
      • Musical Experience
      • Contact information for 2 music recommenders
    • Statement of Goals - a brief statement about your career aspirations. Please upload a .pdf document.
    • Video Audition
      • PLEASE NOTE: all audition videos must be upload to the portfolio section of your portal at the same time. After saving your submission, you will no longer have access to the portfolio. If at any time you need to edit your portfolio contents, please email Music@unco.edu

APPLICATION REQUIREMENTS FOR GRADUATE DEGREE PROGRAMS

  • Complete all Graduate School Application Requirements for your degree program and a UNC Application
    • Graduate Students will submit audition videos in the portfolio as part of the UNC Application.
  • After submitting your application, upload and complete the following School of Music Checklist Items in your Graduate School Admissions Portal:
    • Resume - a complete listing of your performing and work experience. Please upload a .pdf document.
    • Statement of Goals - a brief statement about your career aspirations. Please upload a .pdf document.
    • School of Music Form - includes Virtual Interview Scheduling, musical experience, and past teachers.
    • Assistantship Letter of Experience (optional but strongly recommended) - a brief statement about your teaching or professional experience as it relates to music. Please upload a .pdf document.

Certain instruments/areas ask for additional materials.  Please read carefully!

Note: Accompanists are not required, but the applicant may provide one.


Jazz Bass

Audition Requirements for Undergraduate Degrees

All auditions for Fall 2021 will be remote video audition.

  • Create and submit videos of your performances.
  • Play the melody (head), a stylistically appropriate bass line, and improvise a solo on:
    • A blues from typical jazz repertoire (medium or up-tempo swing)- for example: Billie’s Bounce or Straight, No Chaser, etc.
    • A standard jazz tune (medium or up-tempo swing)- for example, Take The ‘A” Train or Autumn Leaves, etc.
    • A tune in a Bossa Nova, Samba, or Straight 8th-note feel- for example, Blue Bossa or Song For My Father, etc.
    • These can be done with other musicians (drums and a comping instrument) either recorded live or remotely, or with backing tracks such as those by Jamey Aebersold or on iRealPro.
  • Perform a jazz etude such as those in “Jazz Conception” by Jim Snidero or “Jazz and Funk Etudes” by Bob Mintzer, or similar.
  • Major, harmonic minor, and melodic minor scales, 2 octaves (3 different keys of your choice)

Electric Bass

  • Students intending to focus on jazz while pursuing either BA, BM-Business, BM- composition, or BME degree programs may choose electric bass as a main instrument. In this case, applicants should follow the audition requirements as listed above.
  • Students intending to pursue the BM- Jazz Studies degree may audition on electric bass, but should understand that studying the acoustic double bass will be the primary focus in that degree program.

Audition Requirements for Master of Music and Graduate Performance Certificate

All auditions for Fall 2021 will be remote video audition.

  • Create and submit videos of your performances.
  • Perform five selections in contrasting styles and tempos, focusing on standard tunes (“Great American Songbook”) and jazz compositions (songs by jazz musicians such as Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Horace Silver, etc.). One original composition may be included. Play the melody, appropriate bass lines/styles, and solo on each song.
  • These can be done with other musicians (drums and a comping instrument) either recorded live or remotely, or with backing tracks such as those by Jamey Aebersold or on iRealPro.

Audition Requirements for Doctor of Arts

All auditions for Fall 2021 will be remote video audition.

  • Create and submit videos of your performances.
  • Perform five selections in contrasting styles and tempos, focusing on standard tunes (“Great American Songbook”) and jazz compositions (songs by jazz musicians such as Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Horace Silver, etc.). One original composition may be included. Play the melody, appropriate bass lines/styles, and solo on each song.
  • These can be done with other musicians (drums and a comping instrument) either recorded live or remotely, or with backing tracks such as those by Jamey Aebersold or on iRealPro.

Contact:

Erik Applegate at Erik.Applegate@unco.edu


Guitar

Audition Requirements for Undergraduate Degrees and Graduate Performance Certificate

  • Perform something in a jazz style, i.e. solo arrangement of a jazz tune or transcription
  • Play the melody, improvise a solo, and comp changes on:
    • A blues (medium swing ex. "Billie's Bounce")
    • A standard tune from the jazz repertoire (med-up tempo)
  • Perform selected major and minor scales in 3 octaves
  • Sight-reading
  • Note: No accompanist is needed. The student will be accompanied by UNC Jazz Studies Faculty. 

Audition Requirements for Master of Music

  • Prescreen
    • Upload to the application a video of the applicant performing a solo chord-melody piece.
  • For MM applicants, either an on campus audition or an audition recording is required (an on campus audition is preferred and recommended).
  • All graduate student applicants will perform with a rhythm section consisting of jazz faculty. Applicants should be prepared to perform three contrasting jazz pieces.
  • Applicants may be asked to sight-read.
  • Recorded auditions: (If no on campus auditions can be arranged)
    • Three contrasting jazz pieces
Additional Application Requirements for Master of Music
  • Upload to the application a video of the applicant performing a solo chord-melody piece.

Audition Requirements for Doctor of Arts

  • Prescreen
    • Upload to the application a video of the applicant performing a solo chord-melody piece. 
  • All graduate student applicants will perform with a rhythm section consisting of jazz faculty. Applicants should be prepared to perform three contrasting jazz pieces.
  • Applicants may be asked to sight-read.
Additional Application Requirements for Doctor of Arts
  • Upload to the application a video of the applicant performing a solo chord-melody piece.

Contact:

Steven Kovalcheck at Steven.Kovalcheck@unco.edu


Drumset

All auditions for Fall 2021 will be remote video audition.

Audition Requirements for Undergraduate Degrees and Graduate Performance Certificate

  • Submit video recordings of performances of:
    • A rudimental snare drum solo
    • A concert snare drum solo
    • A mallet piece (either two mallet or four)
    • A timpani piece (optional)
  • Submit video recordings of performances of various styles demonstrating your ability to play time and solo in each style. Can be submitted separately or as one video:
    • Medium Swing, quarter note = 130 bpm (two 32-bar choruses trading 4 bars of time, 4 bars solo)
    • Up-tempo Swing, quarter note = 240 bpm (three 32-bar choruses trading 8 bars time, 8 bar solo)
    • Jazz Ballad, quarter note = 60 bpm with brushes (16 bars— no trading/solo)
    • Bossa Nova, quarter note = 116 bpm (16 bars- no trading/solo)
    • Jazz Samba, half note = 90 bpm (64 bars trading 8 bars time, 8 bars solo)
    • 16th Note Funk, quarter note = 94 bpm (16 bars-no trading/solo)
    • 8th Note Rick, quarter note = 110 bpm (16 bars, no trading/solo)
    • Jazz Waltz, quarter note = 176 (64 bars, 8 bars time, 8 bars solo)
  • Submit a video demonstrating improvisational ability by playing a 12-bar blues in the following manner:
    • Interpret the melody of a blues head on the drum set (ex. “Au Privave,” “Billie’s Bounce,” “Straight, No Chaser,” etc).
    • Perform the head two times followed by a chorus of time, followed by 4 choruses of solo improvisation over the form. Finally, play a statement of the melody one time to finish the piece.
  • In addition, please submit any videos of yourself performing with other musicians that you may have. This could be a big band and/or small group recording.

Audition Requirements for Master of Music and

Doctor of Arts

  • Submit a video featuring the applicant performing with a combo or big band.
  • Submit videos of performances of three contrasting jazz pieces. Demonstrate your ability to play time, comp, and improvise solos.
    • These can be done with other musicians (bass, a comping instrument, and an optional horn soloist) either recorded live or remotely.

Contact:

Jim White at Jim.White@unco.edu


Piano

All auditions for Fall 2021 will be remote video audition.

Audition Requirements for Undergraduate Degrees and Graduate Performance Certificate

  • Submit video recordings of three contrasting pieces from the standard jazz repertoire. Play the melody, improvise over the form, and demonstrate the ability to comp over the changes. One of these pieces should be solo piano, the others can be done with other musicians (drums and bass) either recorded live or remotely, or with backing tracks such as those by Jamey Aebersold.
  • Submit a video recording of a medium or up-tempo blues and improvise over the form, done with other musicians (drums and bass) either recorded live or remotely, or with backing tracks such as those by Jamey Aebersold.
  • OPTIONAL: Submit a video recording of a performance of an original composition.

Audition Requirements for Master of Music and 

Doctor of Arts

  • Submit video recordings of four contrasting pieces from the standard jazz repertoire. Play the melody, improvise over the form, and demonstrate the ability to comp over the changes. One of these pieces should be solo piano, the others can be done with other musicians (drums and bass) either recorded live or remotely, or with backing tracks such as those by Jamey Aebersold.
  • Submit a video recording of a medium or up-tempo blues and improvise over the form, done with other musicians (drums and bass) either recorded live or remotely, or with backing tracks such as those by Jamey Aebersold.
  • OPTIONAL: Submit a video recording of a performance of an original composition.

Contact:

Dana Landry at Dana.Landry@unco.edu


Saxophone

All auditions for Fall 2021 will be remote video audition.

Audition Requirements for Undergraduate Degrees

  • Submit video recordings of:
    • Three Major scales (applicant’s choice), two octaves ascending and descending.
    • Two contrasting selections from standard jazz repertoire- play the head and improvise on the form for three choruses.
    • Play a medium or up-tempo blues and improvise over the form (four choruses).
      • The above can be done with other musicians (drums, bass, and a comping instrument) either recorded live or remotely, or with backing tracks such as those by Jamey Aebersold or on iRealPro.
    • A classical selection that demonstrates technical and musical proficiency.
    • A jazz etude or transcription. For transcriptions, play along with the original recording. Etudes can be performed alone or with accompanying backing track as appropriate.
  • OPTIONAL additions:
    • The applicant may play short excerpts on doubles if they wish.
    • Applicants may show original jazz compositions.

Audition Requirements for Master of Music, Doctor of Arts, and Graduate Performance Certificate

  • Submit video recordings of:
    • Three contrasting selections from standard jazz repertoire- play the head and improvise on the form for four choruses.
    • Play a medium or up-tempo blues and improvise over the form (six choruses).
      • The above can be done with other musicians (drums, bass, and a comping instrument) either recorded live or remotely, or with backing tracks such as those by Jamey Aebersold or on iRealPro.
    • A transcription of an improvised solo by an influential jazz saxophonist. Play along with the original recording.
  • OPTIONAL additions:
    • The applicant may play short excerpts on doubles if they wish.
    • Applicants may show original jazz compositions.

Contact:

Drew Zaremba at Drew.Zaremba@unco.edu or Andrew Dahlke at Andrew.Dahlke@unco.edu


Trombone

Audition Requirements for Undergraduate Degrees

  • Perform something in a jazz style, i.e. jazz etude or transcription
  • Play the melody (head) and improvise one or two choruses with a live or recorded background on:
      • a blues (medium or up-tempo)
      • a standard tune
      • a tune in a contrasting style of your choice (ballad, Latin, funk/groove, etc.)
  • A short classical solo or etude of your choice that demonstrates your musical and technical abilities.

Audition Requirements for Master of Music and Graduate Performance Certificate

  • Perform the melody and improvise from memory at least three contrasting jazz selections. To be performed with a rhythm section or backing tracks.
  • Perform a transcription or jazz etude that demonstrates your musical and technical abilities
  • Perform at least one short classical solo or etude that demonstrates your musical and technical abilities.

Audition Requirements for Doctor of Arts

  • Perform the melody and improvise from memory at least three contrasting jazz selections. To be performed with rhythm section or backing tracks.
  • Perform a transcription or jazz etude that demonstrates your musical and technical abilities
  • Perform at least one short classical solo or etude that demonstrates your musical and technical abilities.

Contact:

Nat Wickham at Nat.Wickham@unco.edu


Trumpet

All auditions for Fall 2021 will be remote video audition.

Audition Requirements for Undergraduate Degrees

  • Submit video recordings of two contrasting pieces form the standard jazz repertoire. Play the melody and improvise over the form.
  • Play a medium or up-tempo blues and improvise over the form
    • The above can be done with other musicians (drums, bass, and a comping instrument) either recorded live or remotely, or with backing tracks such as those by Jamey Aebersold or on iRealPro.
  • Submit a video recording of a transcription or etude that demonstrates the applicant’s musical capabilities. For transcriptions, play along with the original recording. Etudes can be performed alone or with accompanying backing track as appropriate.

Audition Requirements for Master of Music

  • Submit video recordings of three contrasting pieces form the standard jazz repertoire. Play the melody and improvise over the form.
    • This can be done with other musicians (drums, bass, and a comping instrument) either recorded live or remotely, or with backing tracks such as those by Jamey Aebersold or on iRealPro.
  • Submit a video recording of a transcription or etude that demonstrates the applicant’s musical capabilities. For transcriptions, play along with the original recording. Etudes can be performed alone or with accompanying backing track as appropriate.

Audition Requirements for Doctor of Arts, and Graduate Performance Certificate

  • Submit video recordings of three contrasting pieces form the standard jazz repertoire. Play the melody and improvise over the form
    • This can be done with other musicians (drums, bass, and a comping instrument) either recorded live or remotely, or with backing tracks such as those by Jamey Aebersold or on iRealPro.
  • Submit a video recording of a transcription or etude that demonstrates the applicant’s musical capabilities. For transcriptions, play along with the original recording. Etudes can be performed alone or with accompanying backing track as appropriate.

Contact:

Brian Casey at Brian.Casey@unco.edu


Vocal Jazz

All auditions for Fall 2021 will be remote video audition.

Audition Requirements for Undergraduate Jazz Voice - Performance and Music Education

  • Submit a video recording of a performance of a solo “transcription” by singing along with the original recording of an improvised solo by a jazz vocalist or instrumentalist.. Match the melodic, rhythmic and stylistic content of the solo as much as possible. Examples of acceptable artists for the source for your transcription: Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Mel Torme, Jon Hendricks, Dianne Reeves, Nancy King, Kurt Elling, Bobby McFerrin, Miles Davis, Chet Baker, Charlie Parker, Hank Mobley, JJ Johnson, Sonny Rollins, Chick Corea, Clifford Brown, Stan Getz.
  • Submit video recordings of performances of two jazz songs with accompaniment (see below). One selection should be performed in a swing style and should include one chorus of improvised scat singing. A second selection should be in a ballad style/tempo, singing through the full form once, then returning to the half-way point of the form and singing to the end in a more embellished manner, improvising on the original melody. These can be done with other musicians (drums and a comping instrument) either recorded live or remotely, or with backing tracks such as those by Jamey Aebersold or on iRealPro.

Audition Requirements for Undergraduate Jazz Voice - Music Business

  • Submit video recordings of performances of two jazz songs with accompaniment (see below). One selection should be performed in a swing style and should include one chorus of improvised scat singing. A second selection should be in a ballad style/tempo, singing through the full form once, then returning to the half-way point of the form and singing to the end in a more embellished manner, improvising on the original melody. These can be done with other musicians (drums and a comping instrument) either recorded live or remotely, or with backing tracks such as those by Jamey Aebersold or on iRealPro.

Audition Requirements for Master of Music and

Doctor of Arts

  • Submit a video recording of a performance of a solo “transcription” by singing along with a recording of an originally improvised solo by a jazz vocalist or instrumentalist. Match the melodic, rhythmic and stylistic content of the solo as much as possible.
  • Submit video recordings of performances of three jazz songs. One selection should be performed in a swing style and should include two choruses of improvised scat singing. A second selection should be in a ballad style/tempo, singing through the full form once, then returning to the half-way point of the form and singing to the end in a more embellished manner, improvising on the original melody. A third selection should be in a style/tempo that contrasts with the first two selections, and may optionally be in a bossa-nova, samba, funk, pop or R&B style. You may wish to use your third selection to highlight any particular stylistic vocal skills that you feel allow to you stand out. These can be done with other musicians (drums and a comping instrument) either recorded live or remotely, or with backing tracks such as those by Jamey Aebersold or on iRealPro.

Contact:

Brian Casey at Brian.Casey@unco.edu


Jazz Composition

Additional application requirements for Master of Music
  • Upload to the application/admission portal a Jazz Composition Portfolio
    • All representative work must be prepared in computer notation format (Finale or Sibelius, exported to PDF), and be accompanied by a recording (audio of live performance in mp3 format) submitted in electronic format. MIDI performance is accepted, but live performance is strongly preferred. Submit the following:
      • two pieces for modern jazz big band in two different styles, preferably one arrangement and one composition.
      • two pieces for rhythm section and at least three horns, preferably one arrangement and one composition.

**Composition portfolio recordings will be uploaded as part of our application portfolio, prior to submission. The accompanying scores will be uploaded via your admission portal.** 

Performance audition on your respective instrument

The requirements for the on-campus audition are as follows:

  • All graduate student applicants will perform with a rhythm section consisting of jazz faculty.
  • Applicants should be prepared to perform three contrasting jazz pieces. Applicants may be asked to sight-read and demonstrate basic piano comping skills.
  • If the applicant is unable to make an on-campus audition, please submit 3 videos of you performing on your instrument or voice.
    • Include one uptempo (q=240 or faster) jazz standard
    • Include one ballad jazz standard
    • Include one piece of your choice.
  • Additionally, demonstrate your level of piano comping skills by playing half-note chords to the A and B section of "Misty", using the left hand in the bass register, and using your right hand to play 4 note voicings.

Contact:

Drew Zaremba at Drew.Zaremba@unco.edu

Additional application requirements for Doctor of Arts
  • Upload to the application/admission portal a Jazz Composition Portfolio
    • All representative work must be prepared in computer notation format (Finale or Sibelius, exported to PDF), accompanied by a recording (audio of live performance in mp3 format) submitted in electronic format. MIDI performance is accepted, but live performance is strongly preferred. Submit the following: 
      • three pieces for modern jazz big band in two different styles (preferably one arrangement and two compositions)
      • two pieces for rhythm section and at least three horns (preferably one arrangement and one composition)
      • at least one (preferably two) compositions for rhythm section and more than three horns/voice, vocal ensemble, or orchestral writing (strings, orch winds, etc.)
      • upload to the admission portal a list of completed works.
        • Compile a complete list of all arrangements and compositions you have written that have been performed live or recorded, noting the instrumentation, the presence of a commission, or a professional recording.

**Composition portfolio recordings will be uploaded as part of our application portfolio, prior to submission. The accompanying scores will be uploaded via your admission portal.**

Performance audition on your respective instrument

The requirements for the on-campus audition are as follows:

  • All graduate student applicants will perform with a rhythm section consisting of jazz faculty. Applicants should be prepared to perform three contrasting jazz pieces.
  • Applicants may be asked to sight-read and demonstrate basic piano comping skills.
  • If the applicant is unable to make an on-campus audition, please submit 3 videos of you performing on your instrument or voice.
    • Include one uptempo (q=240 or faster) jazz standard
    • Include one ballad jazz standard
    • Include one piece of your choice.
  • Additionally, demonstrate your level of piano comping skills by playing half-note chords to the A and B section of "Misty", using the left hand in the bass register, and using your right hand to play 4 note voicings.

Contact:

Drew Zaremba at Drew.Zaremba@unco.edu