Jazz Auditions — Autumn 2023


Auditions are required for participation in any big band, combo, the Show Band and for applied instruction. Music majors and non-majors are welcome to join!

Auditions are held during the first week of autumn semester. Follow the 3-step Audition Process below.

  • Instrumentalists (brass, saxes/woodwinds, rhythm players) will be asked to (1) prepare excerpts for their instrument/s, (2) sight read jazz charts and (3) play short improvisations at their audition. See Preparations and Excerpts below.
  • Vocalists are expected to (1) demonstrate vocal range, (2) sing an unaccompanied song of their choice and (3) demonstrate ability to harmonize at audition.

Finally, be sure to read "After the Auditions" information at the end of this page. 

Audition Process

STEP 1: All students must complete the Jazz Audition Registration Form (required) at least one day prior to the scheduled date for your instrument or voice.

Jazz Audition Registration Form

STEP 2: Schedule your audition via SignUpGenius prior to audition week (required).

  • Woodwinds — Tuesday, Aug. 22 from 10 a.m.–2 p.m.
  • Voice and Bass — Tuesday and Thursday, Aug. 22 and 24 from 3:45–5 p.m.
  • Drum Set — Wednesday, Aug. 23 from 9:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m.

STEP 3: Prepare the audition requirement and excerpts listed below for your instrument. 

QUESTIONS?  Email the faculty member for your instrument/voice as noted in the Contact section below.

We have openings for the following ensembles:

  • All Brass and Rhythm Section in Jazz Ensemble (Class times: Tue./Thu. 1:50–3:55 p.m.)
  • All Brass and Rhythm Section in Jazz Lab Band (Class times: Tue./Thu. 1:50–3:55 p.m.)
  • All Brass and Rhythm Section in Jazz Workshop Band (Class times: Mon./Wed. 1:50–3:55 p.m.)
  • Various Jazz Combos (Class times are listed on the Audition Registration Form)
  • Vocalists for Gospel Choir — no audition required (Class times: Tue./Thu. 5:20–6:15 p.m.)
  • Vocalists for Show Band (Class time: Monday 6:30–8:45 p.m.)

Preparations and Excerpts

Bring your bass, cable and music. An amp and music stand will be provided.
You will be asked the following:

  • Play a walking bass line for a jazz blues in Bb or F and improvise over the blues
  • Sight read an intermediate-level arrangement
  • Walk a bass line to excerpt(s) below
  • Play prepared piece excerpt(s) below
  • Jazz bass excerpts "Frankly Speaking!" / "Without a Song" [pdf]

Bring your guitar, cable and music. An amp and music stand will be provided.
You will be asked the following:

  • Comp (play chords) and improvise to a blues in the key of Bb or F
  • Play chords (min 7, maj 7, sus4, min 11, min 9, maj 9, dom 7, dom 9, dom 7b9, dom 7#9, dom 7b5)
  • Read chord chart from fakebook
  • Sight read melody from fakebook
  • Improvise over and comp (play chords/accompaniment) to "Frankly Speaking!" / "Without a Song" [pdf] excerpts

You will be asked the play the piece(s) below, and possibly play grooves in a variety of styles as well as sight read a chart. You need only bring your stick bag, as a complete set will be provided.


SAXOPHONE ("Frankly Speaking!" / "Without a Song")




  • Demonstrate vocal range
  • Sing an unaccompanied song of your choice
  • Demonstrate ability to harmonize at audition

Questions? Contact:

Saxophones and Woodwinds (flute/clarinet
Shawn Wallace and Robert Brooks

Voice and Bass 
Lara Brooks (voice) and Milton V. Ruffin (bass)

Drum Set 
Jim Rupp and Mike Smith

Trumpet and Trombone 
John Douglas (trumpet) and Chris Anderson (trombone)

Guitar and Piano 
Kevin Turner (guitar) and Dave Powers (piano)

After the Auditions

Personnel lists will be posted on the bulletin board across from the Weigel Hall first floor elevator, located behind the main office.

All students participating in jazz ensembles and lessons must attend a Jazz Studies area meeting to be held Sunday evening, August 27 from 6–7 p.m. in Timashev Recital Hall.

Rehearsals begin the first week of classes.

General Questions?

Email Mike Smith, coordinator of Jazz Studies.

[pdf] — Some links above are to PDF files requiring Adobe Reader. If you need them in a more accessible format, please contact us.