Audition Information for Jazz Ensembles

GENERAL AUDITION INFORMATION 

JAZZ SAXOPHONE AUDITION INFORMATION

Contact Chip McNeill

The audition will consist of sight-reading some jazz charts and improvising on a blues in the key of your choice and improvising on one of these jazz standards: All The Things You Are in A-flat, Just Friends in F or G, Stella By Starlight in B-flat.

JAZZ VOICE AUDITION INFORMATION (Updated for 2022)

Contact Barrington Coleman

Auditions for the Jazz Vocal Combos will occur Monday, Aug 22 from 2-5pm and Tuesday, Aug 23 between 8:00-10:00 PM in the studio of Prof. Coleman (Smith Memorial Hall, Room 203)

These auditions are expected to last about 7-8 minutes. Email Prof. Coleman to schedule a time. 

Required song selections: Two jazz standards in contrasting styles

  • One medium –or- fast tempo swing piece, such as "All of me," by Seymour Simons / Gerald Marks or "All the things you are," by Jerome Kern.
  • One ballad such as "Someone to watch over me," by George Gershwin or "When I fall in love," by Victor Young.
  • And an optional free improvisation on blues progressions.

Such material may be drawn from the Great American Standard Songbook tradition.

Please provide charts of your song selections in your preferred keys.

Source material may be found in hard copy or online access to the Real Book collection of lead sheets. Jamey Aebersold Play-A-Long audition tracks may also be used for your live audition session.

Aural skills & sight-singing review; Brief excerpts of songs will be extracted to evaluate your skill set, in addition to examples of melodies that you will be requested to sing by rote or aural recall.

JAZZ TRUMPET AUDITION INFORMATION

Contact Tito Carrillo

For Big Band Placement

  • Select major scales and possibly other modes (two octaves when possible), and a two octave C chromatic scale.
  • A prepared piece of your choice (a jazz etude, solo transcription, bebop head(s), big band chart excerpt, or a classical piece/etude).
  • Sight-reading
  • Improvisation (optional if only auditioning for large ensembles). You may improvise over a 12-bar blues in Bb or F (Now’s The Time, Billie’s Bounce, Tenor Madness, Sonnymoon For Two, etc.) or any standard jazz tune. 

For Jazz Combo Placement (and Big Band placement, if desired)

You must improvise over the following:

  • Select major scales and possibly other modes (two octaves when possible), and a two octave C chromatic scale. 
  • A 12-bar blues
  • A medium-tempo standard tune (ex. There Will Never Be Another You, Stella  by Starlight, All The Things You Are, etc.)
  • A rhythm changes composition (ex. Oleo, Lester Leaps In, Anthropology, etc.)    

 

JAZZ TROMBONE AUDITION INFORMATION (updated July 6)

Contact Jim Pugh

1) A prepared piece of your choice (any style - I want to hear you play something that you're comfortable with)

2) Sight reading (selected from traditional big band arrangements)

3) Possibly a few scales (Major, 2 octaves when feasible; possibly church mode scales as well - dorian, phrygian, etc.) 

4) Improvisation - OPTIONAL -  if you have some improvisation experience; so that the director of whichever band you're in knows your level and that you'd like to have soloing opportunities.  For accompaniment tracks, just bring whatever device(s) you've been working with - we're set up to easily play from phones or other devices.  If it's a specific mp3 track, you could always email it to me before your audition time.

Email Prof. Pugh directly (jimpugh@illinois.edu) if you need play-along tracks.

JAZZ PIANO/VIBES AUDITION INFORMATION

Contact John “Chip” Stephens

The audition will consist of:

1. Sight-reading some jazz charts and improvising on one of these jazz standards: All The Things You Are in A-flat, Just Friends in F or G, and Stella By Starlight in B-flat. The following repertoire is required of all students auditioning:

2. Blues in the key of F - melody plus improvising & comping.

3. B-flat Rhythm changes – melody plus improvising & comping. (Pianists, guitarist and vibraphonists must demonstrate their ability to comp effectively on the above material.  Bassists must demonstrate their ability to walk bass lines on the above material.

4. A solo composition of your choice; jazz standard, ballad, original etc.

5. Sight reading

JAZZ GUITAR AUDITION INFORMATION - UPDATED 5/27/2022

Contact Larry Gray

Sign-up will be posted in late summer.

Auditions will be August 22 (CORRECTED, if you missed the date, please contact Prof. Gray!), between 1:00pm and 6:00pm in Smith Hall Room 101. For each tune play the melody and solo. Also show some chordal playing, either soloistic block chords or comping. You will be playing live with Prof. Gray also playing guitar. During the audition you may be asked to play other material of your own choosing and to do some sightreading. Auditions are 10 minutes long. Amp and cable provided.

  1. Gone With The Wind 
  2. Ornithology 

Please email Prof. Gray if you have questions at lwgray@illinois.edu
 

JAZZ BASS AUDITION INFORMATION - UPDATED 8/3/2021

Contact Larry Gray

Sign-up will be posted in late summer.

Auditions will be August 23, between 1:00pm and 6:00pm in Smith Hall Room 101. For each tune play the melody, walk and solo. You should prepare one chorus of each but can do more if you like. You will be playing live with Prof. Gray at the piano. During the audition you may be asked to play other material of your own choosing and to do some sightreading of bass parts. Auditions are 10 minutes long. For electric bassists, amp and cable are provided.

  1. Yardbird Suite
  2. I’m Old Fashioned

Please email Prof. Gray if you have questions at lwgray@illinois.edu

JAZZ DRUM SET AUDITION INFORMATION - UPDATED July 28, 2022

Joel Spencer, instructor

Auditions will take place in-person as follows.

  • Monday, August 22, 2022
  • Tuesday, August 23, 2022

Smith Memorial Hall
805 S Mathews Ave
Rm 7 (lower level)

NOTE: audition sign-up sheets will be posted on Monday, 8/15 in Smith Memorial Hall, Rm 7.

The audition will require a demonstration of the following musical styles

Jazz: Oleo (Sonny Rollins)
32-bar form: AABA
Perform as follows (quarter-note = 200-250 bpm)

  • Chorus 1: Interpret melody over drums (Hi-Hat on 2 & 4 throughout)
  • Chorus 2: Play Time (Samba feel on B-section)
  • Chorus 3: Improvised solo (Samba feel on B-section)
  • Chorus 4: Interpret melody over drums (Hi Hat on 2&4 throughout)

Perform each of the following styles for approximately one minute. A demonstration of trading 4-bar, 8-bar, and 12-bar improvised solo phrases will be requested as well.

  1. Funk (.-note = 100-150 bpm)
  2. Samba (.-note = 100-125 bpm)
  3. Bossa Nova (. note = 150 bpm)
  4. Mambo (. note = 175-185 bpm)
  5. Afro Cuban 6/8 (dotted-. note = 135-145 bpm)

Additional skills

  1. Brush technique (Jazz and Samba)
  2. Odd meter performance (3/4, 5/4, 7/4)
  3. Repertoire knowledge
  4. Sight reading

Please email Prof. Spencer if you have questions: spence14@illinois.edu