Audition Information for Jazz Ensembles

GENERAL AUDITION INFORMATION

Below are the audition requirements for ensemble placement from fall 2020 for reference. Updated information for Fall 2021 auditions will be posted mid-summer.

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

Contact Barrington Coleman

Auditions for the Jazz Vocal Combos will occur Monday, Aug 23 from 3-5pm and Tuesday, Aug 24 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. Please sign-up for a time at 10 minute intervals (i.e.: 3:00, 3:10, 3:20...) and not starting on the alternating slots ending in ":05"

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.

Sign-up for an audition. (Jazz voice only)

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

Contact Jim Pugh

  1. ALL: Scales (2 octaves in all 12 keys):
    • Undergrads: Major, Dorian, Aeolian (natural minor), harmonic minor
    • Grads: Major + other 6 church modes, Jazz minor, whole tone, diminished & aux diminished
  2. Melody and 2 choruses of improvisation on Billie’s Bounce (blues in F; play melody in lower octave)
  3. Melody and 2 choruses of improvisation on Autumn Leaves (G minor)

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 8/3/2021

Contact Larry Gray

Auditions will be August 23, 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. Auditions are 10 minutes long. Amp and cable provided.

  1. All The Things You Are
  2. Blue Bossa

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

Guitar Audition Sign-Up Sheet

JAZZ BASS AUDITION INFORMATION - UPDATED 8/3/2021

Contact Larry Gray

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. Auditions are 10 minutes long. For electric bassists, amp and cable are provided.

  1. Out of Nowhere
  2. Days of Wine and Roses

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

Jazz Bass Sign-Up Sheet

JAZZ DRUM SET AUDITION INFORMATION - UPDATED 12/1/2020

Joel Spencer, instructor

Audition will be by video recording (mp4 or .mov) and submitted before August 24. The audition will require a demonstration of the following musical styles.

Jazz: Oleo (by Sonny Rollins)
Perform as follows: quarter-note = 200-250 bpm

  • Chorus 1: Interpret melody over drums (w/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 (w/Hi Hat on 2&4 throughout)

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

  1. Funk (¼-note = 100-150 bpm)
  2. Samba (½-note = 100-125 bpm)
  3. Bossa Nova (¼ note = 150 bpm)
  4. Mambo (¼ note = 175-185 bpm)
  5. Afro-Cuban 6/8 (dotted-¼ note = 135-145 bpm)

Additional skills

  1. Brush technique
  2. Waltz and odd meter performance (5/4 & 7/4)
  3. Repertoire knowledge
  4. Sight reading

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