Jazz Studies Undergraduate Audition Requirements

Due to COVID-19, we will not host in-person auditions this year. The health and safety of our School of Music community and interested students is of upmost importance to us. In lieu of in-person auditions, we will collect audition video recordings from each applicant. Applicants will submit audition video recordings via YouTube links to their UofL Application Gateway. Be sure to check out the Video Recording & Submission Tips page.You may submit pre-recorded live performances, such as recitals, concerts, or competitions. Please read all details below. 

Jazz Audition Instructional Videos 

A final Zoom interview/assessment with faculty may be asked as part of the audition process.

All Instruments except Drums where noted:

Each selection should be 3-5 minutes in length. Your audition should be played in combo format (minimum: piano or guitar, bass and drums) with either a live band or a pre-recorded play-along/backing track.  The instrument to be judged should predominate.

Please submit a total of three (3) individual digital video recordings:

  • One 12-bar blues piece. Play the melody and at least three choruses, quarter note equals 120 to 180. Bass/Guitar/Piano players must play at least two choruses of accompaniment in addition to the melody and their solos.

       - Charlie Parker: Billie’s Bounce

       - Clifford Brown: Sandu

       - Milt Jackson: Bag’s Groove

       - Thelonious Monk: Blue Monk

       - Or like selections

  • One standard jazz tune in a swing style, from the great American Songbook and/or jazz idiom. Tempo marking between 160 to 200 bpm. Must include the melody and at least two choruses of solo. No original compositions. Selections such as the following would be appropriate:

      - Autumn Leaves

      - All The Things You Are

      - Summertime

      - Four

     - Impressions

     - Or like selections

And one of the following:

  • A jazz ballad of your choice which must include at least one chorus of solo. If submitting in Piano or Guitar, you may perform the entire selection solo. No original compositions. 
  • OR a Latin or straight eight-note tune of your choice.  Play the melody and at least two choruses at a tempo that is appropriate for the composition. No original compositions.   Selections such as the following would be appropriate:

       - Blue Bossa

       - Girl From Ipanema

       - Song For My Father

       - Maiden Voyage

       - Black Orpheus

      - Or like selections

Instrument Specific Requirements:

Piano: Demonstrate ability to comp rootless voicings in left hand while playing melody and soloing in right hand. Demonstrate one chorus comping as if another instrument were soloing once your solo is complete.

Guitar: After solo, demonstrate one chorus of comping over the progression as if another instrument were soloing. Rootless voicings are preferred.

Bass: After playing the melody and before soloing, demonstrate the appropriate comping style (walking, bossa nova, etc.) for one chorus on the progression for the given tune.

Drums – These are the complete audition requirements for drum auditions

Rather than playing the selections listed above, demonstrate the following styles in either 32 or 12 bar form. Solo drum format is preferred.

  • Demonstrate the following styles in either 32 or 12 bar form:

      - Swing (medium [Q=120] and fast [Q=280])

     - Bossa Nova

     - Funk

     - 12/8 Afro Cuban

  • Demonstrate the ability to play in the following meters in either 32 or 12 bar form:

     - 4/4

     - 3/4

     - 6/8

  • Demonstrate the ability to play with brushes
  • Trade:

     - 8’s over a 32 bar tune

     - 4’s over a 12 bar tune

The jazz faculty reviewing your recordings are listening for:

  • Improvisation - the improvisation ability to create new motifs, melodies, and rhythms that are suggested by the harmonic structure (chord progression) of the composition.
  • Jazz Style – able to demonstrate an understanding of the subtleties of the jazz idiom.
  • Tone Production - the ability to achieve a quality of sound appropriate to the instrument and to the style of the music.
  • Technique - the degree to which the performer has acquired control of the instrument.
  • Rhythm - the ability to establish and maintain a consistent groove.
  • Intonation - proper tuning of the instrument and in tune playing.