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Jazz Studies Audition Requirements

VCU Jazz faculty offer accompaniment to auditionees as needed; an extra copy of your sheet music is welcome. A play-along CD is possible but usually not preferable to live interaction.

  • Horns: Unaccompanied performance of the melodies and, if possible, improvised solos over two tunes of your choice, especially swing, bossa, Afro-Cuban and samba. Potential accompanied improvised solo over a tune of your or the jurors’ choice. Possible basic scales to assess range, tone and/or technique.
  • Piano: Performance of a melody and accompaniment and, if possible, improvised solo over two tunes of your choice, especially swing, bossa, Afro-Cuban and samba. Possible basic scales to assess range, tone, and/or technique. Potential comping of a variety of styles on request, especially swing, bossa and samba.
  • Guitar and bass: Performance of a melody and, if possible, improvised solo over two tunes of your choice, especially swing, bossa, Afro-Cuban and samba. Potential accompanied improvised solo over a tune of your or the jurors’ choice. Possible basic scales to assess range, tone and/or technique. Potential comping of a variety of styles on request, especially swing, bossa, Afro-Cuban and samba. VCU will supply guitar and bass amps; guitarists are required to bring their own quarter-inch cords. Bassists will audition acoustically.
  • Drums: Unaccompanied performance of a variety of styles on request, including swing, ballad, waltz, bossa, samba and Afro-Cuban, plus possibly trading fours. Drummers are required to bring their own cymbals, hi-hat clutch, sticks and brushes.
  • All: Sight reading as provided by the jurors.

Sample tunes might include:

  • Swing: “Autumn Leaves,” “Satin Doll,” “Now’s the Time,” “Take the ‘A’ Train” and “Stella by Starlight”
  • Bossa: “Blue Bossa,” “Recorda-Me,” “Meditation,” Wave” and “Black Orpheus”
  • Samba: Samba versions of the bossas above are acceptable.
  • Afro-Cuban: “Mambo Inn” (2-3 clave), “Afro-Blue” (12/8), “Frenesí” (cha-cha), “Como Fue” (cha-cha) and “A Night in Tunisia” (possible in a variety of settings)
  • Ballad: “In a Sentimental Mood,” “Body and Soul,” “My Funny Valentine,” “Polka Dots and Moonbeams” and “Misty”
  • Waltz: “Up Jumped Spring,” “Someday My Prince Will Come,” “Alice in Wonderland,” “All Blues” and “Bluesette”

You are not limited to the above choices; these are only examples. However, free improvisation, a demonstration of favorite licks or singing a favorite blues tune along with accompaniment will not meet the audition requirements. Also note that VCU Jazz does not offer any curricular vocal jazz instruction at this time, though student vocalists sometimes sing with our large and small jazz ensembles.

Attire

You are welcome to wear comfortable clothes for your VCU Jazz Audition. Attire spans from slacks or dresses to coat and tie; jeans are acceptable if neat. We welcome you to present yourself as you would to a range of jazz audiences.

If you have any questions, contact Antonio García, Director of Jazz Studies.