The VCU Jazz community fosters the spirit of creative exploration. Our faculty and students have numerous opportunities for creative expression in the department’s jazz orchestras and small jazz ensembles. Jazz Studies ensembles and orchestras have received recognition and top honors for their performances and recordings. Ranging from small jazz combos to big band, the jazz ensembles incorporate a variety of styles and works.
Fall 2019 Audition Dates
Audition Information and Requirements
All interested students are required to read the applicable portions of the VCU Jazz Studies Handbook regarding audition scheduling and policies.
The jazz ensembles audition requires that you:
- Sign up for an appropriate audition slot outside of Music Center room 2014; and
- Through an online system, you provide your interest in various ensembles, your schedule of conflicts regarding ensembles, and your related contact information. Complete it prior to your audition! Visit http://www.jazzschedule.vcu.edu/Registration/Register (optimized for Firefox) starting Friday, August 16 to enter your information. You may only do so once. Information entered prior to that date may be erased. For instructions, see the Student Schedule Instructions.
Below describes typical audition expectations.
- Horns: Unaccompanied performance of a melody and, if possible, improvised solo over a tune of your choice, especially swing, bossa, Afro-Cuban and samba. You may be asked to perform an accompanied improvised solo over a tune of your or the jurors’ choice, as well as basic scales to assess range, tone and/or technique.
- Piano: Performance of a melody and accompaniment and, if possible, improvised solo over a tune of your choice, especially swing, bossa, Afro-Cuban and samba. You may be asked to perform basic scales to assess range, tone and/or technique, as well as 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 a tune of your choice, especially swing, bossa, Afro-Cuban and samba. You may be asked to perform an accompanied improvised solo over a tune of your or the jurors’ choice, as well as basic scales to assess range, tone and/or technique, and comping of a variety of styles on request, especially swing, bossa and samba.
- 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.
- Percussion: Unaccompanied performance of styles including bossa, samba and Afro-Cuban. Congas, bongos and some hand percussion are available at the audition.
- 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 merely examples. Please note that improvisation is not a requirement to join this ensemble; however, we are delighted to hear all levels of improv within your audition.
Required Rhythmic Reading
All students auditioning for jazz ensembles must download the following jazz rhythm documents: Audition Rhythms sheet and practice with swing and even eighths to prepare for your audition. Bring this sheet with you to your audition as you may be asked to start and stop at any measure.