Audition materials

Thank you for your interest in auditioning for the UWL jazz ensembles. This page contains everything you need to know about the audition process.

If you are also interested in participating in a jazz combo, combo placement will be also be determined by the big band auditions. Each of the big bands typically has a male or female vocalist, so vocalists are encouraged to audition. Both male and female vocalists are also welcome and encouraged to consider participating in a combo.

Auditions for Fall 2021

Jazz Ensembles: Please ensure that you have enrolled in the appropriate course in WINGS (most freshmen enroll in MUS 134, Jazz Ensemble, but some may be placed into MUS 130, Jazz Orchestra).

Please read the information carefully so you prepare everything you need for the audition.


Please leave the following block of time for your instrument open until I have your exact audition time scheduled:

SUNDAY, SEPT. 5, 12:00 – 2:30:  SAXOPHONES

                                2:30 – 4:30:   TROMBONES and VOCALS

MONDAY, Sept. 6, 11:00 – 12:30:  TRUMPETS

                               12:30 – 3:30:    RHYTHM SECTION OR ANYONE WITH A                                                                 PRIOR TIME CONFLICT

Step 1: Download, fill out and send back to me by the following audition information by August 25th (audition sheet link). I will use this to schedule auditions and then send an email within a few days to all auditioning students with their exact audition times.

Step 2: Prepare for the audition, using the directions below. Except for vocalists, there are three parts to the audition (part three is optional):

(Vocalists: Skip parts 1-3 and go down to the section labeled “VOCALISTS.”)

PART 1 – Preparation of a jazz ensemble chart.

  1. Download the pdf file below for your instrument. All the parts are from the chart "All of You.” Brass players should pick the part that corresponds to their range and/or intended chair (for example, lead trumpet, lead trombone or bass trombone).
  2. Prepare the music to the best of your ability. Play with a steady tempo in the appropriate style with good jazz articulations. Performance tempo should be as close as possible to what is indicated in the music (quarter note = 132). Be sure to count carefully through rests, but if you have rests of two or more measures you may skip over those to the next entrance.
  3. Additional guidelines for the rhythm section are indicated on the parts.

PART 2 – Scales (horns) or demonstration of musical styles (rhythm section)

BRASS: Play a Bb concert scale in 16th notes to demonstrate range. (Begin on concert Bb, but play up to the top comfortable note of your range within the scale and then down to the bottom note of your range within the scale before ending on concert Bb again.)

SAXES: Play a Bb concert scale slurred in 16th notes. (Begin on concert Bb, play up to the top palm key note within the scale, down to the bottom note within the scale, and then end on concert Bb again.) Optional - if you play flute or clarinet and have access to an instrument, you are welcome to play a scale or two on flute or clarinet to demonstrate your fluency on those instruments.

PIANO, GUITAR and BASS: Demonstrate the ability to create your part from just a chord progression. Over the following chord progression, create a stylistic part for the following common styles: 1) Medium swing; 2) Fast swing (quarter note = 240 or as fast as you can play with control, accuracy, and good time); 3) Bossa Nova; 4) Funk. Each chord is one measure long, and you should play through the progression two times (16 measures) for each style: Ami7 | D7(b9) | GMA7 | CMA7 | F#mi7(b5) | B7(#5,#9) | Emi(MA7) | E7(b9)|. (Note for pianists and guitarists - on the medium and fast swing, I would like you to "comp" -  that is, to play in a non-repetitive, syncopated and largely chordal style, the way you would behind a soloist in a combo. For guitarists this means you do not need to play four quarter notes to the bar in a Freddie Green style.)

DRUMS: Be prepared to play 16 measures of the following grooves: Bossa Nova, Samba, and Funk. In addition, be able to play 16 bars of a straight eighth ballad with brushes and 32 bars of a fast swing tempo (quarter note = 240). If that is too fast for you, just play at your top speed where you have control and good time. If you do not know all of the grooves, just play the ones that you can. NOTE: if you can and are willing to do some playing on vibraphone, please prepare bars 75-93 of the lead alto part for your audition in addition to your drum set audition.

PART 3 – Improvisation.

This is optional but recommended for anyone who would like to take solos or play a chair that traditionally plays solos (for example, alto 1, tenor 1, trumpet 2 and trombone 1 & 2). Rhythm section members are encouraged, but not required to improvise in the audition. Plan to play on a blues in the key of your choice.

VOCALISTS: Prepare a medium tempo jazz standard of your choice. Bring a lead sheet (melody and chords) of the tune with you in the key that you will be singing it. Scatting is optional, but most welcome. If you want to scat, it can be done on the chord changes of your prepared piece or a blues in the key of your choice.

Click on your instrument below to download a PDF file of the music.

Brass players select the part that is best for your range.

Trumpet 1 Trumpet 3 Trombone 1
Trombone 3 Trombone 4 Alto 1
Tenor 1 Bari Piano
Guitar Bass Drums


Please contact Dr. Erickson ( if you have any questions.

 Jazz Band Rehearsal Schedule

Jazz Ensemble meets Mon., Wed, and Fri. from 12:05 p.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Jazz Orchestra meets Tue and Thurs. 3:30 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. and Fri 3:20 p.m. - 4:20 p.m.
Jazz Combos times will be arranged according to student schedules, but one class meeting is usually for an hour sometime in the 5:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. range on Tuesdays.

For assistance with class conflicts, contact Dr. Erickson.

Rehearsals will begin on Wednesday, September 8, 2021 for the Jazz Ensemble and Thursday, September 9, 2021 for the Jazz Orchestra.

If you have questions or concerns, or just want to talk jazz, call or email any time.

Dr. Jeff Erickson
Center for the Arts, Room 323
Office: 608-785-8414