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 2020

Auditions will largely be done via recording this fall. (If you are unable to send either a video or audio recording please let me know and we can arrange an in-person audition the weekend before classes start.) Your phone should be able to make a good enough quality recording for the audition.

Please read the information below carefully so that you include exactly what you need to for your recording. All instrumentalists should record the "Switch in Time" excerpt. The horns will also record a scale, while the rhythm section will record demonstrations of different musical styles. Improvisation is optional. (Vocalists - see 7. below - your requirements are different.)


1.  Download the pdf file below for your instrument. (Vocalists - skip down to 7.)

All the parts are from the chart "Switch in Time" by Sammy Nestico. The link for the reference recording can be found here: "Switch in Time."

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 the reference recording provided (quarter note = 174). Except for the drums, which should play the entire chart, everyone else does not need to play the last seven measures. If you have rests of more than two measures, you may skip over those.

3. Two things about the reference recording: Letter E is played a total of three times before the band comes in at F; also, some of the notes in the phrases are different in places than your music. Just use the recording for a listening and practice reference to get the swing, articulation, accents, etc. correct.

4. In addition to the excerpt:
a. 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 and then down to the bottom note of your range before ending on concert Bb again.)
b. 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.
c. Drums: In addition to preparing "Switch in Time" please play at least 16 measures each of the following grooves on your recording: Bossa Nova, Samba, and Funk. In addition, please 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.)
d. Bass, Piano, and Guitar - Demonstration of creating your part from just a given 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#mi(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" -  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.)

6. Improvisation is optional, but required for a jazz (solo) chair. Improvisors should play on the following Bb blues backing track. Please play at least three choruses. Bb Blues.

7. Vocalists: Prepare a medium tempo jazz standard of your choice.  If possible, find an online backing track to accompany you.  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 (You can use the blues link backing track provided for the instrumentalists if you would like.)

8. Along with your recorded audition, if you are a new UWL student who has not been in one of the jazz groups before, please send me the following information with your audition: Information Sheet. When you have your audition completed you can email it to me, or if you have problems with that, I can have you post it to the Canvas website for the ensemble that you are registered for. (The Canvas course sites usually go live somewhere around the middle of August. If you want to post there, contact me and I can tell you how to do that.) If you have any problems, just let me know. All recorded auditions must be submitted by Wednesday, September 2nd, 11:59 p.m. If you cannot submit a recorded audition and instead want to audition in person on the weekend before school starts, please let me know by that same Wednesday, September 2nd deadline.

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

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

 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 Tuesday, September 8, 2020 for the Jazz Orchestra and Wednesday, September 9, 2020 for the Jazz Ensemble.

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