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Undergraduate | Auditions | Jazz Student Handbook | Music Industry

Auditions

Students who are not auditioning to be admitted into the jazz program, but wish to audition for a jazz ensemble should click here.

To Be Admitted Into The Jazz Program

Students must audition for acceptance into the Department of Music. Please read "Before You Schedule Your VCU Jazz Audition "!

After doing so, to apply please visit www.vcumusic.org, click on "How to Apply," and follow those instructions. If you have questions, please contact Ms. Racquel Wallace, our admissions specialist, at the VCU Music Office at (804) 828-1167 between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday; or e-mail her at wallacerc@vcu.edu.

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 your presenting yourself as you would to a range of jazz audiences.

Entry audition content is typically as follows. VCU Jazz faculty usually accompany auditioners as needed; we welcome an extra copy of your sheet music. Your play-along CD is possible but usually not preferable to live interaction:

  • Horns: Unaccompanied performance of a melody (and if possible, improvised solo) over a tune 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 a tune 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 a tune 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.
  • 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 bringtheirown cymbals, hi-hat clutch, sticks, and brushes. )

Sample tunes might include:

  • Swing: Autumn Leaves, Satin Doll, Now’s the Time, Take the "A" Train, Stella by Starlight
  • Bossa: Blue Bossa, Recorda-Me, Meditation, Wave, Black Orpheus
  • Samba: Samba versions of the bossas above would be among those acceptable.
  • Afro-Cuban: Mambo Inn (2-3 clave), Afro-Blue (12/8), Frenesí (cha-cha), Como Fue (cha-cha), 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, Misty
  • Waltz: Up Jumped Spring, Someday My Prince Will Come, Alice in Wonderland, All Blues, Bluesette

You are not limited to the above choices; these are merely 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.

 

Legendary soprano saxophonist Steve Lacy is one of the dozens of jazz artists who have presented workshops or performances at VCU.
(photo credited to Antonio J. García)