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Jazz Studies Auditions

Students auditioning for the jazz M.A., B.M., B.A., or minor are required to complete a formal audition, which all prospective domestic students should plan to complete in person. Video auditions are acceptable from candidates living abroad, but only under extenuating circumstances (and with jazz faculty approval) for prospective students residing within the United States. To request an in-person audition exemption, contact the jazz studies area head. For general information and to register for auditions during one of our annual “audition days”, please see Undergraduate Auditions. If unable to make the trip to Iowa on one of the published annual audition dates, contact the jazz area head Dr. Damani Phillips to schedule an alternate date and time. Students must apply to the University of Iowa and School of Music BEFORE audition scheduling can take place.

Our past policy of requiring two years of classical music study (via lower-level applied lessons) for undergraduate jazz majors was recently amended and is no longer a required component of the jazz B.M and B.A. degrees. As a result, all prospective jazz students are no longer required to prepare a second audition for the classical studio faculty member on their respective instrument. Prospective undergraduate jazz students should prepare a single audition for the jazz area only moving forward.

Jazz area auditions (for all except drums) will consist of the following:

A. Performance of a prepared jazz etude, transcription or substantial big band chart (not preferred, but accepted) that is a minimum of 50 measures in length. The prepared piece may be in a style of the student’s choosing.

B. Prepare to perform the full melody and improvise over several choruses of two jazz standards of contrasting styles. No more than one of these two standards may be a 12 or 16 bar blues. This portion of the audition should be prepared with the use of a backing track (Aebersold play-along, Band in a box, IRealB, etc). Memorization of these pieces are not a hard requirement, but highly encouraged. List of possible standards appropriate for an undergraduate audition>>

C. Sight read a short excerpt written in either swing, bossa nova or funk styles.

D. Performance of major and natural minor scales (2 octaves whenever possible) in all 12 keys in 8th notes at 120bpm.

Undergraduate jazz drum set audition content>> Please contact professor Angelo Stokes for additional details

All other questions regarding Jazz Studies, please contact Dr. Damani Phillips