University of Vermont

College of Arts and Sciences

Department of Music and Dance

Special Information for Jazz Auditions

Level II

Auditions for prospective jazz studies majors and jazz concentrators follow the Level II audition information covered on the Auditions and Required Tests page.

Level III: End of sophomore year proficiency audition

The Level III Audition (previously referred to as the Junior Standing audition) is generally taken at the end of the sophomore year as students prepare to officially confirm their status as music majors. In this audition, students must demonstrate a minimum intermediate level of proficiency attained on their primary instrument or voice. Also, for degrees such as the BA in Performance, BA in Jazz Studies, BS in Music Education, and BM, which include a performance component, students must demonstrate preparation and ability that serves as a predictor of success for the senior recital.

Students must have performed on at least two Student Performance Recitals before they are eligible for this examination.

Repertoire: For the Level III Audition, students should prepare at least four pieces in contrasting styles (such as ballad, blues, bebop/uptempo swing, modal, Latin, jazz waltz or other odd meter, and medium swing). Among basic elements such as expressiveness, intonation, tone quality, swing feel, instrumental balance, and a well-rehearsed ensemble, the performance must demonstrate the students ability to make the changes (communicating the delineation of the chords), through improvising during pieces that include modulation to various keys.

For non-drummers, at least one piece should be a solo or duo piece, played without drums accompanying. For non-rhythm section instrumentalists or vocalists, ensemble pieces should not feature solos by players other than the auditionee.

In addition to solo improvisation, rhythm section players should demonstrate proficiency in various accompaniment styles (comping, walking bass, playing in two, etc.). For bassists and drummers, at least one arrangement must feature the auditionee during the head, and one other piece must feature the auditionee prominently throughout the arrangement (e.g., in stop time passages).

Program: Students should prepare a printed program for the Level III Audition and bring nine copies to the audition to distribute to the faculty committee. Include the title of each work and the name and birth-death dates of the composer. Additional program notes may be included.

Research: Students may be asked questions by the faculty committee and are expected to be able to speak informatively and accurately about the music (e.g., form, key, etc.), the era in which it was composed and/or originally performed, and the composer.

Attire: As practice for situations where casual attire is not appropriate, students should dress semi-formally for the Level III Audition.

Equipment: Students and their accompanists should bring their own equipment for the Level III. If the student has received prior approval for use of departmental equipment such as a drum set or amplifiers, it is the students responsibility to arrange for a way to pick up and return the equipment. In any case, all equipment must be set up one half hour before the start of all Level juries for the day (there is not time for equipment set up in between juries).

Level IV: Examination and senior recital guidelines for jazz students

The Level IV Examination is required before performance of a senior recital. The examination typically takes place six weeks before the recital, but never less than four weeks before it. Students must have performed on at least four Student Performance Recitals before they are eligible for this examination.

In this examination, the student must be ready to perform the entire recital program. The faculty jury will hear approximately fifteen minutes of music selected, at their request, from the program. The student must provide nine printed copies of the recital program for distribution to faculty members (include the title of each work and the name and birth-death dates of the composer). He/she also should be prepared to answer brief questions concerning composers, dates, and stylistic aspects of the music being performed, and provide other information such as that which might be appropriate for concert program notes. Students should dress semi-formally for the Level IV Examination.

The student must demonstrate proficiency on their primary instrument or voice, performing a broad range of jazz repertoire. The examination (and consequent senior recital) is meant to show what the student has addressed and accomplished during study at UVM. Among basic elements such as expressiveness, intonation, tone quality, swing feel, instrumental balance, and a well-rehearsed ensemble, the performance must demonstrate the students ability to make the changes (communicating the delineation of the chords) through improvising during pieces that include modulation to various keys.

For non-drummers, at least one piece should be a solo or duo piece, played without drums accompanying. For non-rhythm section instrumentalists or vocalists, ensemble pieces should not feature solos by players other than the auditionee. In addition to solo improvisation, rhythm section players should demonstrate proficiency in various accompaniment styles (comping, walking bass, playing in two, etc.). For bassists and drummers, at least one arrangement must feature the auditionee during the head, and one other piece must feature the auditionee prominently throughout the arrangement (e.g., in stop time passages).

(Beginning AY 2012-13, the tune test is taken in the semester preceding the Senior Recital, during the end-of-semester area jury.)

Senior recital

The senior recital should illustrate principles outlined in the guidelines for the Level IV Examination and may reflect choices made by the student that have been endorsed by the private teacher. During the semester in which the student will perform the senior recital, the student must enroll for 1 credit hour in MU 250 Senior Recital plus 1 credit hour of private lessons (the combination results in a one-hour lesson for the student).

B. A. Jazz Studies concentrators are required to perform a full recital in the last year of study. A full recital should consist of roughly 50 minutes of music. No student recital may exceed one hour. This recital is played without an intermission.

Students in the B.S. Music Education program studying jazz repertoire are required to perform a half recital in the last year of study. A half recital should consist of roughly 25 minutes of music, and is typically shared with another student who is also presenting a half recital. Upon the recommendation of the applied teacher, and the agreement of jazz area faculty, a student required to perform a half recital may perform a full recital. No student recital may exceed one hour.

Last modified October 10 2012 02:57 PM

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