All applicants to the School for Jazz and Contemporary Music are required to audition.
Applicants are also required to participate in a ten-minute virtual Performing Arts Admission Interview conducted over Zoom. Spring entry interviews will be held in early November, and fall entry interviews will be held in January and February. Applicants will be invited to schedule an appointment time once they have submitted their applications.
The College of Performing Arts will hold on-campus auditions for both spring and fall entry. Submitting audition recordings is also always an option.
Applicants will be invited to schedule their live audition or submit audition recordings once their Common Application has been received.
In-person auditions are conducted with a live rhythm section of current student musicians (piano, bass, drums), so make sure to bring copies of sheet music or charts. We ask that you perform at least one tune with the live musicians when auditioning in person.
Please direct any questions to [email protected].
All applicants must prepare three pieces for their audition. All auditions are primarily judged on the following criteria:
- Individual expression
- Musical maturity
- Ability to phrase a melody, perform with a committed rhythmic feel, and improvise in contexts that commonly employ improvisation
The audition is the primary evaluation tool for both acceptance to the BFA program and scholarship consideration. All merit-based scholarships are awarded at the time of admission and are included in your decision letter.
- Three pieces, original or otherwise, showcasing proficiency with technology and composition, in addition to the criteria outlined above.
- Two original pieces, showcasing proficiency in composition and individual artistic vision, in addition to the criteria outlined above.
- One piece of your choosing, original or otherwise.
All Other Instruments and Vocal Applicants:
Prepare and perform three pieces, no longer than 15 minutes total:
- 1) A standard. This piece should highlight your improvisational skills where applicable. Refer to the Traditional American Songbook, blues tune, jazz tune, and Bossa Nova descriptions in the Typical Repertoire information below.
- 2) A piece of your choosing, in any style (jazz, blues, pop, soul, rock R&B, an original work, etc.), which you can perform solo, with pre-recorded backing tracks (for recorded auditions only), or with a live rhythm section.
- 3) Another piece of your choosing, in any style (jazz, blues, pop, soul, rock, R&B, an original work, etc.), which you can perform solo, with pre-recorded backing tracks (for recorded auditions only), or with a live rhythm section.
We want to see diversity in your three audition pieces. Aim to play three different tempos and styles, and show us works you love to perform. We want to see you at your best!
The Traditional American Songbook includes songs taken from American musical theater that can be performed in a variety of contexts. George Gershwin ("Summertime"), Irving Berlin ("Blue Skies"), Cole Porter ("What Is This Thing Called Love"), and Rodgers & Hart ("My Funny Valentine") are some of the best-known composers of these pieces.
Blues tunes include songs from the long tradition of American blues, from W.C. Handy's "St. Louis Blues" to Robert Johnson's "Sweet Home Chicago" to more swing-oriented songs like "Alright, Okay, You Win" and "Got My Mojo Working" and more jazz-oriented songs like "Now's the Time," "Route 66," and "Blue Monk."
Jazz tunes come primarily from the instrumental jazz world and include works by Duke Ellington ("Take the A Train"), Charlie Parker ("Ornithology"), Miles Davis ("Tune Up"), Thelonious Monk ("'Round Midnight"), Charles Mingus ("Goodbye Pork Pie Hat"), John Coltrane ("Moment's Notice"), and hundreds more.
Antonio Carlos (Tom) Jobim is the most commonly played composer of Bossa Nova tunes, including the frequently performed songs "Girl from Ipanema" and "Desafinado."
Singer-songwriter repertoire from the 1960s to the present, including the work of Lennon and McCartney, Ashford & Simpson, Stevie Wonder, Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, James Taylor, Elton John, David Bowie, Elvis Costello, Prince, Tom Waits, Radiohead, Rufus Wainwright, Ani DiFranco, Alicia Keyes, and more, is welcome.
Backing Track Resource
Applicants who are unable to come to campus or to record with a live rhythm section are strongly encouraged to use a digital accompaniment resource such as:
If you are submitting an audition recording, you should upload recordings through your Admission Hub. You will receive an email with the link to your Admission Hub after submitting the Common Application. The Admission Hub will open on September 15. If you submit your Common Application before September 15, you won’t be able to upload recordings until September 15. Please upload each tune individually and label the files with your last name and the name of the song. Total time should not exceed 15 minutes.
We prefer audition recordings with live accompaniment if possible. If that is not possible, pre-recorded accompaniment tracks are acceptable. While the audio of audition recordings should be of high quality, we do not require applicants to record their auditions in a professional studio. All video audition files must be clearly labeled with your name, the instrument, and the title of each track.
In order to receive consideration of the highest level, audition recordings must be received at the Office of Admission by the application deadline.
Once your application and audition upload is complete, you will be invited to schedule a video conference interview. Interviews are ten minutes and are intended to help us to get to know each other better. There is nothing specific you need to prepare.