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Undergraduate Auditions

Undergraduate Audition Requirements for Prospective Jazz Studies Majors

The following requirements are for all students wishing to become a Jazz Studies major. CD, VHS, and DVD auditions are accepted with prior approval. Ensemble auditions are scheduled separately (see this page) and are open to all students regardless of major.

Jazz Trumpet, Saxophone, and Trombone

  1. Play the melody to either Anthropology or Donna Lee (available in the Charlie Parker Omnibook)
  2. Improvise over the following tunes (backing tracks will be provided at the audition):
    • Billie's Bounce (Aebersold Volume 6, Tracks 1). Play one chorus of melody improvise a minimum of two choruses.
    • There Will Never Be Another You (Aebersold Volume 15, Track 2). Play one chorus of melody improvise a minimum of two choruses.
  3. Major Scales and arpeggios.
  4. Sight-reading.

Jazz Piano

Prospective piano majors must audition for Hank Hehmsoth (hank@txstate.edu). Incoming freshmen, be prepared to perform the head and improvise from one of the following four styles; transfer students, be prepared to perform the head and improvise from at least two the following four styles:

  1. One jazz blues in a standard key (F or Bb, not C). Examples include:
    • Bb or F Blues from Aebersold Volume 54 (Tracks 3 or 10) or Volume 02 (Tracks 3, 4, 8, or 9)
    • Blue Monk
    • Straight, No Chaser
    • Blue Train
    • Au Privave
  2. One jazz ballad (to illustrate your lyrical melodic style). Examples include:
    • Misty
    • Tenderly
    • 'Round Midnight
    • Funny Valentine
    • Some Other Time
    • My Romance
    • My Foolish Heart
    • Gershwin (any)
    • Ellington (any)
  3. One Latin/Jazz or Jazz/Funk straight-eighth tune (samba, bossa, funk/rock, salsa) to illustrate your rhythmic precision and groove. Examples include:
    • Jobim (any)
    • The Shadow Of Your Smile
    • Green Dolphin Street
    • Black Orpheus
    • Blue Bossa
    • Recorda-Me
  4. One medium tempo jazz standard or original composition (to illustrate your melodic style over chord changes). Examples include:
    • Sweet Georgia Brown
    • Solar
    • Satin Doll
    • Ellington (any)
    • Fly Me To The Moon
    • There is no Greater Love
    • There Will Never Be Another You
    • Out Of Nowhere
    • Night and Day

Jazz Bass

Prospective bass majors must audition for Dr. Keith Winking (kw09@txstate.edu) on double-bass, as this will be their main instrument of study. Electric bass auditions must be approved in advance by Dr. Winking.

  1. Demonstrate Jazz Style by performing one of the etudes below or a solo transcription (transcriptions must be approved in advance).
    • Etudes from 60 Melodic Etudes by John Patitucci (Carl Fischer): Major (C, F, or Eb); Mixolydian (Bb or G)
  2. Scales and arpeggios: two-octaves, major and minor.
  3. Improvisation. Students will demonstrate improvisational skill by performing one chorus of melody, two improvised choruses, and creating a "walking" bass line on the following two selections:
    • Blues in F or Bb, Aebersold Volume 54, Tracks 3 or 10
    • "There Will Never Be Another You," Aebersold Volume 15, Track 2
  4. Sight reading.

The prospective student should be prepared to discuss previous performance experience, teachers, and method books used in study. If available, the prospective student will have an opportunity to demonstrate the above skills in a performance situation with either a large or small jazz ensemble.

In addition to the above requirements, all double-bass students must audition and be accepted on his/her primary instrument by the classical applied faculty. For information regarding the classical component of the audition please check on this page under your instrument heading.

Jazz Guitar

Prospective guitar majors must audition for Russ Scanlon (rjs68@txstate.edu). You are expected to demonstrate your improvisation skills through a blues progression and a jazz standard ("Autumn Leaves," "All of Me," or similar material). Jazz studies majors must also play a chord melody arrangement of a jazz standard. Use of a plectrum is only allowed for the improvisation portion of the audition.

Jazz Drum Set

Prospective drum set players must audition for Butch Miles (cm52@txstate.edu). Jazz drum set auditions consist of the applicant being able to demonstrate rhythmic and “groove” competency in the following musical styles:

  • 4/4 swing at a variety of tempos
  • Funk and rock styles at a variety of tempos
  • Samba and Bossa Nova
  • Mambo
  • Afro-Cuban 6/8

In addition to the above, the following skills will be assessed during the jazz drum set audition:

  • Brush technique
  • Knowledge of form and repertoire
  • “Trading Fours”
  • “Call and Response”: ability in drum set patterns and ear exercises (i.e., hearing a phrase and playing it back)
  • Sight-reading big band charts

The prospective student should be prepared to discuss previous performance experience, teachers, and method books used in study. If available, the prospective student will have an opportunity to demonstrate the above skills in a performance situation with either a large or small jazz ensemble.

In addition to the above requirements, all drum set students must audition and be accepted on his/her primary instrument by the classical applied faculty. For information regarding the classical component of the audition please check on this page under your instrument heading.


Texas State Jazz/Jazz Studies is listed by U.S.News & World Report as one of America's Best Colleges 2008