Auditioning in any context is difficult and emotional. The requirements are vague at times because the selection of pieces is part of the audition process. It is HIGHLY recommended to prepare your audition with a good private teacher.

“Luck is when preparation meets opportunity.”


Jazz Ensembles are open to all university students (instrumentalists and vocalists) regardless of major based on an audition. Students may audition for placement in Big bands, Combos, Afro-Cuban Ensemble and the Mason Jazz Vocal Ensemble.  

Auditions will take place Tuesday, January 20th (2pm - 5pm) and Wednesday, January 21 (10am - 5:30pm) in PAB 336.  


INSTRUMENTALISTS:  The above link will provide you with appropriate chord charts and play-a-long recordings.  You are responsible for finding/figuring out the melody.  Be prepared to perform three choruses: melody for chorus one, improvise one chorus and finish with one chorus of melody. Sight-reading and scales will also be part of your audition.  

VOCALISTS:  Sing one song of your choice (jazz preferred), sight-read a brief excerpt of a solo musical line and sing a brief tonal melody test.  Please bring your own musical accompaniment/backing track for either iPod or CD player. 

Sign up for an audition at the SEATING PLACEMENT web page.

Master of Music – Jazz Studies

1.  Contact Melinda Wildman, Academic Advisor for Graduate Programs, for graduate school requirements and appropriate application materials.

2.  Visit the GRADUATE AUDITION page to schedule a live audition. 

3.  Submit a CD of five (5) tunes in contrasting styles: Blues, Bop, Fusion, Cool, Swing, Early Jazz, Latin, etc., resume, a list of all of the tunes you can play (will be used at your live audition), two (2) letters of recommendation and the graduate application.  Submit these materials to:

CVPA Graduate Admissions, MSN 1H4
4400 University Dr.
Fairfax, VA 22030

**Some items in your Graduate Application package can be completed online.  All other documentation needs to be mailed to the above address.  

The "live" audition will consist of two (2) prepared tunes in contrasting styles e.g. Blues/Bop; Swing/Early Jazz etc., one (1) solo transcription and sight-reading.  Applicants should also be able to demonstrate knowledge of scales used in jazz; (Listed at the bottom of this page).  You may use a recorded accompaniment of play-a-long such as Jamey Aebersold.  Rhythm section instruments will demonstrate techniques idiomatic to your instrument e.g. comping, walking, various grooves. 

Bachelor of Music – Jazz Studies

Visit the UNDERGRADUATE AUDITION page to schedule a live audition. 

Jazz Studies "Live" Audition Requirements (Instrumentalists and Vocalists) 

Prepare two (2) tunes in contrasting styles e.g. Blues/Bop; Fusion/Cool; Swing/Early Jazz etc., one (1) jazz piece, etude or solo transcription; all major scales; improvisation over a blues; sight reading and pitch matching.  You may use a recorded accompaniment or play-a-long such as Jamey Aebersold.  Rhythm section instruments will demonstrate techniques idiomatic to your instrument e.g. comping, walking, various grooves.  Drummers may audition on set only or a combination of set and mallets.

Minor - Jazz Studies

You need not have prior experience in jazz to enter the Minor. If you have been accepted as a Music Major you may declare the Jazz Minor at any time. If you are not a Music Major the audition requirements are either the same as the BM in Jazz or the traditional audition. (See School of Music Website)

Scales Typically Used in Auditions

- Major
- Pentatonic (Major and Minor)
- Blues (Major and Minor)
- Bebop (Major and Dominant)
- Dorian
- Phrygian
- Lydian
- Mixolydian
- Aeolian (Natural Minor)
- Locrian
- Harmonic Minor
- Melodic Minor
- Jazz Minor (Real Minor, Ascending Melodic Minor)
- Lydian Augmented
- Lydian Dominant
- Locrian #2
- Diminished Whole-tone (Altered Scale, Super Locrian)

The Symetric Scales
- Chromatic
- Whole Tone
- Dimished (We are a half-step school)
- Augmented (1, b3, 3, 5, #5, 7)


George Mason is proud to host the
National Jazz Workshop
Summer 2015!
Register HERE for this incredible
summer experience! 

         JAZZ MEDIA
         JAZZ 4 JUSTICE©

George Mason University
School of Music
Department of Jazz Studies

Dr. Darden Purcell, Director