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 (Mason Jazz Ensemble or Jazz Workshop), Combos, Afro-Cuban Ensemble, Traditional Jazz Ensemble and the Mason Jazz Vocal Ensemble.
Fall 2017 Jazz Ensemble Auditions (current Mason students)
- Instrumental Audition Piece: Just Friends
- Instrumentalists: Play the melody for one chorus and improvise for two choruses. In addition, there will be sight-reading on the audition. Please bring your own musical accompaniment/backing track for iPod or CD player.
- Vocalists: Sing one song of your choice (jazz preferred), sight-read 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.
- Visit the SEATING PLACEMENT AUDITIONS page to sign up for an audition.
- If all audition slots are filled, please e-mail Dr. Darden Purcell.
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.
- Contact Dr. Darden Purcell to set up an audition.
Bachelor of Music – Jazz Studies
- Visit the Undergraduate Auditions page to schedule a live audition.
- Live Audition Requirements – Prepare two (2) tunes in contrasting styles, 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.
Master of Music – Jazz Studies
- Contact Melinda Wildman, Academic Advisor for Graduate Programs, for graduate school requirements and appropriate application materials.
- Visit the Masters Auditions page to schedule a live audition.
- Submit a pre-screen CD of five (5) tunes in contrasting styles, 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.
- The MM “live” audition will consist of two (2) prepared tunes in contrasting styles, one (1) solo transcription, sight-reading and performing repertoire from your tune list (provided in the pre-screen). 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.
Doctor of Musical Arts, Jazz
Visit the Doctoral Admissions page for further application/audition information.
Scales Typically Used in Auditions
Pentatonic (Major and Minor)
Blues (Major and Minor)
Bebop (Major and Dominant)
Aeolian (Natural Minor)
Jazz Minor (Real Minor, Ascending Melodic Minor)
Diminished Whole-tone (Altered Scale, Super Locrian)
Diminished (We are a half-step school)
Augmented (1, b3, 3, 5, #5, 7)