Jazz Ensembles are open to all university students (instrumentalists and vocalists) regardless of major, based on an audition the first two days of classes each semester.
Students may audition for placement in the following ensembles. Rehearsal times listed below.
- Mason Jazz Ensemble (big band – Jim Carroll, MW 3-4:15pm – large ensemble credit)
- Jazz Workshop (big band – Rick Parrell, Tue/Thur 3-4:15pm – large ensemble credit)
- Jazz Combos (Wade Beach, MW 1:30-2:45pm)
- Latin American Ensemble (Juan Megna, MW 1:30-2:45pm)
- Mason Jazz Vocal Ensemble (Darden Purcell Tue/Thur 4:30-5:45pm, W 6-6:50pm)
- Steel Pan Ensemble (Victor Provost, Tue 7-10pm – E-mail Victor Provost for placement)
JAZZ ENSEMBLE AUDITIONS – Spring 2020 (current Mason students)
- Instrumental Piece: Ornithology (taken at any tempo)
- 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, Phone or CD player. (Bring adapter if your phone does not have a headphone jack)
- 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, Phone 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 Bachelor of Music – Jazz Studies.
- Contact Dr. Darden Purcell to set up an audition.
Bachelor of Music – Jazz Studies
- Visit the Undergraduate Auditions page for application/audition information.
- 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
- Visit the Graduate Auditions page for application/audition information.
- Applicants should submit an audio and visual recording to the SlideRoom portal within the application to the university. The link for SlideRoom submissions will be sent to you via email upon submission of your online application. This should include five (5) tunes in contrasting styles, a resume, and a complete list of all tunes you can play (this list will be used at your live audition). The School of Music will contact MM Jazz Studies applicants regarding a live audition. If invited, the “live” audition will consist of two (2) prepared tunes in contrasting styles, one (1) solo transcription and sight-reading. Applicants should also be able to demonstrate knowledge of scales used in jazz. 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 Auditions 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)