Jazz Audition Requirements

In addition to satisfying the classical audition requirements, applicants for the jazz studies major must choose one song from the following categories:

  1. A 12-bar blues, in the key and tempo of your choice, with a melody/head of your choice
  2. A jazz standard
  3. A ballad

If you need ideas on possible songs, see the lists below. Another good source for ideas is the great website JazzStandards.com. If you have prepared a transcription of an improvised solo (either published or something you transcribed), you are encouraged to perform that as well.

Jazz studies auditions are scheduled for 20 minutes (in addition to other activities scheduled for the day). Plan the rundown (the arrangements) for your tunes so that the total amount of music is no more than 10 minutes, so there will be time to chat for a few minutes, too.

In addition to the above requirements, instrumental jazz applicants will be asked to sing the melody of one of their prepared pieces. This requirement is so we can hear your sense of pitch and tonality, not for vocal quality, style or time feel.

Vocal jazz applicants will be asked to sing a chromatic scale. Singing this scale on a neutral syllable is totally fine, but you can use solfege syllables if you know them. Plan a comfortable starting note, then sing the scale slowly, ascending an octave and pause at the top note to check pitch. Then, start at the top note and descend back to the starting note.

Additional Thoughts

Try to relax. I know these things can make us tense. An audition is just a chance for you to meet us and for us to learn about you and your musicianship. We’re excited to hear you!

Before Your Audition

I encourage you to get a sample jazz lesson with me before your audition. This is the best way to learn about our school and program. Contact me at mtitlebaum@ithaca.edu. It is also be a good idea to get a lesson on your instrument/voice with our performance studies faculty. Before contacting faculty, be sure to read “Best Practices for Contacting Faculty.”

Ideas For Songs

Click to expand the sections below.

  • Blue Monk
  • Au Privave
  • Now’s the Time
  • Blues for Alice
  • Tenor Madness
  • Straight, No Chaser
  • Centerpiece
  • Route 66
  • Perdido
  • In Walked Bud
  • Well, You Needn’t
  • Epistrophy
  • Confirmation
  • Donna Lee
  • Ornithology
  • Dolphin Dance
  • Goodbye Pork Pie Hat
  • A Night in Tunisia
  • All the Things You Are
  • All of Me
  • Blue Skies
  • My Romance
  • How High the Moon
  • Take the 'A' Train
  • What Is This Thing Called Love?
  • Sweet Georgia Brown
  • Cherokee
  • Stompin’ at the Savoy
  • There Is No Greater Love (a.k.a. No Greater Love)
  • On the Sunny Side of the Street
  • Body and Soul
  • How Deep Is the Ocean
  • But Beautiful
  • Darn That Dream
  • Round Midnight
  • Lover Man
  • Embraceable You
  • Sophisticated Lady
  • Prelude to a Kiss
  • In a Sentimental Mood

For Questions Regarding Jazz Auditions:

Please contact Mike Titlebaum, Director of Jazz Studies