Entrance Auditions


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The Bachelor of Music degree in Jazz Studies is designed to produce performers of unique versatility and flexibility. The program offers a balance of instruction in traditional music and jazz performance and a thorough grounding in the fundamentals of music.

Prior to acceptance into the degree program, students must pass an entrance audition. This performance audition is required of all applicants to the program.

Audition procedure

Three selections of contrasting styles, as outlined below, on the applicant's primary instrument should be prepared for the audition. In addition, applicants should also be prepared to demonstrate skills in sight-reading. Rhythm section players will be asked to read a variety of jazz literature as well as playing and comping time. Drum set players should be prepared to demonstrate a variety of drumming styles including, but not limited to, up-tempo and medium swing, jazz waltz, funk, shuffle, and a selection of Latin rhythms.

Auditions are held in room 303 in the Sacramento State Music Department (Capistrano Hall). A four-piece drum set, a baby grand piano, and bass & guitar amps are provided. Drummers must supply their own cymbals.

The format for the entrance audition is as follows:

  1. Three prepared selections (wind instruments, voice, piano, bass, and guitar). Demonstrate your knowledge of the melody and your ability to improvise over the chord changes. Play-a-long CD tracks, recorded in the standard keys, will be provided for your accompaniment. You are welcome to bring in your own CD accompaniment tracks if you prefer.

    One medium tempo or up-tempo tune in a Swing style
      Suggested swing tunes:
      • Autumn Leaves
      • Take the A-Train
      • All the Things You Are
      • Satin Doll
      • Stella By Starlight
      • Just Friends
      • Lullaby of Birdland
      • Four
      • All of Me
      • Oleo (rhythm changes)
      • There Will Never Be Another You

    One jazz Ballad OR  a Bossa Nova
      Suggested ballads:
      • My Funny Valentine
      • My Romance
      • Round Midnight
      • My One and Only Love
      • Misty
      • Body and Soul
      • Angel Eyes
      • Darn That Dream
      • Embraceable You

      Suggested Bossa Novas:
      • Blue Bossa
      • Meditation
      • Wave
      • Black Orpheus
      • Girl from Ipanema
      • Corcovado
      • Triste
      • Gentle Rain
      • Black Orpheus

    One standard Blues tune
      Suggested blues tunes:
      • Straight no Chaser
      • Blue Monk
      • Billie's Bounce
      • Bessie's Blues
      • Now's the Time
      • Tenor Madness
      • Doxy

  2. Major and Minor scales covering the full range of your instrument.

  3. Sight-reading. Excerpts will be chosen from standard big band literature. Vocalists will be asked to sight-read excerpts from vocal jazz ensemble literature.

For questions regarding the instrumental jazz audition, contact Steve Roach at (916) 278-7987 or e-mail at: roach@csus.edu
For questions regarding a jazz voice audition, contact Gaw Vang Williams at (916)842-0347 or email at gawvang@csus.edu