Jazz Ensemble Audition Information 2012-13
PLEASE READ THIS ENTIRE PAGE FOR INFORMATION REGARDING THE 2012-2013 AUDITIONS.
Auditions will occur during the week of August 27th, 2012. Unlike previous years, jazz auditions will be done blind, behind a screen. More information on this process will be distributed to all students who sign up on the the Jazz Ensemble Audition Sign-Up Page. Students of any major (including non-music majors) are encouraged to participate and audition.
IMPORTANT NOTE: All players interested in being placed into a jazz ensemble in either fall 2012 or spring 2013 semesters must audition in the fall. There will not be additional auditions in the spring, unless unexpected vacancies occur in the jazz ensemble or lab bands.
OVERVIEW OF JAZZ AUDITIONS:
Auditions for jazz ensemble will consist of three parts:
- Playing a prepared piece (this year, called "Just Neighbors"),
- improvising (if you improvise, you will play over the changes to "Just Friends", which are the same as "Just Neighbors"), and
Placement into the jazz ensembles or lab bands is based on multiple criteria, including:
- Basic musical elements (good tone, intonation, dynamics, instrumental control)
- Jazz style (articulation, vibrato, authenticity)
- Swinging time feel
- Woodwind doubling (for saxophonists, the ability to play flute and clarinet)
- Section lead playing
PART 1: WHAT TO PRACTICE FOR THE PREPARED PORTION
Please prepare the original piece "Just Neighbors" which is based on the chord progression to the jazz standard "Just Friends." A PDF of the sheet music in your instrument's key and a practice playalong MP3 recording can be downloaded from Mr. Titlebaum's Dropbox page. Once you begin the signup process, the link to the Dropbox page will be provided. Here's the link to begin the process:
The process is a little convoluted (you put in your email address, get a password, click the links, fill out a form, download the stuff, practice a lot, etc.). Once you've completed the sign-up process, download the proper PDF and play-along recordings. Practice the melody "Just Neighbors" with as much style, articulation, and good time feel as possible. Horn players should work towards utilizing half-tonguing techniques for all the ghosted notes.
NOTE TO SAXOPHONISTS: Saxophonists are not required to play flute or clarinet, but strong flute/clarinet/saxophone doublers will be significantly more likely to be seated in the top band, the IC Jazz Ensemble. If you do play flute and/or clarinet, you MUST also download the flute (concert key) and clarinet (Bb) PDF parts at the above link, and perform the song on these instruments at the audition.
NOTE TO DRUMMERS: Please bring sticks, brushes, and mallets for vibes if you also play them. A drum set, cymbals and vibes will be provided. If you play vibes, you should prepare to play "Just Neighbors" on vibes. On drums, you will play "Just Neighbors" along with the track called "Just Neighbors --- WITHOUT DRUMS." You will also sight-read some selections (on drums and vibes if you play vibes). You may be asked to play a few other grooves, possibly to include (but not limited to) a "walking" ballad time feel with Brushes (at quarter note=80) and a Bossa Nova or Samba.
NOTE TO BASSISTS: We will be playing acoustic bass unamplified. Please prepare the head (melody) to "Just Neighbors" and be ready to play both walking basslines and a 2-feel. Also, plan on taking a solo on the same changes. You will be playing along with the playalong entitled "Just Neighbors --- WITHOUT BASS."
NOTE TO PIANISTS: Prepare the head (melody) to "Just Neighbors" and be ready to play the melody and comp on the changes. Also, plan on taking a solo on the same changes. You will be playing along with the playalong entitled "Just Neighbors --- WITHOUT CHORDS."
NOTE TO GUITARISTS: Prepare the head (melody) to "Just Neighbors" and be ready to play the melody and comp on the changes, and play "Freddie Green" style for the changes. Also, plan on taking a solo on the same changes. You will be playing along with the playalong entitled "Just Neighbors --- WITHOUT CHORDS."
PART 2: WHAT TO PREPARE FOR THE IMPROVISATION SECTION
If you improvise, you will play on the chord changes to "Just Friends" with the play-along. The changes are included in the same PDF lead sheets as above. Also, you are encouraged to use the MP3 above for improvisation practice.
To begin, you should listen to the recordings of the original song "Just Friends." A bunch recordings are in the Dropbox sub-folder called "Real recordings of Just Friends." Pick your favorite ones and transcribe the solos. Listen to Sarah Vaughan even though you're an instrumentalist. Go to YouTube and listen to as many recordings of "Just Friends" as you can find. Learn the melody to "Just Friends."
Then, practice arpeggios on all the chords. It is valuable to practice them in quarter notes (or eights notes when the chords are only two beats long), using the patterns 1357, 7531, and 3517. Seek out the guide tones and work on how the resolve from one to the next. Another recommendation is to write out a solo that sounds improvised, so you can get the idea of what a good improvised solo might sound like.
When working on jazz, it is best to do it in multiple ways: by yourself, with a metronome, with the various play-along recordings, even along with the real recordings, and jamming with other players/friends/colleagues. If you would like to work with a simple play-along recording to practice "Just Neighbors", please download the "Just Neighbors Playalong.MP3".
PART 3: SIGHT READING
Every auditioner will be asked to play one (if not more than one) sight-reading excerpt.
NOTE FOR INDIVIDUALS WITH DISABILITIES
Individuals with disabilities requiring accommodations should contact jazz director Mike Titlebaum at firstname.lastname@example.org. We ask that requests for accommodations be made as soon as possible.
If you have any questions about auditioning for IC jazz ensembles, please do not hesitate to contact Mike Titlebaum at email@example.com.