Audition Information

All incoming School of Music students are required to attend a New Student Audition Day.

Interested graduate students should contact the applicable faculty member and follow the requirements for auditions on the School of Music website.

For Fall 2022 admission

Saturday, Jan. 22, 2022 (on campus)
Friday, Feb. 4, 2022 (on campus)
Friday, Feb. 18, 2022 (on campus)
Friday, Feb. 25, 2022 (virtual)

Applicants who live more than 300 miles from Kalamazoo who are unable to attend in person, should select our virtual event on February 25. 

Jazz voice

Live Audition Requirements:

Please prepare the following:

  1. Two jazz songs in contrasting styles (swing, bossa nova, ballad, jazz waltz etc…) preferably with vocal improvisation as part of one of them.
  2. If neither selection includes vocal improvisation, (scat-singing) then be prepared to improvise 2 choruses over 12-bar blues.  

You are welcome to bring your own accompaniment - pianist or guitarist. You may also audition with pre-recorded "backing tracks" such as Aebersold, iREal pro etc... if these accompaniment options are not available to you, there will also be a pianist available at your audition. 

The rest of your live audition will include:

  1. Sight-reading: demonstrate sight-reading skills by singing the provided excerpts.
  2. Aural recall:  sing back a series of notes played at the piano.
  3. Harmonic recall:  sing the notes you hear when a chord is played at the piano.
  4. Sing a C major scale, a C minor scale (of your choosing) and a C chromatic scale, ascending and descending.
  5. Vocalize to explore your vocal range.  (Be vocally warmed up prior to audition)
  6. Interview: this is an opportunity for you to ask questions and for me to get to know you a bit more. 

Long Distance (virtual) Audition Requirements:

Be prepared to submit a video of the following:

  1. Two jazz songs in contrasting styles (swing, bossa nova, ballad, jazz waltz, etc…) preferably with vocal improvisation as part of one of them.
  2. If neither selection includes vocal improvisation, (scat-singing) then be prepared to improvise 2 choruses over 12-bar blues.  

You are welcome to bring your own accompaniment - a pianist or guitarist. You may also audition with pre-recorded "backing tracks" such as Aebersold, iREal pro etc... if these accompaniment options are not available to you, there will also be a pianist available at your audition. 

Live component via Zoom or FaceTime [30min]

  1. Sight-reading: demonstrate sight-reading skills by singing the provided excerpts.
  2. Aural recall:  sing back a series of notes played at the piano.
  3. Harmonic recall:  sing the notes you hear when a chord is played at the piano.
  4. Sing a C major scale, a C minor scale (of your choosing), and a C chromatic scale, ascending and descending.
  5. Vocalize to explore your vocal range.  (Be vocally warmed up prior to audition)
  6. Interview: this is an opportunity for you to ask questions and for me to get to know you a bit more.

JAZZ saxophone

Please prepare the following:

  1. A piece of your choice in 12-bar blues form (such as Billie’s Bounce or Straight, No Chaser) with two or three improvised choruses to follow.
  2. A jazz standard of your choice (such as Autumn Leaves, All the Things You Are, Oleo) with improvised choruses to follow.
  3. Basic Ear-Training, selected two-octave scales (Major, Harmonic, Natural, Melodic Minor) and Chromatic Scale (full-range low Bb - High F), and sight-reading.

Accompaniment will be provided during your audition (Dr. Rathbun will accompany you, o you may use play-along recordings).

JAZZ trumpet and trombone

Please prepare the following:

1.     A piece of your choice in 12-bar blues form (such as Billie’s Bounce or Straight, No Chaser) with two or three improvised choruses to follow.

2.     A jazz standard of your choice (such as Autumn Leaves, All the Things You Are, Oleo) with improvised choruses to follow.

3. Select two-octave major scales (for sound and range), basic ear-training (imitate single and short phrases & basic chord ID) and sight-reading of jazz pieces. 

4. Optional: An excerpt from a classical etude, lyrical studies, or classical solo literature.

JAZZ guitar

Please prepare the following:

1.     A piece of your choice in 12-bar blues form (such as Billie’s Bounce or Straight, No Chaser) with two or three improvised choruses to follow.

2.     A jazz standard of your choice (such as Autumn Leaves, All the Things You Are, Oleo) - melody plus one or two choruses of improvisation and one chorus of comping.  

3. Two-octave major scales, chord-types (play a voicing representing a given chord symbol), basic assessment of aural comprehension (identify triad qualities or intervals by ear, for example), and sight-reading.

JAZZ piano

Please prepare the following:

  1. A piece of your choice in 12-bar blues form (such as Billie’s Bounce or Straight, No Chaser) - melody plus two or three improvised choruses.
  2. A jazz standard of your choice (such as Autumn Leaves, All the Things You Are, Oleo) - melody plus improvised choruses.
  3. Two classical pieces of your choice including at least one from the Baroque or Classical era.

The audition will also include questions about two-octave major scales (for sound and range), chord-types (play a voicing representing a given chord symbol), pitch-matching (play what you hear), and sight-reading of jazz pieces and rhythm.

Note: the classical pieces (#3 above) will be performed as part of a required separate audition for the classical piano faculty. 

JAZZ bass

Please prepare the following:

  1. A piece of your choice in 12-bar blues form at 100-120bpm (such as Billie’s Bounce, Now’s the Time or Straight, No Chaser) playing the melody followed by two walking choruses and one or two improvised choruses.
  2. A jazz standard of your choice 120-140 bpm (such as Stella by Starlight, Autumn Leaves, All the Things You Are, Oleo) playing the melody followed by one or two walking choruses.
  3. Select two-octave major scales (for sound and range), and sight-reading of jazz pieces.

Jazz Drums

Please prepare the following:

  1. Swing time in the 12-bar blues form at 132 bpm
    1. Play 3 choruses of time
    2. Trade 4’s for 2 choruses
    3. Solo for two choruses
    4. Play 1 chorus of time
  2. Swing time in the 32-bar AABA form between 190-200 bpm
    1. Play 2 choruses of time
    2. Trade 8’s for one chorus
    3. Solo for one chorus
    4. Play 1 chorus of time
  3. Afro-Caribbean Grooves 
    Choose 3 from the following: Mambo, African 6/8, Songo,
    Samba, Bossa Nova, Mozambique, Rumba, or others. 
  4. Brushes
    1. Play Ballad time on the snare at 60 bpm
    2. Medium Swing on the snare at 120 bpm
      1. 16 bars in a ‘two-feel’
      2. Transition to a ‘4-feel’ for 16 bars.
  5. Funk at 76 bpm and 100 bpm.