4 thoughts on “I am preparing for an audition for a university marching band and I want to audition for the jazz band as well?

  1. TK

    Transcribe something by Miles Davis.
    Example: Doxy (by Sonny Rollins)- transcribe the head and first chorus

    Chet Baker or Freddie Hubbard would be pretty solid too.

  2. Brian

    Check out some of the Jamey Abersold collections. They have tons of basic jazz standards and all of the books come with a CD with a full rhythm section to play along with. Also be sure to learn your blues scales, which are the first steps into improving and soloing.

  3. aperionproject.org

    I would strongly recommend against playing in marching band. Bad for your lips, embrochure, intonation, dynamic range, bad music, bad for being an overall musician. It’s fun with friends and stuff, but that’s about it. I marched in high school, college and drum corp, ug.

    Anyway, a good audition tune for jazz depends on your ability and what you’re trying out for. I assume you’ll have to pick a tune to play and improvise with? Will there be someone on piano or something accompayning you on your audition? You’re best bet might be to just go with a blues, play something simple like All Blues by Miles Davis, that is always a good audition tune. However, if there is no accompayment then you should play something with a slightly more busy melody, like Doxy, or Bags Groove.

    If you’re really advanced and can improvise, just lay down some Donna Lee and be done with it. You’ll most likely have to do some sight reading too, so I would practice sight reading jazz and jazz rhythms a lot.

  4. Matthew

    Unlike one of the other answers, marching band is not inherently bad for you -if- you don’t blow your brains out while you’re playing. Marching band can actually be good if you pace yourself; it’ll help with your stamina and endurance. Just don’t go around blowing high Gs at every opportunity to show off like a lot of people do.

    To audition specifically for the jazz band (not a jazz degree), you’ll want to play a tune that shows them your sound as well as your level of artistry. Pick something that allows you some freedom while giving them a good idea of what you can do (another post offered up All Blues, that’s a great chart to work with). My personal suggestion would be any good standard where the melody gives you a chance to be expressive, but the changes allow some really nice soloing if you can hear it. An example would be It Might As Well Be Spring. Any good 12-bar blues will also work.

    If you’re auditioning for the band, you WILL be asked to sight-read, no questions asked. For collegiate bands, expect something with potentially complex rhythms or technical passages. 16th notes are usually common. They might also have you sight-read a ballad to get an idea of how you play lyrically, too.

    As for range, if your high range doesn’t go to at least a G above the staff (as in beyond high C) then don’t expect to be given a lead part. If you can solo well but don’t have huge range, you can probably expect to be put on 2nd (where most of the solos are). Without that, you may have trouble getting in; most college jazz bands have room for four or five trumpets at most if they’re doing a big band. If they do combos, you stand a better shot depending on how many drummers/pianists/bassists they have available.

    The best resource to help you will be the professor who teaches the jazz band at the university you are intending to go to. Ask him or her what the audition looks like and what it is (s)he wants out of his or her players. Ask if they have copies of what was used for previous years’ auditions. If they have a specific tune they want prepared before hand, see what you can do to get your hands on it.


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