View Full Version : jazz audition - a question

07-13-2004, 10:59 AM
i live in sydney australia and im applying to study at the sydney conservatorium of music in a few months.
I'm working my *** off... i literally practice for 7+ hours a day... it means everything to me to get in to this course [jazz performance]...the reason i practice so much is because i decided this year i want to be a musician..and up until a few months ago... i pretyt much knew nothing about jazz, and had very sloppy chops and a bad ear...anyway, a few months have passed, and ive come along in leaps and bounds..

now! the criteria to get it is an examination of a bunch of things...ie sight reading, performing a jazz standard, aural..etc

my question is about performing the jazz standard - they have specified what songs we are allowed to play - they're all the popular jazz standards. I have the real book, and theyr'e all in there, but they are very boring versions of the songs.

now - how exactly do i 'perform' these pieces - as to play the versions in the book would be deadly boring. As it is very difficult to play 'such and such's' version of a jazz song, like in rock music... is it implied that i should prepare by actually arranging certain substitutions and chord melodies ...etc... ie, should i come in with my own version of the song?


07-13-2004, 06:51 PM
first of all, congrats. on your decision. Best of luck !!

As for your question: you're applying to a music school, I don't think they expect you to be able to rearrange the tune or use chord melodies. If you're capable of these things, it would be beneficial to let them know so that you're properly placed and get the most from your education. If possible, I'd give them a call and let them answer any question you have.


07-13-2004, 07:57 PM
There's nothing wrong with getting in touch with someone at the school and being direct and to the point with them, saying, "I am very serious about wanting to attend this school and I wish to approach the audition material in the way that's most likely to get me accepted." Find out what they want to hear from you and work towards it - boring or not.

07-13-2004, 08:05 PM
I don't think you should worry too much about the head of the song. You could arrange it which is always nice, but I would focus on your timing and phrasing. If it's a decet conservatory they will listen if you show affinity with the genre of jazz, and less on the flashy stuff.
However, something you didn't mention is improvisation. If you're auditioning for a jazz study they will expect you to improvise a couple of choruses of the standard. This is where you "make it your own version", and what they will listen to for the major part. Because the standard is just a vehicle for this the melody of the head isn't that important (as long as you don't screw up too much).
Also, make sure your rhythm skills are up to par, a lack in this area is often the reason to fail the audition.
Hope this helps you along, good luck!

07-13-2004, 11:04 PM
hey guys - thank you for the replies!

i just have one question.
When you say that my rhythm should be good - i mean, thats a given that music is rhythmic... but in terms of a jazz standard, do you mean that my comping skills should be rhythmically 'advanced'...or my phrasing should be rhythmically advanced..or both?


07-14-2004, 11:47 AM
I was talking about your sense of rhythm, not necissarily the rhythms itself (although that's important too in you improvs.)
I guess I should have said timing and phrasing. Your swing timing must be good, you must be able to play in time, and preferably play a bit behind the beat, put the accents in the right places.
Advanced is a tricky term to use in this case; It's not to be cofused with complex, you can comp at a very high level by just playing simple stuff.
What I want to advise you is to focus on the basics: Time feel, phrasing, making staments in your improvisation etc etc. You wont be rejected for not playing complex and/or reallyfast stuff, those are the thing you will learn at the conservatory. But if your basic skills have flaws in them they might think it's no use to work with you.

08-20-2004, 08:10 AM
Hey Yon,

The best advice I can offer you is to listen to some jazz greats!!