Jazz Studies and Jazz Voice

Bachelor of Music (BM) or Bachelor of Arts (BA)

Applicants to programs in Jazz Studies and Jazz Voice must submit an online application and a video audition recording (audio only will not be accepted) to be pre-screened by the faculty by the December 1st deadline. The results of this pre-screen will determine whether an applicant will be invited to perform a live audition on the USC campus in Los Angeles.

Note: Recordings will not be accepted via mail or email for this program. Recordings must be submitted online through the “Fall Slideroom portal” by the December 1st deadline. Any application not complete by December 1 may be removed from consideration.

UNDERGRADUATE APPLICANTS- For instructions on how to access the Slideroom portal to submit your recording click HERE

Important note regarding spring admission: Applications are not accepted for Spring admission to this program.

Pre-screen Recording Requirements

The audition recording must include three to five selections of contrasting styles from the standard jazz repertoire. All selections must be on the applicant’s primary instrument or voice.

Instrumentalists must include “Au Privave” and “All the Things You Are” as two of the selections on their audition recording.

  • Lead trumpet players must also include two lead trumpet excerpts of contrasting styles (e.g., up-tempo, ballad) from the big band literature.
  • Bassists should play the head, a walking bass line, and a solo for each of the three to five selections. Bassists should also include four 2-octave major scales and four 2-octave minor scales; two of each should be played arco, two of each should be played pizzicato.
  • Drummers must play through the melody, the form and a solo for each selection on the recording. Drummers should also include several bars of a rhythm pattern in each of the following styles: swing, be-bop, latin, funk and rock. Drummers should also demonstrate the use of brushes on one or more of the selections included on the recording.
  • Pianists, reed players and brass players should be sure to play the melody and an improvised solo on all selections.

Vocalists may only audition for the Bachelor of Arts program. Vocalists must submit the following pre-screen requirements:

  • “It Could Happen to You” (medium swing feel, performed with live accompaniment)
  • “Body and Soul” (slow tempo ballad but not in a 12/8 time feel, performed with live accompaniment—please sing unaccompanied at the beginning and the piano can come in at the bridge)
  • Song of their choice (improvisation is highly encouraged)

Live Audition Requirements

Based on the results of this pre-screen, the faculty will choose to invite a select group of applicants to the USC campus in Los Angeles for a live audition. At the live auditions, accompaniment will be provided and applicants must bring legible lead sheets for all of their prepared tunes to the audition. All applicants must also be prepared to demonstrate skills in jazz improvisation and sight-reading at the audition. Drummers must also carefully note that they must bring their own sticks to the audition.

Instrumentalists must perform the same repertoire that was included on their pre-screen recording.

Vocalists must perform the following repertoire:

  • “Skylark” by Hoagy Carmichael and Johnny Mercer (performed as a ballad).
  • “Satin Doll” by Duke Ellington, Billy Strayhorn and Johnny Mercer (students must perform it medium swing and are strongly encouraged to improvise).
  • Song of their choice.

Applicants must bring legible lead sheets for all of their prepared tunes to the audition. All applicants must also be prepared to demonstrate skills in jazz improvisation and sight-reading at the audition. Drummers must also carefully note that they must bring their own sticks to the audition.


Graduate Certificate, Master of Music (Instrumental only)

Applicants to programs in Jazz Studies and Jazz Voice must submit an online application and a video audition recording (audio only will not be accepted) to be pre-screened by the faculty by the December 1st deadline. The results of this pre-screen will determine whether an applicant will be invited to perform a live audition on the USC campus in Los Angeles.

Recordings will not be accepted via mail or email for this program. Recordings must be submitted online through the “Fall Slideroom portal” by the December 1st deadline. Any application not complete by December 1 may be removed from consideration.

GRADUATE APPLICANTS- For instructions on how to access the Slideroom portal to submit your recording click HERE

Important note regarding spring admission: Applications are not accepted for Spring admission to this program.

Please Note: Current USC Thornton students applying for a graduate program are not required to submit a prescreen recording, however they must indicate on the application that they are a current Thornton student or they will not automatically be scheduled for a live audition. Current USC students are encouraged to contact Kit Bellamy in the Thornton Admission office with any questions or concerns regarding audition scheduling.

Audition Requirements

The audition recording must include three to five selections of contrasting styles from the standard jazz repertoire. All selections must be on the applicant’s primary instrument or voice.

Applicants must include “Dolphin Dance” and “One Finger Snap” as two of the selections on their audition recording. One original composition is highly encouraged.

  • Lead trumpet players must also include two lead trumpet excerpts of contrasting styles (e.g. up-tempo, ballad) from the big band literature.
  • Bassists should play the head, a walking bass line and a solo for each of the three to five selections. Bassists should also include four 2-octave major scales and four 2-octave minor scales; two of each should be played arco, two of each should be played pizzicato.
  • Drummers must play through the melody, the form and a solo for each selection on the recording. Drummers should also include several bars of a rhythm pattern in each of the following styles: swing, be-bop, latin, funk and rock. Drummers should also demonstrate the use of brushes on one or more of the selections included on the recording.
  • Pianists, reed players and brass players should be sure to play the melody and an improvised solo on all selections.

LIVE AUDITION: Based on the results of this pre-screen, the faculty will choose to invite a select group of applicants to the USC campus in Los Angeles for a live audition. At the live auditions, a rhythm section will be provided and applicants should perform the same repertoire that was included on their pre-screen recording. Applicants must bring legible lead sheets for all of their prepared tunes to the audition. All applicants must also be prepared to demonstrate skills in jazz improvisation and sight-reading at the audition. Drummers must also carefully note that they must bring their own sticks to the audition.


Doctor of Musical Arts (Instrumental only)

Applicants to programs in Jazz Studies and Jazz Voice must submit an online application and a video audition recording (audio only will not be accepted) to be pre-screened by the faculty by the December 1st deadline. The results of this pre-screen will determine whether an applicant will be invited to perform a live audition on the USC campus in Los Angeles.

Recordings will not be accepted via mail or email for this program. Recordings must be submitted online through the “Fall Slideroom portal” by the December 1st deadline. Any application not complete by December 1 may be removed from consideration.

GRADUATE APPLICANTS- For instructions on how to access the Slideroom portal to submit your recording click HERE

Important note regarding spring admission: Applications are not accepted for Spring admission to this program.

Please Note: Current USC Thornton students applying for a graduate program are not required to submit a prescreen recording, however they must indicate on the application that they are a current Thornton student or they will not automatically be scheduled for a live audition. Current USC students are encouraged to contact Kit Bellamy in the Thornton Admission office with any questions or concerns regarding audition scheduling.

Audition Requirements

The audition recording must include three to five selections of contrasting styles from the standard jazz repertoire. All selections must be on the applicant’s primary instrument or voice.

Applicants must include “Giant Steps” and “Evidence” as two of the selections on their audition recording. One original composition is highly encouraged.

  • Lead trumpet players must also include two lead trumpet excerpts of contrasting styles (e.g. up-tempo, ballad) from the big band literature.
  • Bassists should play the head, a walking bass line and a solo for each of the three to five selections. Bassists should also include four 2-octave major scales and four 2-octave minor scales; two of each should be played arco, two of each should be played pizzicato.
  • Drummers must play through the melody, the form and a solo for each selection on the recording. Drummers should also include several bars of a rhythm pattern in each of the following styles: swing, be-bop, latin, funk and rock. Drummers should also demonstrate the use of brushes on one or more of the selections included on the recording.
  • Pianists, reed players and brass players should be sure to play the melody and an improvised solo on all selections.

Live audition

Based on the results of this pre-screen, the faculty will choose to invite a select group of applicants to the USC campus in Los Angeles for a live audition. At the live auditions, a rhythm section will be provided and applicants should perform the same repertoire that was included on their pre-screen recording. Applicants must bring legible lead sheets for all of their prepared tunes to the audition. All applicants must also be prepared to demonstrate skills in jazz improvisation and sight-reading at the audition. Drummers must also carefully note that they must bring their own sticks to the audition.