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 “Airegin” by Sonny Rollins and “Blues for Alice” by Charlie Parker 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.

Guitar must include at least one selection from the standard jazz repertoire (such as All The Things You Are or jazz classics such as Take the “A” Train) and at least one selection should be a solo performance played in chord-melody style (harmonized in the solo guitar style of Joe Pass or George Van Eps). Guitarists must also include a one-minute verbal introduction in the pre-screening video, providing answers to the following questions:

  • What are your goals and aspirations in pursuing a career in music?
  • What do you expect to gain from and contribute to the Jazz Guitar program?

Vocalists may only audition for the Bachelor of Arts program. All material should be performed live with rhythm section accompaniment (live rhythm section preferred, play along tracks acceptable). Vocalists must submit the following pre-screen requirements:

  • “Body and Soul”. Vocalist shall perform the first 16 bars acapella with band entering on the bridge.
  • Medium or up tempo swing performance of either “There is no Greater Love” or “There Will Never Be Another You”. Vocalist must perform the melody of the song and one or more choruses of improvisation.
  • Perform the melody of Anthropology, Confirmation or Ornithology using scat syllables.
  • Contrasting Jazz song of your choice (non ballad preferred): Standards, contemporary and original compositions welcome.

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.

Guitar

  • Sight reading (notes, rhythms or chords with harmonic rhythms).
  • Solo performance of a standard song or a jazz classic (standard songs such as All The Things You Are or jazz classics such as Take the “A” Train) played in the chord-melody style (harmonized in the solo guitar style of Joe Pass or George Van Eps).
  • Performance of a standard song or a jazz classic. Applicants should be prepared to play the melody, play an improvised solo on the form, and then play rhythm accompaniment for another soloist. This selection will be performed either in a duo setting with a facility member or a trio setting with bass and drums.
  • A bassist and a drummer from the program will be present to assist with your audition.
  • Performance of jazz blues selection with the bassist and drummer.
  • Major and minor scales and modes covering the entire fingerboard (at the discretion of the faculty and time permitting).
  • Major and minor triads on four different string sets, seventh chord voicings and extended harmonies (at the discretion of the faculty and time permitting).
  • Optional: additional material that demonstrates any other specific areas of expertise and interest. This may include styles such as contemporary jazz, fusion, pop, rock, bluegrass, blues, etc., performed alone or with pre-recorded accompaniment.

Vocalists must perform the following repertoire (Student should arrive with 4 copies of all music in their key):

  • “Darn That Dream”: ballad feel
  • “All of Me”: Medium Swing, vocalist must perform the melody of the song and one or more choruses of improvisation.
  • Contrasting jazz selection of your choice (non ballad preferred): modern jazz repertoire, world music grooves, bebop, standards or original compositions/arrangements encouraged.

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 (instrumental only) 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.

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 (instrumental only) 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.

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.