Jazz Studies

Bachelor of Music (BM)

Application Deadline for Current USC Students

December 1

Not a Current USC Student?
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Graduate Student?
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Undergraduate Application Requirements for Current USC Students

This section is for current USC students applying to the Bachelor of Music (BM) Jazz Studies program, including current Thornton students wishing to add or switch their major. All required materials for fall admission must be submitted by December 1. Applications are not accepted for Spring admission to this program.

The total application fee is $25 for the Thornton Portfolio in SlideRoom. Recordings/materials must be submitted online through the SlideRoom Portfolio by the December 1 deadline and will not be accepted via mail or email for any program. We cannot guarantee the review of any material received after the deadline. Any application not complete by December 1 may be removed from consideration.

Applicants experiencing hardship or extenuating circumstances due to natural disaster or public health concerns in their local area that may affect their ability to satisfy application requirements may contact the Thornton Office of Admission at uscmusic@usc.edu to explore possible accommodations. Though we cannot guarantee that accommodations/exceptions will be possible, applicants are encouraged to contact the Admission Office as soon as possible to allow the maximum amount of time to consider the options.

Applying For

Fall Admission

Auditions Required?

Yes, 2 rounds

Questions?

Email: uscmusic@usc.edu | Phone: (213)740-8986

Complete the SlideRoom Portfolio

Applicants must complete the USC Thornton Portfolio for Current USC Students via SlideRoom. Applicants are only permitted to select one program through the SlideRoom application. Applicants who would like to be considered for admission to a second Thornton program must contact Brittany Jimenez at seits@usc.edu prior to the application deadline to receive instructions on how to submit a second SlideRoom application.

To access the Current USC Student SlideRoom portal to submit your application click here.

Important Note: Once in SlideRoom, make sure to select the form titled “FOR CURRENT USC STUDENTS ONLY” and the appropriate term (spring or fall). All other forms will require you to have a Common Application and current USC students do not need to complete the Common Application.

Applicants will be asked to provide the following materials in the SlideRoom portfolio:

SlideRoom Requirements

Prescreen Recorded Audition

Applicants to programs in Jazz Studies must submit a video recording to be prescreened by the faculty. Only video recordings are acceptable. The results of this prescreen will determine whether an applicant will be invited to perform a live audition.

The video 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. See below for additional prescreen repertoire requirements:

Instrumentalists (except guitar – see below) 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.

Guitarists 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 prescreening 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 should prepare all material with either live accompaniment or backing track. Vocalists must submit the following prescreen 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.
Introductory Video for All Undergraduate Applicants

All applicants to undergraduate Thornton programs are required to submit a single-take, unedited, and preferably unrehearsed 1-2 minute video that offers a brief personal introduction and answers the following question: How do you envision using your USC Thornton education to become a force for positive change in the evolution of the music profession and music as an art form?

Jazz Studies Capstone Project Video

The music profession is changing, and we’re changing with it. USC Thornton’s undergraduate music curriculum maintains a rigorous foundation of the finest musical training, while also offering flexibility for students to chart their own artistic pathway. We aim to create musical leaders who can not only take advantage of traditional opportunities, but also discover new ones – and even create their own. All four years are aimed at the two things most important to musicians: taking their musicianship to the highest levels and preparing for a thriving professional life.

One of the components of this forward-thinking curriculum is the option of a senior capstone that allows students to develop and fully realize a unique project related to their work as musicians. This could involve developing a hybrid performance, conducting original research, exploring new technologies, or applying creative expression to a pressing social issue.

To help us get to know our applicants and their unique identity as young musicians, all applicants to undergraduate programs in the Thornton School are required to submit (via SlideRoom) a single-take, unedited, and preferably unscripted video of no more than two minutes. In this video applicants must answer the following question: If you were pitching your capstone project idea today, what is the project you would propose and why?”

Résumé

The résumé should list musical, professional, and academic experience and is generally 1-2 pages in length.

Repertoire List

This list should include works studied and performed. Etudes, scale studies, arias, art songs, chamber music, solo pieces, and original compositions are all examples of what could be included in this list.

Academic Information

Current USC students are not required to submit transcripts but will be asked to upload a copy of their “Summary of Completed Courses” and “Registered Course List” available through myUSC.

To access your “Summary of Completed Courses”, log into myUSC (my.usc.edu) and click “OASIS”. Click “Continue” to access your course information and then select “Summary of Completed Courses”, which is the history of your completed courses including units and grades. Important note: the STARS report will not be accepted in lieu of the “Summary of Completed Courses”.

  • Note: If you are currently enrolled in your first semester at USC and have not yet completed any courses, upload a PDF document with the following statement: “I am currently enrolled in my first semester at USC and have not yet completed any courses at USC.”

To access your “Registered Course List”, log into myUSC (my.usc.edu) and click “OASIS”. Click “Continue” to access your course information and then select “Registered Course List”.

  • Note: you only need to upload your registered courses for the current fall semester.
Letters of Recommendation (Optional)

Optional letters of recommendation for the Thornton School may be submitted through the SlideRoom References section. Important notes for optional letters of recommendation:

  • Any optional letters of recommendation you want reviewed by the faculty must be submitted via the Thornton SlideRoom References form by the appropriate deadline (December 1 for fall admission). We cannot guarantee the review of any material received after the deadline.
  • Any recommendations sent via mail or email will not be reviewed by the faculty.

Perform Audition if Invited

The results of this prescreen will determine whether an applicant will be invited to perform a live audition. Notice of the results of the prescreen audition will be sent to applicants via email 3-4 weeks after the application deadline, which will include the date and time of the audition, if invited.

Applicants who live more than 100 miles from the USC campus and are unable to travel to Los Angeles for their live audition due to financial hardship can request an online audition on their Thornton SlideRoom Portfolio. Applicants who live within a 100-mile radius of the USC campus are required to perform their live audition in person.

Please carefully note that a requested online audition may be scheduled on a date that does not fall on one of our regularly scheduled audition weekends, and it is not guaranteed that all online audition requests can be granted.

Live Audition Requirements

In addition to the specific repertoire requirements as indicated below, all applicants must also be prepared to demonstrate skills in jazz improvisation and sight-reading at the live audition.

Instrumentalists (except guitar – see below) must perform the same repertoire that was included on their prescreen recording.

Guitarists must perform the following repertoire:

  • 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 faculty member or a trio setting with bass and drums.
  • 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).
  • Sight reading (notes, rhythms or chords with harmonic rhythms).
  • For applicants performing a live audition in-person on the USC campus: A bassist and a drummer from the program will be present to assist with your audition. Applicants will be asked to perform of jazz blues selection with the bassist and drummer.

Vocalists must perform the following repertoire (applicants should prepare 4 copies of all music in their key for live in-person auditions):

  • “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.

Note for applicants performing a live audition in-person on the USC campus: Accompaniment will be provided and applicants must bring legible lead sheets for all of their prepared tunes to the audition. Drummers must also carefully note that they must bring their own sticks to the audition.

Undergraduate Theory Exam

All undergraduate applicants (except in Composition and Music Industry) are required to complete a music theory examination as part of the live audition requirements. The exam will measure proficiency in basic music theory. Further details about how and when the exam will be administered will be provided in the audition confirmation sent to applicants invited for a live audition. Exam results alone will not prevent a student from being admitted to USC or the Thornton School. The Thornton Admission office cannot release exam details in advance of the exam. Inquiries regarding the content of the exam will not be answered.

Note: Current Thornton students who have already completed MUCO 132ab and MUCO 133ab are not required to take the exam.