AUDITIONS - UNL Jazz Ensembles/Combos

UNL has a wide variety of jazz ensembles that are available to the student populace via a traditional audition process.  Large ensembles are auditioned at the beginning of the Fall semester and are generally regarded as a full academic year commitment.  Jazz combos are auditioned every semester and encompass a wide range of instrumentations.  While audition materials change every year, you can expect to be asked to play several scales (Major, Minor Variants, and Symmetrical), perform a pre-selected prepared piece, sightread, and improvise (optional).

The UNL Jazz Studies Program is enthusiastic about new developments in instrumentation for our large jazz ensembles. Effective in the Fall 2014 semester, the instrumentation of the UNL Jazz Orchestra will evolve to reflect contemporary developments in jazz composition and orchestration. The UNL Big Band will retain the standard 18-19 piece instrumentation reflecting the long heritage of the Big Band Tradition.

UNL Jazz Orchestra (Fall 2014)
Rehearsals: M and W, 3.30p - 5.00p
• 4 saxophones/woodwinds
• 3 trumpets
1 french horn (NEW for Fall 2014)
• 2 tenor trombones
• 1 bass trombone
string quartet (NEW for Fall 2014)
• guitar
• piano/keyboards
• acoustic and electric bass (1 player)
• drum set
• percussion (world and keyboard perc.-1 player)
• 1 -2 vocalists (depending upon auditions)

UNL Big Band (Fall 2014)
Rehearsals: T and R, 1.30p - 3.00p
• 5 saxophones
• 4 - 5 trumpets
• 4 - 5 trombones
• guitar
• piano/keyboards
• acoustic and electric bass (1 player)
• drum set
• vocalist

UNL Jazz Combos
These ensembles vary in size and instrumentation depending upon the results of auditions.

FALL 2014 Jazz Audition Schedule

Auditions for all large jazz ensembles and small jazz combos are open to ANY UNL student, regardless of major.

Monday, August 25th, 6:00pm-9:00pm, WMB 119:     Saxophone, Violin, Viola, Cello 

Tuesday, August 26th, 6:00pm-9:00pm., WMB 119:     Trumpet, Horn, Tenor Trombone, Bass Trombone

Wednesday, August 27th, 6:00pm-9:00pm, WMB 119:   Piano, Guitar, Bass, Drums, Vibes, Vocalists

* Please note that the dates in the download packets are in error. The above dates are correct. Here is a link to the corrected information:

UNL Jazz Auditions FALL 14 Info PDF 2.0

Audition Details and Downloads

Download the appropriate audition packet for your instrument here:

ALTO Sax-UNL Jazz Auditions FALL 14

TENOR Sax-UNL Jazz Auditions FALL 14

BARI Sax-UNL Jazz Auditions FALL 14

TRUMPET-UNL Jazz Auditions FALL 14

F HORN-UNL Jazz Auditions FALL 14

TENOR Trombone-UNL Jazz Auditions FALL 14

BASS Trombone-UNL Jazz Auditions FALL 14

VIOLIN-UNL Jazz Auditions FALL 14

VIOLA-UNL Jazz Auditions FALL 14

CELLO-UNL Jazz Auditions FALL 14

GUITAR-UNL Jazz Auditions FALL 14

PIANO-UNL Jazz Auditions FALL 14

BASS-UNL Jazz Auditions FALL 14

DRUM SET-UNL Jazz Auditions FALL 14


VIBES-UNL Jazz Auditions FALL 14

VOICE-UNL Jazz Auditions FALL 14


Improvisation as part of the audition is highly encouraged, but not mandatory for section positions. 
Improvisation at the audition IS mandatory if auditioning for the following positions:
  • Alto Saxophone 1
  • Tenor Saxophone 1
  • Trumpet (Jazz chair)
  • Trombone (Jazz chair)
  • Guitar
  • Piano
  • Bass

Sight reading

Be prepared to sight-read professional level (e.g. Grade 5) jazz ensemble repertoire.


Sign up for a time on the Jazz Audition Roster on UNL Jazz Studies bulletin board between WMB 205 - 206 (between Dr. Haar and Dr. Richards' offices). This roster will be available beginning Monday, 18 August 2014

Print and complete the UNL Jazz Audition form in the download packet prior to the audition and bring it to your scheduled audition.


In addition to downloading the Fall 2014 Jazz Audition packet, prepare examples of the following grooves:
  • Medium swing (q = 120) with sticks and brushes
  • Up-tempo swing (q = 240) with sticks and brushes
  • Ballad with brushes (q = 72)
  • Bossa (sticks and brushes)
  • Samba (sticks and brushes)
  • Afro-Cuban/Abakua
  • Straight 16ths Funk
  • Swing 16ths Funk
  • Contemporary straight 8ths (“ECM”)


Prepare 1-2 jazz selections and bring lead sheets to the audition. Be prepared to scat on BILLIE'S BOUNCE and YOU'D BE SO NICE TO COME HOME TO. If you use these tunes as your solo selections, research and sing with lyrics.

FIRST rehearsals of all UNL Jazz Ensembles will begin the week of Tuesday, 2 September 14.

Please direct any questions to
Dr. Eric Richards, Director-UNL Jazz Orchestra: