Ensemble Auditions

Ensemble Auditions

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 Variances, and Symmetrical), perform a pre-selected prepared piece, sightread, and improvise (optional).

Spring 2014 Jazz Ensemble Audition Materials

Spring jazz large ensemble auditions will consist of the prepared pieces below and a sightreading portion.  Please see jazz board on 2nd floor of Westbrook Music Building for sign up times during the first week of classes.

There are available spots for the following Big Band positions:
Bass Trombone


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


Monday August 26th: Saxophones, 6:00pm-9:00pm.  (Westbrook Music Building 130)

Tuesday August 27th: Trumpets and Trombones, 6:00-9:00pm.  (Westbrook Music Building 132)

Wednesday August 28th: Rhythm Section and Vocalists, 6:00pm-9:00pm.  (Westbrook Music Building 130)

Audition Details and Downloads

Download the appropriate audition packet for your instrument from the UNL Jazz Studies website. In addition to preparing The TINGLE and BluesFALL13, prepare the following scales:
  • Bebop Scale in all keys around the Circle of 4ths
  • Diminished Scale (Half Step/Whole Step) on Bb, B, and C.
  • See the included Scale Syllabus for specific scale content.

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

Be prepared to sight-read university level jazz ensemble repertoire.

Sign up for a time on the Jazz Audition Roster on UNL Jazz Studies bulletin board between WMB 205_206. This roster will be available beginning Tuesday, 20 Aug 13.

Complete the UNL Jazz Audition form prior to the audition.

Bring your completed UNL Jazz Audition form to the audition.

DRUMMERS: In addition to downloading and preparing The TINGLE, 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”)

VOCALISTS: Prepare 1-2 jazz selections and bring lead sheets to the audition. Be prepared to scat on BluesFALL13.

FIRST Rehearsals of all UNL Jazz Ensembles begin the week of
Tuesday, 3 September 13.

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


Materials will be posted online (below) at  the end of the summer.  Signup sheets will be posted on the Jazz Studies bulletin board on the second floor of Westbrook Music Building between offices 205 and 206.