Jazz

Auditions

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    All students applying for admission to the School of Jazz and Contemporary Music at The New School are required to audition. On-campus auditions take place from February 23 to March 10, 2019, for those seeking entry in the fall 2019 semester and November 8 to November 10, 2018, for those seeking entry in the spring 2019 semester. 

    Audition Options

    All applicants must audition live in New York, at one of our Regional Auditions, or by submitting an audition video using Acceptd. We strongly encourage everyone to attend the live auditions, but we understand that not everyone is able to travel to New York or regionally to audition. Applicants must indicate their desired audition method on their Common Application.

    Pre-screen

    All applicants must submit a one-song pre-screen video recording. The video recording may be made using backing tracks, but recording with a live rhythm section is recommended. The pre-screen should highlight the applicant's artistic practice in music using voice or the specific instrument that was indicated on the application for admission. There are no restrictions on the style, genre, or instrumentation submitted, but we must be able to clearly hear the applicant.

    Final Audition Repertoire

    Prepare and perform three songs (15 minutes total):

    Song 1 - Jazz standard (Traditional American Songbook, blues, jazz tune, bossa nova, etc.; see typical repertoire below), to be performed with live rhythm section (rhythm section provided for on-campus auditions). Applicant must provide clear sheet music.

    Song 2 - A contrasting jazz standard (Traditional American Songbook, blues, jazz tune, bossa nova, etc.; see typical repertoire below) to be performed with live rhythm section (rhythm section provided for on-campus auditions). Applicant must provide clear sheet music.

    Song 3 - Another piece of your choosing, in any style (jazz, blues, pop, soul, R&B, etc.; see typical repertoire below), which can be performed with you accompanying yourself or with you using the provided rhythm section.  Applicant must provide clear sheet music in either case. Please note that you will not have any additional rehearsal time for arrangements.

    Keep in mind that we want to see breadth and diversity in your three audition pieces. Do your best to play three different tempos and styles, and show us works that you love to perform. We want to see you at your best! 

    Audition Evaluation

    All auditions (live and recorded) are primarily judged on the following criteria:

    • Individual expression
    • Technique
    • Musical maturity
    • Originality
    • Ability to phrase a melody, perform with a committed rhythmic feel, and improvise confidently with a rhythm section

    The audition is the primary evaluation tool for both acceptance to the BFA program and scholarship consideration. New School Jazz scholarships, all merit-based, are awarded at the time of admission and included in the letter of acceptance.

    Live Auditions

    Live auditions take place on campus at The New School in February, March, and April for fall semester admission and in November for spring semester admission. After submitting their application and pending a favorable pre-screen review, applicants will be sent an email to self-schedule their audition, choosing from the available dates and times. When selecting the audition date and time, applicants must select the earliest time slot available on the chosen date to ensure that their audition will not have to be moved to fit that day’s schedule.

    Applicants perform their live auditions with a rhythm section composed of current New School students. The audition review panel consists of New School faculty members and administrators.

    The audition room is set up with a full drum kit, piano, bass amp, guitar amp, or vocal PA system, as needed. Applicants are required to bring their own instruments (except drums, piano, and acoustic bass applicants), music, instrument cables, and any additional equipment they need to perform.

    Applicants arriving more than 30 minutes before their audition will be given a 15-minute warmup period prior to the audition.

    Bass applicants may audition on a New School instrument provided they reserve it in advance. Applicants may reserve an instrument by email once they have confirmed their audition time.

    Drum applicants must audition using the drum kit provided by The New School and must use the cymbals provided with the kit.

    Applicants should plan on having three copies of sheet music for each of their selections.

    Video Auditions

    Applicants submitting an audition recording must use Acceptd. The service fee is $30.

    Every effort should be made to record video auditions with live accompanists; if that is not possible, pre-recorded accompaniment tracks are acceptable. While the audio of audition recordings should be high quality, we do not require applicants to record their auditions in a professional studio. All video audition files must be clearly labeled with the applicant's name, the instrument, and the title of each track.

    Video auditions must be received at the Office of Admission by the dates indicated on the Application Instructions.

    Additional Media Submissions

    Applicants hoping to share additional work may do so using their Acceptd submission. This may include sheet music of arrangements, original compositions, video or audio from live performances, or other new media. This is an opportunity to show us anything that would not be reflected in the rest of our audition or application process.

    Typical Repertoire

    Traditional American Songbook includes songs taken from American musical theater and performed in a jazz context. Composers of these pieces include George Gershwin ("Summertime"), Irving Berlin ("Blue Skies"), Cole Porter ("What Is This Thing Called Love"), Rodgers & Hart ("My Funny Valentine"), and a host of others.

    Blues tunes can come from the long tradition of American blues stretching back to W.C. Handy ("St. Louis Blues") and Robert Johnson ("Sweet Home Chicago") to more swing-oriented tunes like "Alright, Okay, You Win" to Muddy Waters ("Got My Mojo Working") to more jazz-oriented tunes ("Now's the Time," "Route 66," "Blue Monk").

    Jazz tunes primarily come from the instrumental jazz world and include works by Duke Ellington ("Take the A Train"), Charlie Parker ("Ornithology"), Miles Davis ("Tune Up"), Thelonious Monk ("'Round Midnight"), Charles Mingus ("Goodbye Pork Pie Hat"), John Coltrane ("Moment's Notice"), and hundreds more. 

    Antonio Carlos (Tom) Jobim is the most commonly played composer of bossa nova tunes, including the frequently performed works "Girl From Ipanema" and "Desafinado."

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