Admissions and Auditions

The aesthetic for admission into the graduate jazz composition/arranging track is built around a demonstration of competence in writing and orchestrating for modern jazz. This includes a strong understanding of the modern large jazz ensemble as well as various small group formats. Applicants with experience in writing for orchestral instruments or vocal ensembles are encouraged to include those pieces in the submitted portfolio of compositions and arrangements.

Though many acclaimed jazz composers are accomplished instrumentalists or vocalists, some are not. The applicant is requested to submit a performance video but it will be considered solely as an indicator of comprehensive musicianship. The music performance can be within a personal composition or arrangement as well as a standard tune or blues form. Admitted students will be assigned to an ensemble each semester. Their primary obligation is to compose or arrange music as requested by the faculty director. As an option, the applicant may make a request to also perform in an ensemble. The faculty director makes the decision based on performance ability and available space within the ensemble.

Before applying, please consider the course of study: the student will learn how to write in multiple styles for various ensembles and be required to produce music within a digital audio workstation (Logic Audio, Cubase, Ableton, etc.) for purposes of commercial music production in film, TV, theater, and a quality virtual demo for general purposes within the profession. In all cases, the applicant must be capable of producing music in a prolific manner: at least two pieces per semester. The graduate recital culminates with 45 minutes (approx. 6-7 pieces) of music that feature works for big band, orchestra, small groups, vocal ensemble or vocal soloist with an instrumental group. The student must also conduct at least two pieces and performance on one piece is encouraged. Additional music writing requires composing several projects within the Composition for the Media class (in DAW format only) and at least one piece for the assigned ensemble per semester.

The required application materials for prospective students in the Jazz Composition/Arranging track of the Jazz Studies M.M. are:

1. Jazz Composition Portfolio: All representative work must be prepared in computer notation format (Finale or Sibelius, exported to PDF to avoid problems with software versions), accompanied by a recording (audio of live performance in mp3, wav, or aiff format, filesize limited to 8MB; or a link to a video on youtube or another public site) submitted in electronic format via the UNT College of Music application website. If you need to submit a MIDI file of your work, please send that as an email attachment to Prof. DeRosa

a. two orchestrated compositions or arrangements for modern jazz big band in two different styles
b. two orchestrated compositions or arrangements for rhythm section and at least three horns.
c. one orchestrated composition or arrangement for rhythm section and more than three horns/voice, vocal ensemble, or orchestral writing (strings, orch winds, etc.)

2. A video of your ability to perform on a chosen instrument or several if capable. Improvisation is encouraged but not required. Follow the directions on the College of Music application to submit a high-quality recorded video. 

An on-campus audition is not required. If a campus visit is otherwise planned, Professor DeRosa will be happy to meet with the applicant to answer questions.