The audition requirements for Jazz Piano Undergraduate, Master's, and D.M.A. degrees are below.
PRE-SCREENING FOR ALL APPLICANTS (BM, MM, and DMA)
All applicants must submit pre-screening materials to determine eligibility for a live audition. Please follow the guidelines below and submit by the preferred admission deadline for full consideration. Submissions made after this date will still be considered on a space-available basis.
All applicants (BM, MM, and DMA) must upload three separate video files of contrasting jazz standards (e.g. blues, bossa, up-tempo, ballad). You may use any small ensemble instrumentation (duo, trio, quartet), but please ensure that you are prominently featured in whatever configuration you choose. You may also play your selections solo with a metronome or backing track. There is no preference or higher score given for recordings with live rhythm section accompaniment. Choose the option best suited for your situation.
Each selection must include improvisation. Ideally, at least one selection will also include comping/accompaniment. Do not submit transcriptions, fully scored pieces, or similar materials. Your videos should be uploaded as separate files. They should have a decent sound quality and they must clearly display your hands, but they do not need to be professional quality videos. Phone or tablet videos are accepted. There is no preference or higher score given for professionally produced recordings. Choose the recording technique best suited for your situation.
In addition, MM and DMA applicants are expected to submit additional materials according to their interests. Such materials may include original compositions, additional performance videos of more advanced jazz standards, live videos from recent performances, classical or other non-jazz selections (if appropriate to your interests), academic writing samples, research interest statements, teaching philosophies, curriculum vitae, or any other materials that give us insight into your artistic vision and background. All materials submitted in the prescreening are also considered in final admissions decisions after the live audition.
LIVE AUDITIONS FOR ALL APPLICANTS (BM, MM, and DMA)
If you are invited to a live audition (either in-person or virtually), please find the requirements below. In general, the live audition is more comprehensive and open-ended. In this round, we make a more holistic assessment of musical strengths and weaknesses. BM and MM auditions typically last 20-30 minutes, and DMA auditions last around an hour.
All applicants (BM, MM, and DMA) must upload to Acceptd a typed repertoire list of all jazz standards known from memory. You are not being assessed strictly on the quantity of tunes you know, so make sure you are comfortable with everything on your list. However, we would expect MM and DMA applicants to have a broader and more advanced repertoire.
During the audition, you will choose the first piece and play it as you like. A live rhythm section is available only for in-person DMA applicants. BM and MM applicants may use the accompaniment of their choice or play solo, as in the prescreening round. A Bluetooth-capable speaker system is available for in-person applicants. If you wish to use a backing track in your in-person audition, please bring a mobile device to connect. It is best to download any backing tracks beforehand, as WiFi may not be available. In-person applicants may also choose to play duo with Prof. Meder providing a bassline on a second piano.
After the first piece, Prof. Meder will call at least two other repertoire selections at random (more for DMA applicants). All applicants, but especially MM and DMA candidates, may also be asked to give a basic harmonic analysis, transpose, change the meter, or otherwise alter the style/arrangement of a tune from your list. It is best to have a variety of styles and tempi represented.
Your audition will conclude with a brief sight-reading exercise (more extensive for DMA applicants), as well as a general interview about your musical goals and influences. DMA applicants should be prepared to discuss their research agenda and their academic writing samples submitted in the prescreening round. During this portion, you may also ask Prof. Meder any questions you have about the degree program. For those auditioning virtually, please ensure that you have access to email during your audition. The sight-reading excerpt will be sent via email, and you may print it out quickly or read it on a laptop or tablet. Sight reading on your mobile device is possible but not recommended.
Undergraduate (BM) applicants will also be scheduled for a piano department audition (“classical audition”). The classical audition is only diagnostic in nature. It does not have a significant weighting on your admission decision to the jazz division. It serves to guide and inform your applied teacher in making repertoire recommendations should you be admitted to the College of Music. Therefore, your choice of repertoire should reflect the music that you feel best represents your current ability. Simply do your best.
The requirements can be found here, or they are listed below for your convenience:
- All major and minor scales (natural minor only), hands together at the interval of an octave, at quarter note = 72 bpm, in 16th notes. Memorization REQUIRED.
- A Two-Part Invention, Three-Part Invention, or Prelude and Fugue of J.S. Bach performed at a comfortable tempo. In the case of a Prelude and Fugue, the Fugue is mandatory. Memorization is NOT required.
For those with limited experience practicing Bach, we recommend using the Alfred Masterworks Editions of the above pieces, which will provide fingerings and performance guidelines.
- A technical study by Czerny, Cramer, Duvernoy, or the equivalent, OR for those with more classical training, a concert etude of either Burgmüller, Moszkowski, or Chopin. Memorization is not required.
For those with limited classical training, below are some recommended technical studies available for free download: