Fall 2020 Jazz Proficiency Exams

This information was last updated on May 26, 2020. Exam dates and times are subject to change. Changes will be noted on this page and announced at the August 19 1:00-2:00 p.m. meeting.

Fall 2020 Jazz Studies Proficiency Exams for New and Returning Students

Required Meeting for all new undergraduate and graduate) Jazz Studies majors: Wednesday, August 19, 1:00-2:00 via ZOOM (https://unt.zoom.us/j/5916232837)
Information about the proficiency exams will be discussed at this meeting.

Proficiency Exams

MUJS 1470 Introduction to Jazz Recordings (for undergraduate students)
Proficiency Exams – Thursday, August 20 from 4:00 to 5:30 p.m. in room 262.

MUJS 4470 Jazz History (for new graduate students)
Proficiency Exams – Thursday, August 20 from 4:00 to 5:30 p.m. in room 258. See http://jazz.unt.edu/4470-proficiency for information about the exam.

All Undergraduate Students Who Wish To Take Jazz Improvisation must first complete the following prerequisites or pass the proficiency exams for each:

MUJS 1360 (graduate students: MUJS 5360) - Jazz Fundamentals I (Text: The Jazz Language by Dan Haerle)
Proficiency Exam – Friday, August 21 from 9:00 to 9:50 a.m., Rm. 262

MUJS 1361/5361 - Jazz Aural Fundamentals (Text: The Jazz Language by Dan Haerle)
Proficiency Exam - Friday, August 21 from 10:00 to 10:50 a.m., Rm. 262

MUJS 1370/5362 - Jazz Fundamentals II (Text: The Jazz Language by Dan Haerle)
Proficiency Exam – Friday, August 21 from 11:00 to 11:50 a.m. on Jazz Studies Canvas (https://unt.instructure.com/courses/1791)

MUJS 1371/5363 - Jazz Keyboard Fundamentals
Proficiency Exam – Wednesday, August 19 from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m.; Friday, August 21 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.). Sign-up for a 5-10 minute exam at Rm. 272.

In order to be exempted from MUJS 1371 (Jazz Keyboard Fundamentals), you must demonstrate your proficiency by comping through a variety of common jazz progressions using the following voicing structures:
- Rooted voicings: with 2 notes, 3 notes, and 4 notes
- Rootless voicings: with 2 notes and 3 notes only

You must also be able to play all major, minor, augmented, and diminished root position triads and their inversions, as well as all root position seventh chords (major, minor, dominant, half diminished, fully diminished).

The textbook for MUJS 1371, “Jazz Keyboard Harmony” by Phil DeGreg, is the most helpful tool in preparing for this exam.
- First, consult pages 1-18 to review keyboard fundamentals and learn about effective practice strategies for internalizing voicings at the keyboard.
- Then, study, memorize and internalize the voicings from Chapters 1-4 (pages 22-99). Use Appendices A and B (pages 225-230) to practice the voicings through a variety of common jazz chord progressions. Be sure to practice minor ii-V-I’s, dominant cycles, major cycles, and the diminished/tri-tone sub pattern…do not simply learn major ii-V-I’s.
- In the exam, which takes about 10 minutes, you will be asked to play through randomly selected progressions found in Appendix B (pages 227-230) at approximately 88-100 bpm, using randomly selected voicing structures from Chapters 1-4. You can expect to play through a variety of progressions: major ii-V-I’s, minor ii-V-i’s, dominant cycles, major cycles, and diminished/tri-tone sub progressions.
- You are allowed to miss up to four chords in any progression. If you miss a chord, simply keep going in tempo…do not stop and try to correct yourself. Play the exercise as if it were a real-world performance situation.
- If you miss more than four chords, you will be asked to stop the exercise. You will be given an extra minute to practice the progression and then you may try again. If you fail the exercise again, you may be asked to take MUJS 1371.

The instructor reserves the right to make final placement decisions based on overall performance in the exam.

Aim to become generally proficient with these voicings rather than memorizing a single exercise.

MUJS 1131 and 1132 - Jazz Performance Fundamentals (This is a two semester sequence.) Consult the professor in your applied area (instrument) for proficiency information for these classes.

Note: Graduate Students are not required to take the exams 1470 or 1131-1132 but must take or pass the proficiency for 5360, 5361, 5362 and 5363. Graduate students, transfer students, and visiting international students may be allowed to take one improvisation prerequisite concurrently with an improvisation class.

After completing the prerequisites listed above, new master's students must take the Graduate Improvisation Entrance Exam, an improvisation jury evaluated by a faculty panel, on Monday, Aug. 24 at 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. in MU263 (Lab East) - subject to change. The exam will consist of playing "Confirmation" at m.m. = 200 and a second tune selected from the ICE/GIEE list. Graduate students who are assigned to one of these levels of improvisation as a result of this exam must register for the section of MUJS 5370 that corresponds to that level of improvisation. See Christopher Walker in 284 for help with this.