Spring 2021 Jazz Proficiency Exams

This information was last updated on November 11, 2020. Exam dates and times are subject to change. Changes will be noted on this page and announced on the Jazz Studies Canvas site.

Spring 2021 Jazz Studies Proficiency Exams for New and Returning Students

If you are a student who has deferred your start until Spring 2021, or if you somehow missed your proficiency or improv exams this semester, please read CAREFULLY below for information on these tests.

Unless noted, these exams are STRONGLY RECOMMENDED for new graduate students (e.g. those who will be starting their first semester in Spring 2021). They are OPTIONAL for those new undergrads who have deferred their start until Spring 2021 - you only need to take them if you want to pass out of any of these courses.

If you don't pass any of these exams, you will be required to enroll in that corresponding course. Grad students who want to take one of these undergrad courses as a leveling requirement may do so - registration is open. In this case you would not need to take the proficiency exam for that course. Just be advised, this could delay degree progress, as these leveling courses are not counted towards your degree. Therefore, we strongly recommend that new grad students for Spring 2021 take all the necessary proficiency exams unless they already know they are strongly deficient in a particular area.

If you are a CURRENT IN-PERSON STUDENT who has already attempted one of these exams and failed, you may not attempt it again. You must enroll in the corresponding class, if you haven't already. With the exception of some special cases, most students who have been in-person this semester should not have a reason to take these exams. If you have questions regarding the necessity of these exams, please contact your academic advisor.

All results will be compiled by Friday, December 11 so you can complete your registration for Spring 2021.

Proficiency Exams

MUJS 1470 Introduction to Jazz Recordings (for undergraduate students)
Offered by Will St. Peter. This exam is not required at all for new graduate students. It is only optional for new undergrads. It should be completed before Wednesday, December 9 at 3:00 p.m.
Please email WillStPeter@my.unt.edu to schedule this exam.

MUJS 4470 Jazz History (for new graduate students)
Offered by Prof. Rob Parton by appointment, before Wednesday, December 9 at 3:00 p.m. Please email Robert.Parton@unt.edu to schedule this exam.
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)
Offered by Prof. Rodney Booth on Wednesday, December 9 at 10:00 a.m. These will be held on Zoom – check with your email and Canvas notifications for the Zoom access code.

MUJS 1361/5361 - Jazz Aural Fundamentals (Text: The Jazz Language by Dan Haerle)
Offered by Prof. Rodney Booth on Wednesday, December 9 at 11:30 a.m. These will be held on Zoom – check with your email and Canvas notifications for the Zoom access code.

MUJS 1370/5362 - Jazz Fundamentals II (Text: The Jazz Language by Dan Haerle)
Offered by Chris Van Leeuwen via Canvas at the following link: Jazz Studies Canvas quizzes
The last day to take this exam is Wednesday, December 9 at 3:00 p.m. It is open now. Please read the instructions before starting.
Please contact ChristopherVanLeeuwen@my.unt.edu with further questions.

MUJS 1371/5363 - Jazz Keyboard Fundamentals
Offered by Prof. Dave Meder by appointment only during finals week before Wednesday, December 9 at 3:00 p.m. If you would like to attempt the exam please contact dave.meder@unt.edu.

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 graduate students (or those who missed this in August) who need IMPROVISATION CLASS PLACEMENT (either MUJS 5490 Grad Improv or an undergrad leveling course), you should submit 3 videos (Confirmation at 200 bpm and 2 contrasting tunes of your choice), to the designated OneDrive folder by Monday, December 7 at 9:00 a.m. – check with your email and Canvas notifications for the OneDrive link.
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 MU284 for help with registration.