Vocal Jazz Ensemble Auditions

Avenue C performing at Denton Arts & Jazz Festival 2019


 Please be sure to read the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) below, as most if not all of your questions can be answered there.

Instrumentalists interested in playing in the vocal jazz ensemble rhythm sections should indicate that on their instrumental audition forms and should also contact Professor Barnes at Jennifer.Barnes@unt.edu to express your interest.

Fall 2020 Vocal Jazz Auditions for Vocal Jazz Ensembles AND placement in Jazz Chamber Music small groups will take place on the following days/times:

Thursday, August 20 between 2 – 5:30 p.m.

Friday, August 21 between 11 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.

Saturday, August 22 between 12 noon and 5:00 p.m.

Callback auditions will take place on Sunday, August 23 from 6:30 - 8:00 p.m.  During this second phase of the audition, some auditionees will be requested to return and sing with other singers, using brief excerpts from vocal jazz ensemble arrangements.


I'm not a Jazz Studies major, or even a music major - can I still audition for one of the vocal jazz ensembles?

Auditions for all vocal jazz ensembles are open to any currently enrolled UNT student regardless of major.

When and where can I sign up?

All audition information and the sign-up are ONLINE ONLY.  Use the link below to access the online sign-up to secure an audition time.  Auditions take place in Lab East (Room 263) in the Music Building, and the callback will be in Room 262, with proper social distancing in both venues.   We ask all auditionees to wear a mask as you enter the room for your audition, and only remove it when you’re ready to sing.


I work on Sunday nights, so I won't be able to be there for the collective audition time.  Can you just put me in a group anyway?

Possibly, but I cannot guarantee that, so you should make plans in advance to arrange to be there for that evening, just like you will have to do in order to accommodate other aspects of being a committed member of this (or any) ensemble in which you participate.  If there is a legitimate reason why that's impossible for you, we will expect that you'll contact us well in advance to discuss your situation.

What will I have to do in my solo audition?

You will:

• Sing two contrasting tempo songs (any style is o.k., but jazz is preferred; one ballad and one medium or up-tempo).  You will not likely get through more than one chorus (once through the form), unless you plan to improvise, so please plan to show us your very best singing and artistry right away!

• Sight-read a brief excerpt of a solo musical line that we'll give to you at the audition

• Improvise wordlessly ("scat") over chord changes (either in your faster prepared piece or 12-bar blues)

• Respond to a brief aural exam (no preparation required)

• Vocalize throughout your entire range  (thus, it’s a good idea to be vocally warmed up. It's not useful for you to tell us that you "normally" have a strong high D or low C if we can't actually hear that during your audition!)

How many people will be listening to my audition?

The two full-time jazz voice faculty members (Jennifer Barnes and Rosana Eckert) will be there, in addition our adjunct Jazz Voice faculty member and anywhere from 2 - 4 of the jazz voice Graduate Teaching Fellows, so somewhere between 2 - 7 people.

Do I need to bring an accompanist?

No.  You have the following options for accompaniment:  you may bring an accompanist (piano, guitar or bass), accompany yourself, or choose a song found in the iRealPro app and know your preferred key and someone on the audition panel will play piano for you.

How early should I get there before my scheduled audition time, and is there anything else I should bring with me?

Please plan to arrive at least FIFTEEN minutes before your audition time to give you time to fill out your audition form, and in case we’re running early.  The only other thing to make sure you bring is your lead sheets and a copy of your class schedule (unless you have it memorized -- you need it to be able to indicate your availability for all the ensemble rehearsal times).

When and where do the vocal jazz ensembles rehearse?

All rehearsals take place in Room 262 unless otherwise noted.  Yes, this is a change from past semester rehearsal spaces due to COVID capacity restrictions.

UNT Jazz Singers:   Tu/Th from 12:30 to 1:50 p.m., F from 1 - 1:50 p.m. (Lab West), plus additional time for on-your-own self-recording.

Avenue C:        M/W from 12:00 to 12:50 p.m. and Friday from 12 – 1:50 p.m. (this includes a sectional rehearsal)

Third Street:    M from 5 – 5:50 p.m., Tu/Th from 2 - 2:50 p.m., plus one hour of sectional rehearsal (time/place TBD)

West End:       T/TH from 6:00 – 6:50 p.m., F from 2 to 2:50 p.m. plus one hour of sectional rehearsal (time/place TBD)

What if I can only fit 2 of the groups' rehearsal times into my schedule, but not the other one or two?

You will have the opportunity to let us know that on your audition form, so don't worry about it - just fill out the form and if you are selected to be in an ensemble, we will place you with your schedule constraints in mind.

When will I find out if I made a group, and how do I get registered?

Results will be posted here on this page by midnight on August 23.  As soon as you sign up for an audition time and know that you are hoping to sing in an ensemble, you should immediately register (ask your advisor) for the “holding section” for vocal jazz ensembles (MULB 1820, Section 500), which guarantees that you have paid for the ensemble, then we will move you to the proper section or you will drop the class if necessary.

Do I have to be registered for this class in order to sing in an ensemble?   Can't I just audit the class for no credit?

Sorry, but no auditing is allowed.  Anyone who is placed in an ensemble MUST be registered for the class.  No exceptions will be made.

When do the ensembles start rehearsals?


I’m graduating in December – that’s o.k. since this is only an audition for the fall semester, right?

Yes.  All ensembles will allow for the possibility of mid-year personnel changes.  We hold auditions again in finals week in December and right before classes start again in January to fill open spaces for second semester or to add people to ensembles. 

Are there any required dates during the fall semester that I can find out about in advance?

Yes, but due to COVID, we are not prepared to announce them yet.  Please check back in early August.

Speaking of COVID, is singing in ensembles safe?  What protocols will be in place to guarantee that we are safe?

Great questions!  "Singing in ensembles" is too broad of a term to address here, but I would say that singing in some ensembles in some settings might not be safe.  Currently, we are working feverishly to stay abreast of all research and modify our equipment usage protocols such that we're optimistic that a combination of social distancing, cleansing of the room and equipment, and the kind of singing we do in vocal jazz are reasons to think we can keep ourselves and others safe while still singing/playing in these ensembles.  We will remain vigilant and modify our plans/strategies as we see fit if the information we're working with indicates that to be necessary.