main navigation bar - top row

main navigation bar - bottom row

main menu

Jazz & Contemporary Improvisation Auditions & Interviews

Undergraduate Requirements and Dates

All applicants will demonstrate their skills in mainstream jazz according to the guidelines below. Applicants with original compositions, or who are involved in creative areas that may not fall within the categories listed, are strongly encouraged to present their work at the audition.


Improvising Skills

All applicants (except drummers; see separate requirements) should prepare an F blues and B-flat rhythm changes tune of their choice. In addition, select one piece from each of the following three categories:

Category 1

  • All the Things You Are
  • There Will Never Be Another You
  • Autumn Leaves

Category 2

  • Body and Soul
  • Lover Man
  • In a Sentimental Mood

Category 3

  • Impressions
  • So What
  • Little Sunflower


It is highly recommended that all selections be memorized, including tune melodies and chord changes. All applicants will be asked to perform the melodies and improvise over the progressions for each piece they select. Pianists and guitarists will be asked to comp changes; bassists will be asked to walk the bass lines in addition to soloing and performing melodies. Bassists should prepare the melody to the ballad they choose and perform it arco if possible. Auditionees may also be asked to sight read a melodic line.

Accompaniment will be provided at the audition.

Drum set players will be asked to demonstrate proficiency in the following areas:

Brushes (slow, medium and fast swing), trading 4's and 8's, Afro-Cuban and Brazilian grooves – such as the mambo, cha cha chá, songo, 12/8, partido alto, samba, and the bossa nova. Additionally, contemporary styles such as rock, funk and fusion as well as odd meters may be requested.

Applicants will also be asked to do simple hand/foot timing and coordination exercises, as well as some sight-reading. Performance of scales or melodies of jazz tunes on any mallet keyboard instrument such as vibraphone, marimba or piano is encouraged.

Drummers are welcome to perform pieces outside the areas listed above, including but not limited to multiple percussion, snare drum and electronic pieces.


Recorded audition

Applicants uploading a recorded audition must demonstrate improvisational skills on their recorded audition.

upload now


Classical Audition

Along with the jazz audition, a classical audition is required for the BFA in Jazz and Contemporary Improvisation and for the BMA degree. List both classical and jazz repertoire in your audition repertoire, as well as on your comprehensive repertoire list. The classical audition will be played for the appropriate instrumental performance faculty, following the standard audition parameters.

Degrees Available to Guitar Applicants

There are two jazz degree options for guitarists: the BFA Jazz Studies and the BFA Jazz and Contemplative Studies. Because we do not offer classical guitar, Jazz and Contemporary Improvisation and the BMA are not available to guitarists.

Jazz Voice Applicants

We do not offer a program of study in jazz voice. Students in other programs, such as voice performance, are able to perform with jazz combos and ensembles by audition.

Audition Schedule and Application Deadline Dates

General Undergraduate Audition and Interview Information


jazz female bass jazz drummer

main navigation bar - top row

main navigation bar - bottom row

Photography Credits:

U-M Photo Services

Joe Welsh

Peter Smith

David Smith

Glen Behring

Tom Bower