Notes for Jazz Studies Applicants:

  • Jazz Performance applicants must submit a screening audition for review via the Audition and Screening Dropbox on your Applicant Portal. 
  • Screening recordings and recorded auditions must be audio/video recordings. Audio-only recordings will not be accepted.
  • Recorded auditions must include a recording of the applicant playing with the background recording as instructed below. The applicant should check that the background recording is played at an appropriate volume. 
  • Screening deadline: December 4.
  • Final audition recordings deadline: February 1.

Applicants must submit recordings and scores of three original compositions and one arrangement of a jazz standard for some combination of five or more instrumentalists, including a rhythm section. Jazz Composition applicants are also required to complete an instrumental audition, and should follow the Jazz Performance guidelines for the instrumental portion of the audition.

*All Jazz Studies applicants will audition by a submitted video recording*

Jazz Performance

For jazz instrumentalists, the specific information for each required piece and the accompaniment music files, recorded by the Oberlin Jazz Faculty Quintet, can be found below. The recorded tuning note is concert A.

*All Jazz Studies applicants will audition by a submitted video recording*

Screening and Final Audition Requirements:

  • Blues (F), four choruses. Play an appropriate blues head (Billie’s Bounce, Au Privave, Straight No Chaser, etc.) and then improvise three choruses to the ending.
  • "Body and Soul" (D flat), two choruses. Play the entire melody on the first chorus. On the second chorus, improvise over the first two A sections and the bridge, and then play the melody on the last A section to the ending.
  • "Ladybird" (C), four choruses. Play the melody one time and then improvise three choruses to the ending.
  • Rhythm Changes (B flat), three choruses. Play an appropriate melody (Oleo, Anthropology, etc.), and then improvise two choruses to the ending.

The following chords are used for the blues and “rhythm changes”:

Blues:

// F7 / Bb7 / F7 / F7 / Bb7 / Bb7 / F7 / D7 / G-7 / C7 / F7 / (G-7 C7) //

Rhythm Changes:

// Bb G7 / C-7 F7 / Bb G7 / C-7 F7 / Bb Bb7 / Eb Edim / Bb G7 / C-7 F7 /

// Bb G7 / C-7 F7 / Bb G7 / C-7 F7 / Bb Bb7 / Eb Edim / Bb G7 / C-7 F7 /

/ D7 / D7 / G7 / G7 / C7 / C7 / F7 / F7 //

// Bb G7 / C-7 F7 / Bb G7 / C-7 F7 / Bb Bb7 / Eb Edim / Bb G7 / C-7 F7 /

Screening and Final Audition Requirements:

  • Blues (F), four choruses. Play an appropriate blues head (Billie’s Bounce, Au Privave, Straight No Chaser, etc.) and then improvise three choruses to the ending.
  • "Body and Soul" (D flat), two choruses. Play the entire melody on the first chorus. On the second chorus, improvise over the first two A sections and the bridge, and then play the melody on the last A section to the ending.
  • "Ladybird" (C), four choruses. Play the melody one time and then improvise three choruses to the ending.
  • Rhythm Changes (B flat), three choruses. Play an appropriate melody (Oleo, Anthropology, etc.), and then improvise two choruses to the ending.
  • “Comp” only - F Blues, four choruses. Recording is different than #1.
  • “Comp” only - "Body and Soul" (D flat), two choruses. Recording is different than #2.

The following chords are used for the blues and “rhythm changes”:

Blues:

// F7 / Bb7 / F7 / F7 / Bb7 / Bb7 / F7 / D7 / G-7 / C7 / F7 / (G-7 C7) //

Rhythm Changes:

// Bb G7 / C-7 F7 / Bb G7 / C-7 F7 / Bb Bb7 / Eb Edim / Bb G7 / C-7 F7 /

// Bb G7 / C-7 F7 / Bb G7 / C-7 F7 / Bb Bb7 / Eb Edim / Bb G7 / C-7 F7 /

/ D7 / D7 / G7 / G7 / C7 / C7 / F7 / F7 //

// Bb G7 / C-7 F7 / Bb G7 / C-7 F7 / Bb Bb7 / Eb Edim / Bb G7 / C-7 F7 /

Screening and Final Audition Requirements:

  • Blues, four choruses. Choice of Blues in Bb or F (example chord progression provided in Bb).  Choose a melody (Billie's Bounce, Au Privave, Blues in the Closet, Whims of Chambers, Tenor Madness, etc....). Play melody, walk a chorus or two, improvise a chorus or two, melody out.
    • Music: Tuning Note 
    • Music: Bb Blues 
      • NOTE: At on-campus auditions, Blues will be performed in F.
  • "Body and Soul" (D flat), two choruses. On the first chorus, play the entire melody (bow if possible). On the second chorus, improvise over the first two A sections and the bridge, and then play the melody on the last A section to the ending.
  • "Ladybird" (C), four choruses. Play the melody one time, improvise one chorus, and then walk two choruses to the ending.
  • Rhythm Changes (B flat), three choruses. Walk all three choruses.

The following chords are used for the blues and “rhythm changes”:

Blues:

// Bb7 / Eb7 / Bb7 / F-7 Bb7 / Eb7 / Eb7 (Edim7) / Bb7 / D-7 G7 / C-7 / F7 / Bb7 G7 / C-7 F7 //

Rhythm Changes:

// Bb G7 / C-7 F7 / Bb G7 / C-7 F7 / Bb Bb7 / Eb Edim / Bb G7 / C-7 F7 /

// Bb G7 / C-7 F7 / Bb G7 / C-7 F7 / Bb Bb7 / Eb Edim / Bb G7 / C-7 F7 /

/ D7 / D7 / G7 / G7 / C7 / C7 / F7 / F7 //

// Bb G7 / C-7 F7 / Bb G7 / C-7 F7 / Bb Bb7 / Eb Edim / Bb G7 / C-7 F7 /

Auditions must be on acoustic, double bass; majors are not offered and auditions are not heard in electric bass.

Screening and Final Audition Requirements:

  • Blues (F), four choruses. Play an appropriate blues head (Billie’s Bounce, Au Privave, Straight No Chaser, etc.), improvise two choruses, and then “comp” the last chorus to the ending.
  • "Body and Soul" (D flat), two choruses. Play the entire melody on the first chorus. On the second chorus, improvise over the first two A sections and the bridge, and then play the melody on the last A section to the ending.
  • "Ladybird" (C), four choruses. Play the melody one time, improvise two choruses, and then “comp” the last chorus to the ending.
  • Rhythm Changes (B flat), three choruses. Play an appropriate melody (Oleo, Anthropology, etc.), and then improvise two choruses to the ending.

The following chords are used for the blues and “rhythm changes”:

Blues:

// F7 / Bb7 / F7 / F7 / Bb7 / Bb7 / F7 / D7 / G-7 / C7 / F7 / (G-7 C7) //

Rhythm Changes:

// Bb G7 / C-7 F7 / Bb G7 / C-7 F7 / Bb Bb7 / Eb Edim / Bb G7 / C-7 F7 /

// Bb G7 / C-7 F7 / Bb G7 / C-7 F7 / Bb Bb7 / Eb Edim / Bb G7 / C-7 F7 /

/ D7 / D7 / G7 / G7 / C7 / C7 / F7 / F7 //

// Bb G7 / C-7 F7 / Bb G7 / C-7 F7 / Bb Bb7 / Eb Edim / Bb G7 / C-7 F7 /

Screening and Final Audition Requirements:

  • Blues (F), four choruses. Play time for four choruses to the ending.
  • "Body and Soul" (D flat), two choruses. Play brushes for two choruses to the ending.
  • "Ladybird" (C), four choruses. Play time on the first chorus, catching rhythms of the melody. Play time on the second chorus. On the third and fourth chorus trade “fours” with piano. On the fifth chorus, play melody to the ending.
  • Rhythm Changes (B flat), three choruses. Play time with brushes for two choruses. Improvise with the bass and piano accompaniment for the third chorus to the ending.
  • "Blue Bossa" (C minor), four choruses plus tag. This should have a bossa nova feel. Play time on all four choruses, catching the melody and tag (ending).

The following chords are used for the blues and “rhythm changes”.

Blues:

// F7 / Bb7 / F7 / F7 / Bb7 / Bb7 / F7 / D7 / G-7 / C7 / F7 / (G-7 C7) //

Rhythm Changes:

// Bb G7 / C-7 F7 / Bb G7 / C-7 F7 / Bb Bb7 / Eb Edim / Bb G7 / C-7 F7 /

// Bb G7 / C-7 F7 / Bb G7 / C-7 F7 / Bb Bb7 / Eb Edim / Bb G7 / C-7 F7 /

/ D7 / D7 / G7 / G7 / C7 / C7 / F7 / F7 //

// Bb G7 / C-7 F7 / Bb G7 / C-7 F7 / Bb Bb7 / Eb Edim / Bb G7 / C-7 F7 /

Screening and Final Audition Requirements:

  • Two pieces of contrasting tempo including:
    • A ballad (e.g., “Body and Soul,” “Angel Eyes,” “When I Fall In Love,” etc.)
    • Something more up tempo, either swing or straight eighth feel (bossa, or samba feel, etc.) e.g., “I Could Write a Book,” “My Shining Hour,” “It Could Happen to You,” etc.

Both selections should be accompanied by a background track.

If you are unable to download the accompaniment music files, contact the Office of Conservatory Admissions via e-mail at conservatory.admissions@oberlin.edu or by calling (440) 775-8413 and a CD will be mailed to you. When requesting a CD, be sure to include a name, address, telephone number, the intended major, and the date and location of the audition.

Auditions and Interviews Overview