Jazz St. Louis is proud to announce auditions for the 2020-21 JazzU program. On this page, you will find all of the necessary information and resources for your audition.

Auditions will take place June 8-11, between 3 and 9 pm in the Centene Jazz Education Center, located on the 3rd floor of the Harold and Dorothy Steward Center for Jazz, 3536 Washington Ave., St. Louis, MO 63103.


Application Deadline
Applications must be received by Friday, April 24, 2020. Once the application materials have been received, students will be assigned an audition time on the date which corresponds with the applicant’s instrument (see below). Audition times will be sent via standard US mail.

CLICK HERE for our online Application.

Monday, June 8 – Woodwinds
Tuesday, June 9 – Brass
Wednesday, June 10 – Bass / Drums
Thursday, June 11 – Piano / Guitar / Vocals

Audition Results
Results of the auditions will be announced during the first part of July.


Students will perform the following requirements, based on their respective instrument, with a house band made up of JazzU teaching artists and other local professional musicians.

Horn players will be required to play the melody and improvise over one of the 3 blues melodies listed in the audition materials and “Blue Bossa.” They may also be asked to play scales (major and chromatic) chosen at random by the audition judges.

Students auditioning on voice have the same requirements as horn players. They will be expected to sing the melodies using scat syllables. Students will also be asked to improvise over their chosen songs. The optional transcription is recommended for vocalists, as well, and the audition judges may ask vocalists to sing scales or arpeggios of basic chords.

Comping instruments will be asked to play the melody, improvise, and comp for another soloist over one of the 3 blues heads listed in the audition materials and “Blue Bossa.” They may also be asked to play scales (major and chromatic) chosen at random by the audition judges.

Bass players should be able to play the melody, improvise, and “walk” bass lines over one of the three blues melodies listed in the audition materials and “Blue Bossa.” They may also be asked to play scales (major and chromatic) chosen at random by the audition judges.

Drummers will be asked to accompany the house band over one of the 3 blues tunes listed in the audition materials in the following format: play behind the melody on brushes, switch to sticks to accompany another soloist, then trade fours.

Drummers will also be asked to demonstrate the following styles:
Bossa Nova
Playing a Swing Feel in Odd Meters (in 3 or 5)

They may also be asked to demonstrate basic rudiments chosen at random by the audition judges.

This section is not required, but is strongly recommended.

For everyone besides drummers, prepare two choruses of one of the following solos:
Miles Davis’s solo on “Freddie Freeloader,” from Kind of Blue
J.J. Johnson’s solo on “Blue Trombone,” from The Trombone Master

For Drummers, transcribe the first 40 seconds of the following solo:
Max Roach’s “For Big Sid,” from Drums Unlimited

By “transcription”, we mean that students should repeatedly listen to the specific version of one of the solos mentioned above and learn to play the solo by ear. Students should not use an already written out solo nor should they write out the solo themselves. The goal is for them to learn the solo by ear and emulate either Miles or J.J. to the best of their ability. This will help give us an opportunity to accurately assess the student’s abilities and skill level.

Returning students’ auditions will not auditioning on the materials listed above, but their auditions will be based on the tunes and material covered in their 2019-20 JazzU group as well as the assessment standards outlined in the JazzU student handbook. Returning students, if you have any questions, please contact your instructor.


At the present time, the only way to apply is via our online application. If you are unable to apply online, please contact [email protected]

Click Here to apply online.

Audition Materials
Below are lead sheets in concert pitch for each audition tune. Lyrics are included on those songs have lyrics. Only pick one from each category and make sure you download in the correct lead sheet for your instrument. Also listed with each tune is a suggested reference recording. Use the reference recording to help learn the tunes, phrase the melody, and improvise.

All of the blues melodies are on one sheet and can be downloaded here: Concert Pitch, Bass Clef, Eb Instruments, Bb Instruments.
“Now’s the Time”, Charlie Parker, The Essential Charlie Parker
“C-Jam Blues”, Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington, The Great Summit (recorded as “Duke’s Place”)
“Sonnymoon for Two”, Sonny Rollins, A Night at the Village Vanguard, Vol. 2

“Blue Bossa”, Joe Henderson, Page One: Concert Pitch, Bass Clef, Eb Instruments, Bb Instruments

Questions can be directed to Andy Ament, Assistant Director of Education, at [email protected] or 314.881.3093.


Jazz St. Louis is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is to lead our community in advancing the uniquely American art of jazz through live performance, education and community engagement.

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