Jazz Ensemble Auditions

Jazz Ensemble Auditions

Due to restrictions set forth in response to COVID-19, and in order to ensure the safety and well-being of our students, faculty, and staff, those who would like to audition for a Jazz ensemble (Big Band or Jazz Combo) must do so through a recorded audition.  You must submit a recording by Sunday, August 30 at 11:59 PM to be considered for any Jazz ensemble.

IMPORTANT: Students should audition for Jazz Ensembles first, and then register for the ensemble(s) they are placed in during the first week of classes.

Step 1: To Audition, Complete the Join Form

Everyone who wishes to join a Jazz Ensemble is required to first complete the Join Form. Once we have your contact info, we will be able to notify you throughout the summer about auditions, etc.

Step 2: Download and Print Your Audition Materials

A Boston University Username and Kerberos password will be required to access the audition materials. If you do not have one, click here for “Early Bird” registration to obtain one. You can access the audition materials anytime after they are posted (see below).

A few notes about auditions:

  • Students can audition for multiple Jazz Ensembles in their singular audition recording if desired. Audition requirements are listed below.
  • For Big Band, improvisation is optional and not required.
  • Students will be evaluated on tone quality, articulation, intonation, style, technique, and – if applicable – melodic ideas and development as well as ability to interpret and navigate chord changes. But most of all, we just want to hear you PLAY!! Have fun and just show us what you’ve got – there’s no pressure.

Step 3: Record Your Audition

Here are some suggestions for making your recording:

  1. Take a moment to make sure your computer’s settings are correct: Watch this short video to learn how to record on your Apple computer. If you have a PC, read this short article to learn how to best record. (If needed, cell phone videos can be accepted, but only if they are of the highest quality.)
  2. Record in a well-lit room with the light source in front of you (you should be seen clearly in the video) and free from background noise and distractions.  Experiment with microphone location in order to be heard, but not clipping the audio.
  3. At the beginning of your recorded audition, please tell us the following:
    1. Your first and last name.
    2. What ensemble(s) you are auditioning for – Big Band, Jazz Combo, Either, or Both. Include your preference, if applicable.
    3. Announce what you will be playing before each excerpt.
    4. Answer the following questions if they apply to you:
      1. Saxophones – Do you have experience playing baritone saxophone?
      2. Brass – What is your range?
  4. For any auditions that involve backing tracks, you will need to have an external speaker so that we can hear the backing track and your playing over it. Headphones will not work.
  5. Save your video audition as (Last name/First name/Instrument/”Jazz Audition”) and upload it to your BU Google Drive. Once uploaded, right click on the file and select “Get Shareable Link.” Click on the drop-down menu labeled “Restricted,” and select “Anyone with the Link.” Copy the link and email it to jazzband@bu.edu by Sunday, August 30th at 11:59 PM.


If you have any questions, please contact us at jazzband@bu.edu. Thank you.