Graduate Jazz Studies Auditions

Western Illinois University's jazz department welcomes all instrumentalists to audition for admission into the Graduate Jazz Studies program.  Students must choose from Jazz Composition and Jazz Performance.  Please see below for audition criteria that is specific to either track.

Audition Materials and Requirements


Students must prepare 3 compositions in contrasting styles and tempos from memory.  Play the melody in a jazz style and improvise over the harmony. Literature should be chosen from the standard jazz repertoire. Possible choices include but are not limited to the following selections:

  • All The Things You Are
  • A Night In Tunisia
  • Blues for Alice
  • Cherokee
  • Confirmation
  • Daahoud
  • Donna Lee
  • Giant Steps
  • Have You Met Miss Jones
  • I'll Remember April
  • Billie’s Bounce
  • Joy Spring
  • Invitation
  • Recorda Me
  • Once I Loved
  • Darn That Dream
  • My One and Only Love


Students should perform a transcription from an artist in the jazz tradition and perform the solo with the recording.



Drum set players should demonstrate playing time in several contrasting styles, all in 4/4. Among these need to be:


  • Slow swing
  • Medium swing
  • Fast swing
  • Ballad playing with brushes
  • Bossa nova
  • Samba
  • 12/8 Afro Cuban
  • Funk

Also include a jazz waltz feel at medium tempo.

Additional styles than those listed above are welcome, but not required.  For example: Latin songo, ECM straight 8th, etc.

Within a medium or fast swing tempo (4/4), demonstrate soloing by trading 8 bar phrases: 8 bars of time, 8 bars of solo, 8 bars of time, 8 bars of solo for a minimum of two 32 bar choruses.


In addition to the above, bassists should demonstrate bass lines in a style appropriate for their literature choices, 4/4 walking lines for swing tunes, straight 8th bass lines for tunes in Latin styles.


In addition to the above, pianists and guitarists should demonstrate comping in a style appropriate for each of their literature choices.


  1. Students should submit engraved samples of their compositions in leadsheet form
  2. Students should submit engraved samples of their works for chamber jazz ensembles
  3. Students should submit engraved samples of their works for jazz orchestra



All students will be asked to sight-read a selection.  Rhythm section instruments may be asked to comp and/or walk changes as well.