Texas A&M University Bands offers two sections of Jazz Ensemble for students with a record of formal high school jazz band experience. Both bands utilize standard large jazz ensemble instrumentation for 13 winds and 4 rhythm section instruments. The bands perform select literature from the best traditional and contemporary big band jazz repertoire and perform two concerts each semester, including campus and community performances.
There is a MWF and T-Th section available to accommodate class scheduling. Both sections meet during the regular academic day and students receive one elective credit hour for participation. Placement in the University Jazz Ensembles is based on a live audition and due to limited instrumentation requirements, may be competitive in certain sections. Students with TMEA Region, Area or State jazz band experience are strongly encouraged to audition. Those auditions should be scheduled during the summer while on campus for their New Student Conference.
Jazz Ensemble I (The 501), Music 282, Section 501 / MWF 10:20-11:10
Jazz Ensemble II (The 502), Music 282, Section 502 / T-Th 9:35-10:50
Wind players should prepare 4 Major scales in concert Bb, F, Eb and Ab the comfortable range of the instrument and perform two short, stylistically contrasting jazz melodies or written etudes about a minute or two in length. One medium swing tempo or faster, and one ballad or Latin style etude.
Students may use region jazz etudes, melodies from standard jazz tunes or transcribed jazz solo’s that demonstrate style, musicality and technique on the instrument. Lead improvisational solos may be performed solo or to a recorded accompaniment.
Rhythm Section Auditions
Students experience with rhythm section instruments is generally limited to high school band programs with a strong jazz band component or students must have some record of formal training through private instruction on guitar, bass, piano and drum set.
Guitar / Piano players should prepare Major scales covering the range of the instrument and demonstrate 4 basic chord types: major minor augmented and diminished.
Prepare 2 jazz tunes of contrasting styles, demonstrating ability to play melody and comp in a jazz style. Pieces may be performed solo or to a recorded accompaniment to include improvisation and must be proficient reading music written in notes and chord changes.
Bass players should prepare Major scales the range of the instrument. Prepare to play two choruses of a blues or one chorus of a 32 bar jazz standard walking quarter note bass line. Must be proficient reading bass music and/or chord progressions.
Drummers should have some previous fundamental drum set experience or training. Students should be prepared to demonstrate specific drumming abilities for playing time and improvising fills in various styles of jazz music including medium and up –tempo swing, Bossa Nova and Samba Latin patterns and funk. Must be proficient in reading jazz charts.