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.
Jazz Ensemble I, Music 282, Section 501 / MWF 10:20-11:10
Jazz Ensemble II, 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.
The Department of Music Activities is complying with all protocols required by the University. For the most current COVID-19 information, please see http://www.tamu.edu/coronavirus/
In light of the fact that New Student Conferences will be conducted online for at least part of the Summer of 2020, auditions for the concert bands, jazz bands, and string orchestras will follow suit. Auditions should be completed before your New Student Conference to enable you to register for the correct ensemble. If there is a circumstance that prohibits this, please contact Mr. Hollar at email@example.com.
- Email the director your name and instrument
- You will be contacted by the director of the ensemble to set up an audition time via Zoom.
- For the audition, you will still need to select and perform material that includes two contrasting excerpts which exhibit both technical facility and lyrical qualities. Students should prepare approximately two minutes of each style. You will also receive a sight-reading selection via email very shortly before your audition time.
- We understand that there may be circumstances where you may usually use a school instrument that you may not have access to at this time. We want everyone to have as successful audition as they can, so please communicate this with the director after you complete your audition form. We will handle these on a case by case basis.
- For Percussionists: You may or may not have access to equipment/instruments for your audition. We will work with you on a case by case basis and will consider what you have available or possible past recordings. Please complete the form and the director will contact you to discuss options.
- To speak with a director by phone, please call our regular number, 979.845.3529 and leave a message that includes your name, call back number, instrument played and what ensemble you are interested in. The appropriate director will call you back within 2 business days.