Introduction to the Audition Process

Thanks for your interest in auditioning for Jazz Band!  It is a top notch, awe inspiring experience to work with this group.  Please read this entire page very carefully so you fully understand what instrumentation is accepted, eligibility requirements, and audition criteria.  

Links and files that are necessary for your audition on this page are in BOLD CAPS.  Be sure to click on them!


2 Alto sax, 2 Tenor Sax, 1 Baritone Sax, 4 Trumpets, 4 Trombones, 1 piano, 1 bass, 1 guitar, 1 drumset.  

We do not double parts with the exception of the rhythm section (we take two of drums, piano, guitar, and bass).


At least one year of enrollment in the RHS Concert Band is required.  This means incoming freshmen are not eligible to audition for Jazz Band EXCEPT if there is an anticipated shortage of auditions in a required or doubled area.  For the 2018-19 Jazz Band, we have at this time several anticipated shortages for which we may hear freshmen in the following instruments:

  • Guitar

  • Bass

  • Drums

  • Trumpet

A student must be enrolled in an RHS music performance course (such as Concert Band, Symphonic Orchestra, or Concert Choir) or in a middle school performance class (freshmen only if you are an instrument in a shortage area) at the time of audition.  

If a student does not make Jazz Band, it is expected the student will enroll in another RHS music performance course.  If the student does not, they may not audition for Jazz Band again.  

If you make Jazz Band, you will have 2 days from being notified of your intent to enroll.  You are taking the seat from other students who also auditioned, and only you play your part in the band.  If you run into a scheduling conflict and have to choose between Jazz Band and another course, you must choose Jazz Band.  Do not audition if you think there is any possibility you might not be able to take the course.

Requirements in Addition to Audition

The Jazz Band is an auditioned group and it is a privilege to join it.  With privilege comes responsibility.  There is a large non-musical component to being a member of this group.  While a panel reviews your musical audition, being accepted is at the sole discretion of the director.  The following must be demonstrated in addition to your audition:

  • A good rapport with both the director and students of their performance ensemble (based on report from middle school director for freshmen).

  • Demonstrates both the ability to follow and to lead

  • No egos

  • No prior behavior issues

  • No cuts

  • Respect for director AND other section leaders

  • Excellent attendance record

  • You are required to learn, and will be tested on, all Concert Band repertoire.

  • You are required to attend all Pep Band games and rehearsals. In the case of a rhythm section instrument, you may play in the orchestra or take on another project to be approved by the director.

  • You are required to attend all Concert Band and Jazz Band concerts, as well as FunkRaiser.

  • The Jazz Band often gets asked to perform at various school and community related functions, and you would be expected to attend.


Audition Criteria

Read the following very carefully.  Having an incomplete audition will disqualify you.

First, Auditions for the 2019-20 Jazz Band will be held during the Jazz Band midterm (Day 4) and after school on the same day for overflow and interested Concert Band students. Incoming freshmen should email Mr. Mac. Times are subject to change based on enrollment of auditions.  SIGN-UP.

Your audition will be heard by both the director and senior section leaders.  The section leaders serve as a cabinet and we all discuss your audition together.  The director makes the final call on scoring after this discussion.

All musicians must print, read, agree to the terms, and bring TO THE AUDITION a signed copy of the STUDENT CONTRACT.   

All Instruments (except drums)

  • Download AUDITION PIECE. After you have clicked the link, you will be brought to a folder that contains a sample rubric, the appointment sheet, and then another folder of Etudes. Enter the folder of etudes and select the PDF for your instrument. Learn the entire thing.

  • 2 octave Concert Bb chromatic scale (G scale for trombone). Scales should be played as swung 8th notes.

  • Blues scales in the keys of Concert Bb, F, Eb, and C. Scales should be played as quarter notes.

  • Improvisation over an F blues recording on THIS PAGE. Over-reliance on the F blues scale is frowned upon. Jazz is a harmonic language. The page gives a tutorial on which scales to use. If you are unfamiliar with them, ask your music teacher at school or private teacher, or do a little research online and discover what they are. You will play over the entire recording.

  • Your audition will be scored using THIS RUBRIC

Special Requirements for Certain Instruments

Bass:  You must also improvise a walking bass line over 2 rotations of the F Blues recording

Piano/Guitar:  Comp chord changes over the F Blues recording above.  Guitar should comp Freddie Green style, meaning you simply play quarter notes on the chords.

Drum Requirements

  • Download AUDITION PACKET. Learn the entire thing. Mark all ensemble hits on the selections, setting them up where appropriate. Learn every beat in the packet; you will be asked to play a sampling of them. We won't have time to hear them all, but you won't know which ones the panel will select. Your audition will be scored with THIS RUBRIC.

  • Play the “Move to the hi hat” portion on the SAMBA GROOVE page.  The first two exercises are designed as foundational beats to be able to play it.  The required tempo is HALF NOTE = 130 bpm (it’s cut if you want to think in quarter notes, quarter note = 260).  You will play the excerpt in a loop until the audition panel tells you to stop.  

  • You will be asked to play 2 random selections from one of the five beats on the FUN-KY BEATSPDF at tempos varying between 90 and 120 bpm.  

  • Rudiments:

    • Single and Double Paradiddle at 150 bpm

    • Below 5 Stroke exercise at 150 bpm:  


  • You will be asked to improvise a solo at 132 bpm in a swing style.  The solo is to be played with a hi-hat remaining constant on 2 and 4 throughout (or all 4 beats if you prefer).  This is a chance to show your fill chops.   

We look forward to hearing your audition!  Remember to breathe easy and it's just an audition.  All you can do is your best.  Worst thing that can happen is life goes on exactly as before.  If you have any questions, don't hesitate to contact Mr. Mac.