All-State Jazz Audition Requirements

The below information details requirements for the All-State Jazz Ensemble auditions. For information about the Honors Jazz Combo audition, please click here.

Diatonic Scales (60 second time limit):

All major diatonic scales should be memorized. Students will be asked to play five chromatically adjacent scales in their audition. If a scale is played incorrectly, it may be attempted at the end of the sequence, if there is time remaining in the 60 second time limit. If there is time left, the judge will announce those scales for which full credit has not been given.

Saxophone 2 Octaves: Bb, B, C, C#, D, Eb, E, F
1 Octave: F#, G, Ab, A
Trumpet 2 Octaves: F#, G, Ab, A, Bb, B, C
1 Octave: C#, D, Eb, E, F
Trombone 2 Octaves: E, F, F#, G, Ab, A, Bb
1 Octave: B, C, C#, D, Eb
Bass Trombone Students auditioning on bass trombone are encouraged to play as many 2 octave scales as possible starting in the pedal range.
Piano/Guitar/Bass/Vibes 2 Octaves: C, C#, D, D#, E, F, F#, G, G#, A, A#, B (with both hands)

Chromatic Scale:

Each student should play an open-ended chromatic scale to show their full playing range. The Senior All-State chromatic would be the minimum for the winds. The piano, vibes, and guitars should play the full range on the instrument.

Prepared Etude:

All-State Jazz Audition Etudes are available to download by clicking on the links below. A director login is required to access etude PDFs. Students, please contact your registering band director to access the audition etude PDFs. Recordings are available for both students and directors.

  • Click here to access jazz audition etudes. (Director Login Required)
  • Click here to access jazz audition etude recordings.


Students will sight-read in two contrasting styles. One style will be swing; the other will be chosen from ballad, Latin, or rock. Drumset players have a different procedure, so please see the section for the drum audition.


Students will show their improvisational skills by playing along with a CD: Track #8 — “Blues in F” of the Jamey Aebersold Play-A-Long CD-Volume One — “How to Improvise.” This can be ordered from any music dealer or directly from Jamey Aebersold at 1-800-456-1388, or online at

Additional Information About Auditions:

  • Piano, Guitar, Bass, and Vibes should be prepared to sight-read chord symbols as well as written parts.
  • The drum set audition will be as follows:
    • Play at least 8 measures of each style listed below.
      • Ballad—Quarter Note = 55-70 bpm (using brushes in swing style)
      • Funk—Quarter Note = 92-112 bpm
      • Bossa Nova—Quarter Note = 100-120 bpm
      • Rock—Quarter Note = 92-112 bpm
      • Soca/Calypso—Quarter Note = 112-130 bpm
      • 6/8 Afro Cuban (Nañingo)—DottedQuarter Note = 112-130 bpm
      • Samba (Partido Alto)—Half Note = 80-100 bpm
      • Mambo—Half Note = 90-110 bpm
    • Each style should conclude with a “fill.”
    • Drummers may stop in between styles, if they wish, or musically connect each segment.
    • Notation of each style and a video of how to perform each style can be found by clicking here.
    • Show improvisational skills by “trading fours” with a recording. Click here to access a practice recording of “trading fours”.
    • A practice copy of this recording will be e-mailed to all band directors (with students registered for the drum set audition) at the time the school’s audition schedule is published (Example: Comp with the rhythm section in a SWING style for the first four bars and solo, in a SWING style, for the next set of four. That pattern will repeat once, totaling sixteen bars. A demonstration/practice CD will be made available to all students registered for the drum set audition.)

Scoring Breakdown

Winds, Guitar, Bass, Piano, & Vibes (100 total points)
Scales 20
Chromatic 5
Etude 25
Tone 5
Improvisation 15
Drum Set (100 total points)
Etude 25
Style Evaluation
     Ballad & Fill
     Funk & Fill
     Bossa Nova & Fill
     Rock & Fill
     Soca/Calypso & Fill
     6/8 Afro/Cuba (Nañingo) & Fill
     Samba (Pario Alto) & Fill
     Mambo & Fill


Improvisation 15