Roosevelt Jazz Auditions for 2018-19

Auditions for the 2018-2019 School Year

ALL STUDENTS (instrumentalists and vocalists) must complete the online audition registration OR bring a completed printed copy of the downloadable audition registration form to their audition. Showing up without completing the online form or providing a printed copy will NOT make a good impression–don’t do it! If all goes well at your audition, this information will be used to create the program rosters, so it is important that the information is correct and readable.

Please carefully read the additional audition instructions found below. Note that there are different procedures for instrumentalists and for vocalists. There is also some general information about the jazz program at Roosevelt down at the very bottom of this page. Thank you!

Instructions for Instrumentalists Auditioning for Jazz Bands
Note that a few times have been recently updated!

Mon June 4, 4pm Returning Roosevelt students, saxophones
Tue June 5, 4pm Returning Roosevelt students, brass
Wed June 6, 3pm ALL rhythm section players (incoming 9th graders & returning Roosevelt students; piano, vibes, guitar, bass, drums)
Sun June 10, Noon Incoming 9th graders, saxophones
Sun June 10, 2pm Incoming 9th graders, brass

Instrumental auditions take place in the band room at Roosevelt High School. Enter the school through the side door located on 15th Ave NE.

Audition music and requirements are detailed below. Students may also be asked to sight read. Students audition in front of their peers as well as the band directors, and sessions typically last several hours. Rhythm players audition by playing in small combos with other auditioning rhythm students.

  1. Required piece: “Lullaby of Birdland” by George Shearing
    Please note that the original music posted was in the wrong key. Correct versions are now posted below. The correct version is the one in “The Real Book.”

    Lullaby of Birdland (for B♭ instruments)
    Lullaby of Birdland (for E♭ instruments)
    Lullaby of Birdland (for Bass clef instruments)
    Lullaby of Birdland (Concert C)

    • Note that the dotted-eighth, sixteenth rhythms should be played as ‘swing eighths.’
    • Play through the entire form (AABA) on the melody. You can play a ‘break’ or lead-in to your improvisation in the last bar of the form.
    • Improvise your own melody while addressing the chord changes through ONE CHORUS of the entire form.
    • Use Blues vocabulary as well as Bebop language to create a meaningful solo that not only addresses the changes, but also has soul and emotion in the playing.
    • Tempo can be from mm 100-144 bpm.
    • You will play over an iRealPro recording.


  2. Prepared piece. Play an excerpt, standard, or transcription of your choosing. Not more than one minute long. Choose something that demonstrates your strengths as a player. It should also contrast in style and/or tempo with “Lullaby of Birdland.” If you’re playing an exercise from a jazz instruction book, be sure you know what tune it is based upon. You may plug in your phone if you have a back-up track.
  3. You will be asked to play scales or arpeggios to demonstrate your range, knowledge, and tone. We’re looking for strong players with a big warm sound and command of your instrument.
  4. Be sure to arrive early for the audition. There is paperwork to complete. Much of this can be done in advance by completing the online audition registration OR bringing a completed printed copy of the downloadable audition registration form (also mentioned above in the first paragraph on this page). Be sure to download the required piece “Lullaby of Birdland” or take a printed copy outside the Roosevelt Band Room. It is important that you use the correct version, in the correct key, for your instrument. The song is in Concert F minor/A♭ major.

You’ll find a downloadable file of these instructions here.
We look forward to hearing each of you for Roosevelt Jazz Auditions!!

Instructions for Vocalists Auditioning for the Vocal Jazz Ensemble

Auditions will be held on Monday, June 4 and Tuesday, June 5 from 3:30-5:30 in the Choir/Orchestra Room at Roosevelt. Sign up for an audition time (15-minute time slots) on the sheet posted on the Roosevelt Jazz bulletin board in the music department hall at Roosevelt High School, or email Dr. Jean-Marie Kent ( to sign up. Students entering grades 9-12 who are not currently enrolled in Vocal Jazz at Roosevelt are welcome to audition. This includes incoming 9th graders who have had vocal jazz experience in middle school.

Sessions to help students prepare for auditions will also be held:

Tuesday, May 29, 3:45-4:45, Roosevelt Piano Lab
Wednesday, May 30, Lunch, Roosevelt Piano Lab

Other things to prepare before your audition:

  • Download the audition packet
  • Fill out the questionnaire on page 2 of the audition packet (so that we can learn a bit about you and your interest in singing jazz). Please bring this packet with you to your audition!
  • Jazz solo “Autumn Leaves” (your choice of key and tempo), on page 4 of the audition packet
  • Song of your choice (that best shows what you can do in a minute)
  • Your part in the 4-part excerpt of “Moondance,” on page 5 of the audition packet; you can listen to a recording of this tune here
  • Improvise over 12-bar blues in C

At the audition, you will:

  • Tell us a bit about yourself
  • Sing your solo tune (a cappella or with iRealpro, about a minute)
  • Sing “Autumn Leaves” – second time through add some of your own style!
  • Sing jazz excerpt “Moondance” with piano accompaniment playing other parts
  • Be tested on pitch memory and range
  • Show an understanding of improvisation

We are looking to build a premiere vocal ensemble at Roosevelt that is part of a strong jazz tradition. Students will be required to enroll in a concert ensemble class. For most students, this will mean enrolling in Concert Choir to develop vocal technique and music literacy that will enhance musicianship. Students in Vocal Jazz will focus on style, jazz repertoire, improvisation skills, and singing tight harmonies. Auditions will be recorded but will not be distributed or posted to any website. Contact Dr. Jean-Marie Kent ( with any questions.

Note: Any student admitted to Roosevelt Vocal Jazz for the 2018-2019 school year must commit to BOTH semesters. There will be no tolerance for unexcused absences, or excessive (over 6) excused absences. Students must attend all rehearsals, performances, festivals and fundraisers.  Any student not meeting this basic standard for participation will be dropped from the class.

General Information

Wondering what to expect for a typical Roosevelt Jazz student and family?
Read more about it in our Jazz Program Overview.

Please also take a moment to read the recently added Goals and Priorities statement from Director Scott Brown. Even with four jazz bands and a vocal jazz ensemble, not everyone will be placed in a Roosevelt Jazz group. These are special opportunities for those who are truly interested in performing jazz music. You don’t have to be a super-star; just a motivated young musician who really wants to swing!

Participation in summer jazz camps in addition to private lessons is highly recommended.
Information about summer jazz camps and workshops can be found here.

We are tremendously excited about what is happening with JAZZ at Roosevelt and look forward to hearing many young musicians at auditions!

Scott Brown
Jean-Marie Kent