Jazz Audition Repertoire

Prescreening video submissions are required of all Jazz applicants as part of the online application by December 1, 2022

Please read the following audition guidelines carefully:

  • NEC will return to a live audition format for Fall 2023 auditions. We will offer flexibility to applicants who are unable to travel to Boston due to ongoing pandemic restrictions. 

  • Applicants to the Bachelor of Music, Tufts/NEC Five-Year Dual-Degree, Master of Music, and Graduate Diploma will be offered equal consideration for both recorded auditions and in-person auditions to accommodate applicants who are unable to travel. All application materials will be the same for in-person and recorded auditions.

  • Due to the selective nature of our Doctor of Musical Arts, Harvard/NEC Five-Year Dual-Degree, and Artist Diploma programs, applicants to these programs must present a live audition on campus.

Please read the recording guidelines below for prescreening and final recorded auditions.

Audition Repertoire Guidelines - Updated August, 2022

Jazz Performance

Prescreening

  • Record yourself singing/playing and improvising on two contrasting pieces: a blues or jazz standard as well as a second piece of your choice (another standard, original or jazz composition). We prefer that the two submissions include one or more musicians playing with you live. If that is not possible, play-along accompaniment is allowed. We welcome additional materials, including recordings of original music, and music you have produced.

NEC encourages applicants to submit diverse repertoire, including works composed by women, people from historically underrepresented racial/ethnic groups, and/or musicians from one's own cultural background.

Live Auditions

All applicants invited for live auditions should be prepared to perform from memory and improvise on the following:

  1. Two jazz standards, contrasting in tempo
  2. One additional piece of your choice

Pieces performed for the live audition should differ from those included on the prescreening recording. A rhythm section including piano, bass, and drums will be provided for live auditions. Applicants must provide 3 lead sheets for the musicians. You will also be asked to identify chords, sing and play back melodic phrases, and sight-read.

Live Audition Dates

Forthcoming August 2022

Final Recorded Auditions (video only)

Applicants who choose to submit final recorded auditions must still submit prescreening requirements as part of the online application. Applicants who pass the prescreening round will be invited to submit a final recorded audition. Final recorded auditions are due by February 1, and all other application and supporting materials, including prescreening, are due by December 1. We will not review recordings submitted without a completed application.

Repertoire requirements for the final recorded audition:

  1. Two jazz standards, contrasting in tempo
  2. Two additional pieces, contrasting in tempo, of your choice

Pieces performed should differ from those included on the prescreening recording. A live rhythm section should be used for the recorded audition.

 

Jazz Composition

Prescreening

  • Submit two scores and corresponding recordings of original compositions or arrangements. While recordings of live performances are preferable, MIDI and computer-generated recordings are also acceptable.
  • In addition, record yourself singing/playing and improvising on a standard, original or jazz composition. We prefer that this submission include one or more musicians playing with you live. If that is not possible, play-along accompaniment is allowed. We welcome additional materials, including recordings of original music, and music you have produced.

Final Auditions

  • Submit three or four scores in PDF format, with accompanying audio recordings if possible. While original compositions are preferred, one arrangement or recomposition may be included. In addition, applicants to the Jazz Composition major should submit an audition recording, performing from memory and improvising on the following:
  1. One jazz standard
  2. One original composition, contrasting in tempo from the chosen jazz standard.

Notes:

  • Selections for the final audition round may be the same or different than the prescreening round, at the applicant's discretion.
  • A live rhythm section should be used, if at all possible.
  • NEC encourages applicants to submit diverse repertoire, including works composed by women, people from historically underrepresented racial/ethnic groups, and/or musicians from one's own cultural background.