Minnesota Youth Jazz Band
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The Minnesota Youth Jazz Bands will hold auditions for our 2019/2020 season during August of 2019. Each audition will last about 20 minutes. You will be notified approximately two weeks prior to your audition date of your audition time.

Please be aware that joining the Minnesota Youth Jazz Bands is a full school year commitment. You will be expected to attend all rehearsals and concerts (a limited number of excused absences is OK), and to spend whatever time is necessary to practice and learn all of your music. We'll have a lot of fun, and part of that fun will come from having high expectations and standards. However, we encourage all interested musicians to audition, regardless of ability. We may be able to organize one or more additional bands to accommodate those committed musicians that are not accepted into the top bands.

See the Full School Year Bands page for changes to 2020- 2021 Auditions.

Placement in the bands will be determined by playing ability and commitment. The musical factors we will consider include tone, intonation, technique, rhythmic accuracy, reading ability, and musicality. In addition, some (but not all) positions will require some proficiency in jazz improvisation.

Audition Guidelines

Audition material for each instrument is as follows:

All instruments (except drums):

1. Music
Approximately one page of unaccompanied, written out jazz music of your choice. Bring an extra copy.

  • Chosen from material such as jazz etudes, lead sheets, portions of jazz band or combo music, transcribed solos, etc.
  • The intent is to demonstrate your technique, phrasing, sense of rhythm, musicality, control of your instrument, tone, etc.

2. Sight Reading
Sight reading selections that will be provided to you at the audition.

3. Improvisation (Optional)
Jazz improvising (soloing) is not required to audition, but is encouraged.

  • Optional: Improvising on the blues in a key of your choice.
  • Optional: Improvising on one other song of your choice (bring two copies of a lead sheet)

Rhythm Section Players
Piano, bass, and guitar players should also bring one or two jazz songs that they are comfortable comping on - (playing the chord changes as background for a soloist). Bring two copies of the lead sheets.


1. Rhythmic styles
Be prepared to play time and to solo in a variety of rhythmic styles, including some or all of these:

  • Jazz swing (using sticks & brushes)
  • Bossa Nova
  • Samba
  • Waltz (using sticks & brushes)
  • Jazz rock
  • Shuffle

2. Music
Approximately one page of written out exercises of your choice, taken from books such as Jim Chapin's "Advanced Techniques for the Modern Drummer", Ted Reed's "Progressive Steps to Syncopation", or similar material. Please bring an extra copy.

3. Jazz Charts
One big band jazz chart drum part of your choice. Please bring an extra copy.

4. Sight Reading
Sight reading material which will be provided to you at the audition.

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