Bachelor of Music (Jazz and Improvisation)

Important! Please make sure you have read the How to Apply information for this course prior to reading the audition requirements below.

You will be required to submit more than one audition if you apply for multiple majors or instruments. Please check the requirements for each major as they may differ.

AMEB examinations are not a prerequisite for entry to the Bachelor of Music, but multi-year attainment in the AMEB system of repertoire, technical work (scales, arpeggios, etc.) and theory provides a strong preparation for our program.

Audition dates

2022 Start Year Intake

Applicants need to submit their video recorded performance audition via the supplementary form by 31 October 2021.

Short-listed applicants will be invited to attend call-back auditions either in person at the Southbank campus or online via Zoom between Monday 22 November - Friday 26 November 2021.

Audition requirements

All performed works must include an improvised solo. You must improvise over and with the chosen repertoire, not simply perform the chosen works as scored.

Maximum duration of the performance component is 10 minutes.

Applicants should:

  • perform one work from the setlist and include an improvised solo; and
  • perform one of the following options:
    • your own original composition demonstrating your composition skills (melodic, harmonic and rhythmic language) as well as your skills as an improvising performer; or
    • a work from any world music tradition or popular song demonstrating your skill as an improvising performer; or
    • another contrasting piece from the setlist and include an improvised solo.

How will I be assessed?

Applicants’ performance auditions will be assessed for:

  • demonstrated creativity and improvisation skills
  • composition skills (melodic, harmonic and rhythmic language)
  • skills as an improvising performer.

All applicants will be ranked based on the above criteria, up to the capacity of places within the course.

Audition guidelines

Accompaniment options:

  • A good quality band to accompany you
  • One accompanist such as a guitar player, piano player or bass player (instead of a full band)
  • Piano and guitar players will ideally audition with drums and bass
  • If you cannot find a good quality band/accompanist, a well-prepared play along will suffice

The Conservatorium can suggest accompanists if you require one, please refer to the list of approved accompanists.

What to demonstrate:

  • All auditionees must demonstrate their ability to improvise
  • All auditionees must demonstrate their ability to keep arrangements simple and to a minimum
  • Guitarists and piano players should demonstrate their ability to comp (accompany the melody or solo)
  • Bass players should demonstrate their ability to play walking bass lines as well as general ensemble playing
  • Drummers need to demonstrate their ability to play time feels, as well as their listening skills by demonstrating how they interact within the ensemble
  • Fully notated pieces are not appropriate audition pieces for the Jazz and Improvisation major

Preparing your video recorded audition

It is not an expectation that you access or purchase additional recording equipment beyond a basic smartphone, iPad or laptop/desktop device. For smartphones, many recent models already have very good microphones built-in.

Here are some tips from our University of Melbourne Learning Environments team on recording a video using your smart phone.

Call-back auditions

Short-listed applicants will be invited to a 15 minute call-back audition and discussion between Monday 22 November - Friday 26 November 2021 at the Southbank campus, with an option for an online call-back via Zoom Web Conferencing if required.

Call-backs may involve the following:

  • An aural test to determine aural skill level (e.g - recognition of intervals, chord qualities and modes, etc.)
  • Theoretical questions to determine knowledge of music theory (e.g., list notes in chords, list notes in modes, list chords in II-V-I progressions, etc.)
  • Execution of scales, modes, and arpeggios (in various keys)
  • Sight reading to demonstrate current ability (e.g., lead sheet, melodic excerpt, rhythmic excerpt, chord symbols & chord voicings, etc.)
  • A discussion with the panel, answering a variety of generic questions

Please note: the aural, theoretical and sight-reading components are intended to determine current experience and knowledge of the auditionee. They are not necessarily indicative of expected knowledge prior to entry in the Jazz & Improvisation major. The purpose of this testing is merely to assist the panel in garnering a complete picture of each auditionee and their potential fit to join the Jazz & Improvisation cohort.

Further information will be provided in the call-back notification.