Jazz Doctoral Program Audition

Admission to the doctor of musical arts degree program is based on an audition before the faculty of the candidate’s major department; the results of a two-hour written examination in jazz history and theory; and a personal interview with the doctoral committee. Students for whom English is not the native language are required to take the standardized TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) and achieve a score of at least 100 iBT.

Prescreening Procedures

Applicants who pass the prescreening portion of the audition will be invited for a live audition in New York City.

All prescreening recordings and PDF copies of scores must be uploaded directly to your application on Decision Desk. Applicants must complete both composition and performance prescreening requirements. Please find information on how to upload prescreening materials here

Composition Requirements

  • All Jazz DMA applicants are required to upload audio recordings and PDFs of their scores to www.musiccas.com for prescreening.
  • Submit copies of two scores and recordings of your large ensemble compositions. At least one score must be for big band. The other score may be for any ensemble larger than an octet.  At least one recording must be a live performance. The other can be a MIDI realization.

Performance Requirements

  • All Jazz DMA applicants are required to upload audio recordings to www.musiccas.com for prescreening.
  • Repertoire for the prescreening recording must demonstrate the ability to perform at a high artistic and professional level, using a live band.
  • Include three selections performed in different jazz styles, moods, and tempos.

Audition Procedures 

Applicants must complete the composition, performance, and pedagogy audition requirements; the additional audition requirements will be a callback.

Composition Requirements

Applicants must bring copies with them to the audition of all of their scores (no originals, please) and a CD of a least two of the pieces. Any Decision Desk submissions for prescreening will be unavailable during the applicant's audition. Choose any three of the following:

  • One original work for studio orchestra (the combination of big band and symphony) with or without jazz soloist(s).
  • One original work for big band with or without jazz soloist(s).
  • One original work for either orchestra or chamber group with our without jazz soloist(s).
  • One original work utilizing MIDI or computer electronic sources. This piece may be for electronic sound sources only, or combination of electronic and acoustic instruments. If a prospective student has no access to MIDI or does not work with electronic media, and additional original acoustic piece for large ensemble of their choice may be substituted for this requirement.

Performance Requirements

  • Demonstrate ability to improvise and play with a rhythm section at a professional level of advancement.
  • Prepare ten selections (including two ballads) in different jazz styles, moods, and tempos to be performed from memory.

Pedagogy Requirements

  • The candidate will present to the faculty panel a written outline for a one-hour lecture or masterclass on a topic of the candidate's choice. From that outline, the candidate will present a 20-minute sample lecture that demonstrates his or her teaching skills. The candidate will specify the target audience as either Kindergarten through 8th grade, high school, undergraduate, or graduate ability and experience. Available resources for this component include audio equipment, whiteboard, and a piano. If the candidate wishes to distribute handouts, they must be prepared, copied, and collated in advance of the sample lecture.

Additional Audition Requirements

  • A one-hour written test on jazz history, styles, and analysis with listening.
  • A one-hour written jazz theory, harmony, and counterpoint examination.
  • A personal interview with the doctoral committee.