Precollege Jazz Program

The Jazz Arts major is open by audition to all musically qualified and interested students ages 12-18, making Manhattan School of Music one of the few institutions in the country offering jazz programs at the intermediate, secondary, undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral levels. The Jazz Arts Program includes private lessons, combos, big band, and studies in improvisation, ear training, theory, composition/arranging, and jazz history/styles/analysis. The program gives talented instrumental students the opportunity to grow as young jazz artists. Students in this program have won numerous national honors including Downbeat, ASCAP, Mingus, and Monk Awards. We do not offer a jazz voice major.


MSM Precollege Jazz on the Manhattan School of Music's YouTube Channel

Pre-screening Requirements

Only applicants on Guitar, Piano, Drums and Woodwind instruments are required to submit a pre-screening video in order to be considered for a live audition. This video must be uploaded no later than April 1. Uploading directions can be found at https://pcadmissions.msmnyc.edu/Prescreening.

The pre-screening video must include the melodies to Billie's Bounce (sheet music available below) and one other contrasting jazz standard or jazz classic of your choice. Improvise three choruses on each selection. Before performing your first selection, state your name, age and instrument. You may use an accompanist(s), a play-along recording track, or play unaccompanied. Recordings do not need to be of professional quality.

Live Jazz Audition Requirements

Wind Instruments, Violin, Viola, Cello

Prepared selection: Charlie Parker’s “Billie’s Bounce” — medium tempo with standard or alternate chord changes. Include at least three choruses of improvisation. Accompanists will be provided. Download music in a printable PDF format:

Improvisation: Play a jazz classic or standard song in any jazz style. You must include at least three choruses of improvisation. The selection is your choice, and composers to consider are Thelonious Monk, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Chick Corea, Pat Metheny, Herbie Hancock, George Gershwin, Tito Puente, Wayne Shorter, etc. Accompanists will be provided.

Scales: Concert B-flat and F major. Play scales to highest possible range up and down. Tempo: quarter-note=60 and quarter-note=120. Play one scale staccato and one scale legato.

Piano, Guitar, Bass (acoustic and electric)

Prepared selection: Charlie Parker’s “Billie’s Bounce” — medium tempo with standard or alternate chord changes. Include at least three choruses of improvisation. Accompanists will be provided. Download music in a printable PDF format:

BASS ONLY: WALK at least two choruses of “Billie’s Bounce” as well as improvise.

Chords: Demonstrate all basic chords: major, minor, etc.

Improvisation: Play a jazz classic or standard song in any jazz style. You must include at least three choruses of improvisation. Accompanists will be provided.

Comping (GUITAR): Demonstrate comping: Rhythm guitar style and standard regular comping.

Drum Set

Play jazz time: slow, medium, fast on two choruses of 12-bar blues form. Accompanists will be provided.

Demonstrate time in: waltz, rock, Latin, ballad, and brushes. Play on song forms (2 choruses) or vamps (at least 2 minutes each style).

SOLO (improvisation): different styles: jazz, rock, waltz, Latin, and in all tempos.

Play the “Billie’s Bounce” blues choruses: 2 choruses of time, 2 choruses of trading 4s, 2 choruses of solo, repeat chorus of time. Accompanists will be provided. Download music in a printable PDF format:

Demonstrate on Latin instruments, if possible, including bongos and conga.