The MYSO Jazz Studies program is centered around combo playing (small group – one on a part). The focus lies on learning the jazz vocabulary and several different techniques, specific to your instrument, that are needed in order to be successful in playing jazz music. There are four different levels in the MYSO jazz program.
In the Beginning, intermediate and advanced classes, students will have both a techniques class and a jazz combo. In the techniques class you will learn about the jazz language/vocabulary, how to apply it on your instrument and what your role/function is in a combo setting. You will learn about Jazz history and who the key players are/were. You will also learn about music/jazz theory.
In the combo you will work on a large variety of jazz standards, learning “the head” of some of the best known and most significant jazz standards and applying the skills from the techniques classes to make a successful performance ensemble. For the advanced combos, writing your own arrangements or even compositions will be an option for those who are interested.
There will be three Jazz Studies concerts for all combos (early November, late January, and mid-May). Besides the regular concerts there will also be monthly jam sessions held at the Jazz Gallery for the MYSO students. This will be in a relaxed social environment where the students can put together their own combination of MYSO Jazz Studies students to jam together. (Participation in at least 1 jam sessions is mandatory.)
The Audition Process and Requirements
(Current MYSO Jazz Studies students do not need to re-audition)
Part I – Instrumental Skills (for all students):
The first part of the Enrollment Audition is to establish that you have beginning, intermediate or advanced playing skills on your instrument.
Play a solo in any style (not necessarily jazz) that will demonstrate how well you play your instrument. Winds/strings, Piano, or Bass: You will be asked to play some major scales and a sight reading selection. Drummers will be asked to play straight ahead jazz comping (keeping time) and to demonstrate their knowledge of various drum techniques and drum set styles.
Part II – Jazz Proficiency:
The second part of the Enrollment Audition will be an opportunity for you to demonstrate that you have acquired very basic skills in jazz improvisation/language and any jazz techniques which are unique to your instrument. Improvise on the blues progression in jazz style at a medium tempo with faculty. (Piano, bass, guitar and drum students must also “comp” appropriately on this progression.)
Students who successfully complete the audition will be enrolled into the beginning, intermediate or advanced jazz techniques class and a jazz combo (2 hours per week). The beginning level on Thursday from 5:00 - 7:00 PM, beginning Latin Jazz from 7:00 - 8:00 PM, advanced Latin Jazz 8:00 - 9:00 PM, the intermediate level on Wednesday 5:00 - 7:00 PM or the advanced level on Wednesday from 7:00 - 9:00). Techniques classes include: Jazz Improvisation, Jazz Piano, Jazz Bass, and Jazz Drums.
Students who successfully complete the audition will be enrolled into the beginning, intermediate or advanced jazz techniques class and a jazz combo (2 hours per week). The beginning level on Thursday 5:00-7:00 PM, the intermediate level on Wednesday 5:00-7:00 PM or the advanced level on Wednesday 7:00-9:00). Techniques classes include: Jazz Improvisation, Jazz Piano, Jazz Bass and Guitar, and Jazz Drums. In addition to the jazz combos, there are two levels of Latin Jazz combos that meet on Thursdays, beginning 7:00-8:00 PM and advanced from 8:00-9:00 PM. [Note: students who are in a jazz combo could also potentially enroll in a Latin combo if interested, especially drummers from either Wednesday or Thursday combos who are interested in learning Latin percussion (conga, timbales, bongo, etc).]
Note to MYSO Jazz Studies applicants: If you do not know how to prepare the materials in Part II, ask for help from your private teacher or band director.