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Jazz School Audition questions

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [DB]' started by Alexi David, Nov 3, 2004.


  1. Alexi David

    Alexi David

    May 15, 2003
    NYC
    Hope I posted this in the rig category....

    Anyway, I would like to go to school again so I will record an audition tape for the New School University. They want 3 tunes (uptempo, ballad, blues). As much as I will do my best to show what I can (and can't!!) do on the bass, I'd like to know about what I SHOULD show them. For example, I know that If I feel like taking an "outside" solo that day on the blues piece, I won't. I know that they will wanna hear bebop scales, melodic lines, etc. I guess I kind of liken it to playing a wedding gig. I will not play like I do on my band's gigs, but I will still always make the best of it, and adapt to the situation and still make it be me. I hope this sounds clear! I would like to know of any of you guys' past experiences whether as applicants or teachers.

    I will play the heads on all of the tunes, and take 2-4 chorus solos. I've picked I Can't Get Started, Softly As In A Morning Sunrise and Keester Parade [Centerpiece].
     
  2. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    Play convincingly. 'Mean it', in other words. Spring for some studio time, or at least some manner of a good recording. Don't try to show off, but rather play some good music.
     
  3. nypiano

    nypiano

    Feb 10, 2003
    NYC
    I worked there for 2 semesters teaching those who didn't pass the audition. The audition is where it really matters. Plus sight reading. I think the rules would apply to both because it's my recollection that they ask you to do the same type of thing for audition, with the exception of springing something on you. My suggestion there would be to listen to as many mainstream "recommended jazz listens" as possible.

    However generally, the sense I got was to do something by the major jazz composers: ellington, monk, mingus (fancy that :) ) and charlie parker and the like. More so than a standard perhaps. Or maybe this way: the easier the head the more they expect from the improv. The more well executed a difficult head, they might be more inclined to weigh the performance on the skill there

    You absolutely shouldn't play out--not because they don't consider it valid. But that you (supposedly) don't have the musical skills to pull it off-yet. You'll have to weigh whether you have enough time to truly learn and master a new tune.

    good luck
     
  4. Savino

    Savino

    Jun 2, 2004
    nyc
    I graduated from New School 2 years ago. I remember my own audition very well. I also, during my years there played on many auditions for other people. I offer this advice: Stick to regular Jazz standard fare. Ive seen people bring in charts for cheesy swing tunes, medeski martin and wood tunes, you name it. Although your audition would be for some of the hippest people there ie. Reggie Workman, Jane Ira Bloom. They need to hear things they can relate to, and hear you in a familiar context. Most of all, they will be listening to your potential. Learn those three tunes like they are the only tunes in the world. Do your homework. Transcribe solos, walking lines from different sources on these tunes. Have a clear idea of the arrangements you are going to present on the tape. get the best players you can to record the tape with you. but this doesnt mean that you have to play it too safe! Reggie is an expert in all things Coltrane, and his own music is beautiful AND WAY OUT THERE!. Same with Jane Ira Bloom, she is an expert in Ornette's music. They have heard the tunes you're going to play a billion times. Play them the way you would normally play them instead of spitting out an approximation of a paul chambers solo. I know for a fact that they are accepting more students than ever before and bass players are always more in demand. Relax, try and demonstrate your individual style rather than guessing what you think they want to hear. Feel free to PM me if you have any questions. Good luck, Mike
     
  5. Alexi David

    Alexi David

    May 15, 2003
    NYC
    I agree on all points, and have already done a lot of those things you said - whew! I guess I'm on the right track. I'm just very nervous. I guess I should just be myself, and stop trying to achieve the best solo of my life - after all it's SCHOOL I wanna go to. I need to drop my perfectionist bit for a while. In fact, one reason I wanna go to school is to drop my ego and do a reality check.

    From the three tunes listed above, the arrangements are pretty standard, on purpose. I figure the best way to show what I can do, is by going to the basics, and cutting out a lot of flashy arrangements and stuff. And as Ray said, "Mean It". I think If I play honestly, and with conviction and [important for me] not be flashy in lieu of musical taste, I will be fine.

    And to think less about soloing, and more about my walking lines.

    Question: Savino, do they require me to play all of the heads? The guy in the admissions office wouldn't give me a clear answer.....
     
  6. Scot

    Scot Supporting Member

    Mar 20, 2004
    Pacifica, CA, USA
    I think it's good advice to just be yourself. Present the stuff you already know that you know sounds good and try to avoid your weaknesses. It wouldn't be a good idea to reinvent yourself for the audition, IMO.

    I would do a bebop tune like Donna Lee that I can play the head in my sleep and play the head w/ the horn player and take a solo after the soloists. I would pick a ballad where I'm demonstrating regular time keeping on the melody and then take a lyrical solo based on the melody. Then I would play a medium tune where I'm demonstrating playing time in "2" feel on the melody and go to "4" for the solos then take a solo after the other soloists. I don't think they would necessarily want me to play the head/melody on every tune because that's not what anyone would expect in a real-world situation. I would want to show them that I'm already a gig-worthy player that's going to school to put some finishing touches on my playing and to make contacts/network.

    -Scot
     
  7. Alexi David

    Alexi David

    May 15, 2003
    NYC
    1. Advice taken, you're right.
    2. yeah, but I would be ok to show my weaknesses to a certain extent - after all, I want to go to school to get help with them....
    3. As a general rule, yes. But I've already worked out arrangements playing the heads. I want to show how I interpret heads.

    What do you guys think?
     
  8. Scot

    Scot Supporting Member

    Mar 20, 2004
    Pacifica, CA, USA
    Hey man, it's not really necessary to bullet each of my points and give your rebutal to each. You asked and I expressed how I would approach it if it were ME. You do whatever YOU think is best. Obviously, there's not a right and wrong way to do it and that's probably why the guy in admissions had trouble answering your questions to your satisfaction.

    -Scot
     
  9. Alexi David

    Alexi David

    May 15, 2003
    NYC
    Yes, I have a habit of speaking too specifically and expecting the same. I'm quite anal retentive.

    I see that as a general rule, what was in my instinct to do was more or less in line with everyone's advice. Now I just need to continue the work. Thanks a million
     
  10. Savino

    Savino

    Jun 2, 2004
    nyc
    I dont think they require you to play the heads, but, I did, many of my bass toting buds did as well. I also did a live audition, with people i'd never played with before so I approached it as if I was the leader. If I was to make a tape instead I might play one or two of the melodies and comp on another throwing in little fragments here and there.
     
  11. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    NYC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    The audition is not only to get in, but also for ensemble placement. So, like Mike says and Ray intimates, you got to be yourself. They aren't going to be able to accurately assess where you are and what would be the best course for you unless they know what YOU sound like.
    They are going to be looking at how well you can fill the roleas a bassist, so nailing a bunch of hard melodies, but not being able to convincingly solo inside the harmony or being able to walk a convincing accompanying line is going to put you in some ensembles that will work on building those skills. The contrary is true as well.
    And admissions is based on need, the good news is all ensembles pretty much need a bassist. So, unless there's a sudden upswing in applications, you can count on being in a least one ensemble that will really push you.
     
  12. Alexi David

    Alexi David

    May 15, 2003
    NYC
    Guys, THANKS for all of the help and suggestions! I shall alert you all if I get accepted
     
  13. pedro

    pedro

    Apr 5, 2000
    Madison, WI.
    "You absolutely shouldn't play out--"

    What does 'play out' mean in this context?
     
  14. Alexi David

    Alexi David

    May 15, 2003
    NYC
    To play outside the changes, disregarding the chords
     
  15. pedro

    pedro

    Apr 5, 2000
    Madison, WI.
    Thanks Mingus. Obviously I'm not a pro.
     
  16. Alexi David

    Alexi David

    May 15, 2003
    NYC
    :hyper: :hyper: :hyper: :hyper: :hyper: :hyper: :hyper: :hyper: I'VE BEEN ACCEPTED!!!!!!!!!!!! MOI SO EXCITED!!!!!!!!!!

    Thank you everyone, you had a big part in it!!!!

    See you NY cats soon!!! (ED, this time the drinks are on me!)
     
  17. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    NYC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    In that case, we're going to a nicer joint! :D
     
  18. pedro

    pedro

    Apr 5, 2000
    Madison, WI.
    Congratulations!! That's terrific news. (High fives!) Do you start in the fall?

    My son is still waiting to hear from MSM and NEC. Supposedly those notices start going out April 1.
     
  19. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY

    Ed Fuqua + :D = !


    Don't get me wrong - I like it, you old softy. :)

    MONKISH FUNGUS - congrats, man. Couldn't happen to a nicer guy.
     
  20. Confucius

    Confucius

    Dec 27, 2004
    New York
    Congrats! :)