The College of New Jersey Logo

Apply     Visit     Give     |     Alumni     Parents     Offices     TCNJ Today     Three Bar Menu

Jazz Ensemble

Jazz Ensemble is a performance-oriented ensemble designed to study and perform the traditions of Big band music. It is a laboratory for the study of standard and contemporary jazz repertoire and performance practice, and for learning such skills as improvisation, sight-reading and the special techniques germane to jazz music. Audition is required for students joining the group for the first time and are held during the second week of the fall semester.

Auditions begin with an OPEN REHEARSAL. Bring your instrument(s) and be ready to play – this will be a full rehearsal with all students participating.

Jazz Ensemble is an inclusive ensemble for all qualified students. However, when there is an overabundance of candidates for a particular instrument or section, competitive auditions are necessary. You will be notified if you must participate in this audition.


Professor, Doug Beavers

MUS 144
Tuesday and Friday
3:30-4:50 pm

Room 019 (lower level)

Competitive audition details:

Trumpet, Trombone and Saxophone

  • Choose and prepare a 1-2 minute piece that best demonstrates your abilities – preferably but not exclusively a jazz piece. If you don’t have a piece in mind, you can use a section from a piece you performed with one of your former high school groups.
  • A short piece distributed ahead of time (2 days), for you to prepare
  • A short piece of sight reading
  • Optional: play 2 choruses of The Blues in concert F or Bb
  • Saxophonists may audition on the instrument of their choice (although you may ultimately be assigned to a different instrument, in which case there will be an instrument for you to use)

Piano, Bass, Guitar, Vibraphone

  • Choose and prepare a 1-3 minute piece that best demonstrates your abilities – I recommend picking a tune that you know well, play the melody and 1-3 choruses of improvisation or simple accompaniment.
  • You will be asked to create an accompaniment from a lead-sheet which will be provided at the audition (nothing too complicated or too fast).

Drums (percussion)

You will be asked to play a series of alternating sequences of the following rhythms:

  • Swing: medium, fast
  • Shuffle
  • Latin: Bossa Nova, Samba and/or Afro-Cuban
  • Contemporary: Hip Hop, Funk, Jazz Fusion, Jazz Rock

jazz ensemble performing on stage