Undergraduate

Bachelor of Music (Improvised Music) Audition Requirements

Undergraduate
Instrumental principal study is available on any instrument in the Improvised Music program in the Bachelor of Music.

Jazz and Improvised Music Aptitude Test

All undergraduate jazz applicants must complete the Jazz and Improvised Music Aptitude Test, which assesses general music skills and knowledge of the history and construction of jazz. It is used in conjunction with the audition process to determine a candidate’s suitability for entry into one of the jazz degree programs at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. Questions will range from the historically based, such as associating an instrument with a performer, to an aural component covering meter, pitch, rhythm and harmony. The test lasts for approximately one hour and is primarily composed of listening questions. The candidate will need to bring writing equipment, including an eraser. This test must be attended on the same day as the audition.

The aural test will consist of ten intervals up to and including a ninth; ten chords drawn from major, minor, augmented, diminished and dominant chord families; and you should identify all extensions and alteration where possible. The aural test is held during the Jazz and Improvised Music Aptitude Test.

Performance Audition

If you are applying for the Improvised Music program, you should be aware of the following:

  1. The audition examines a range of musical skills and has a duration of approximately 15 to 20 minutes.
  2. You will be provided with Conservatorium jazz and improvised music staff
    accompaniment of guitar/piano and drums.
  3. Drum kit, amplifiers, pianos and vibraphones are provided. NB drummers should bring their own cymbals and hi-hat clutch, and bassist and guitarists should bring their own leads.
  4. All applicants should bring a simple lead sheet or their prepared work for the accompanists that includes chord symbols, a clearly marked form and time signature.
  5. Instrumental and vocal (non-drum) applicants are required to present:
    1. three minute prepared composition or excerpt that displays their instrumental ability
    2. and either
      i. a three minute (maximum) improvisation OR
      ii. a three minute (maximum) improvised cadenza OR
      iii. a prepared theme followed by three x improvised variations on a 20-30 second tune OR
      iv. a three minute (maximum) improvisation over a drone in either fixed time or free time in either a swing or straight 8th’s groove. OR
      v. Demonstration of a series of short improvisations based on a simple
      motif as provided by accompanists.
    3. a sight reading test
    4. knowledge of all major and minor scales, triads and arpeggios
    5. improvisational ability on a simple IV-I, V-I set of chord changes that will be provided by the accompanists.
  6. Drum Instrumental applicants are required to present:
    1. three minute prepared composition or excerpt that displays their instrumental ability
    2. and either
      i. a three minute (maximum) improvisation OR
      ii. a three minute (maximum) improvised cadenza OR
      iii. a prepared theme followed by three x improvised variations on a 20-30 second tune
    3. a sight reading test of rhythms in 4/4 and 3/4
    4. demonstration of grooves/styles. Candidates will be asked to play the following feels at an appropriate tempo range: bossa nova, mambo, medium swing (brushes), medium/fast swing (brushes), fast swing (sticks), shuffle (sticks), straight 8’s, and a groove in an odd-time (5/4, 6/4, 7/4, 9/4) or compound meter (12/8, 6/8, 9/8). You will be assessed on consistency of time and feel, dynamics and the authenticity of the various feels.