Audition Information

UnknownThis post contains general information relating to auditions for U of T Jazz.

For more specific audition information please visit the Faculty of Music website.

(Click the icon in the upper right corner for links.)

For questions relating to undergrad auditions: EMAIL THE ADMISSIONS OFFICE.

For questions relating to grad auditions: EMAIL THE GRADUATE OFFICE.

U of T Jazz is a small, elite program. The admission process is competitive; there are more applicants in a given year than we can accept. But don’t despair! We are not only looking for talented musicians, but students who want to learn. If you have a passion for jazz, and show evidence of hard work so far, your chances are good.

Prospective applicants are encouraged to attend the one-day audition workshop offered in January, as well as other workshops offered throughout the year.

CLICK HERE for information on U of T Jazz Workshops.

All undergrad applicants to the U of T Jazz Performance Program must submit a pre-screen application.

Successful pre-screen applicants will be invited to audition live at the school. If you live more than 400km (250 miles) from Toronto you may opt to send a taped audition, however all invited applicants are strongly advised to come for the audition if at all possible. Not only does this present you in the best light, it gives you a chance to see the school and the city that you are considering calling home.

Each audition lasts approx. 20 minutes. In that short time we strive to get an idea not only of how the student plays, but also a broader understanding of the individual. We are not only looking for good musicians, but for students who will benefit from what the program has to offer and who will offer something in return. In a small program such as ours, everybody knows everybody else, and the ability to fit in and work well with others is crucial to the success of the student and the program. During the course of the audition we hear three songs, do a little ear training and conduct an informal interview.

Students prepare three selections from a list of approved tunes. These pieces should exhibit diversity of style and show you off to strong advantage. In the interest of time, you will play the melody and an improvised solo, and then we will stop and move on to the next piece. Memorization is strongly encouraged, however please bring three copies of the music with you to the audition.


We have student rhythm sections on hand to accompany live auditions. While you may feel nervous about playing with unfamiliar musicians, you’ll find them very friendly and sensitive; that’s why they were chosen for the auditions. Chances are they will be stronger players than the musicians you are used to, and that will only make you sound better. They are empathetic, as they stood in your shoes not that long ago, and will be relaxed. That in turn helps you to relax. Getting a chance to play and interact with students currently in the program gives you the most accurate view of the U of T Jazz scene.

Please note: A $60 cash fee must be brought to the audition, payable directly to the rhythm section.


  • Bass players should be prepared to play the melody as well as improvise bass lines and solos. While bass players may audition on electric bass if that is their primary instrument, acoustic bass playing is an important component in the jazz program. All bassists must be able to perform on both electric and acoustic bass in order to graduate.
  • Drummers should be prepared to demonstrate various styles (eg. Swing, shuffle, afro-cuban, funk, bossa nova & samba) at various tempos, using brushes as well as sticks. Solo trading (fours/eights) should be included in the performance.
  • Pianists and guitarists must play one of the three pieces unaccompanied, and demonstrate ability to comp chords.
  • Saxophonists may elect to perform one or more of the pieces on a doubling instrument. (flute, clarinet etc)

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