SFJAZZ.org | Auditions
The SFJAZZ High School All-Stars performing in Miner Auditorium

High School All-Stars Auditions

The SFJAZZ High School All-Stars program provides advanced-level training, mentorship and performance opportunities for some of the most talented musicians in the Bay Area. Ensemble members as well as Alternates and Mentorship students have access to a wide range of resources, including tickets to SFJAZZ performances, clinics with leading jazz professionals, and opportunities to perform at the SFJAZZ Center as well as festivals throughout the Bay Area and beyond.

Audition for

High School All-Stars

Use the link below to sign up for 2024-25 High School All-Stars auditions!

Sign Up Here

The SFJAZZ High School All-Stars program provides advanced-level training, mentorship and performance opportunities for some of the most talented musicians in the Bay Area. Ensemble members as well as Alternates and Mentorship students have access to a wide range of resources, including tickets to SFJAZZ performances, clinics with leading jazz professionals, and opportunities to perform at the SFJAZZ Center as well as festivals throughout the Bay Area and beyond.

Audition for

High School All-Stars

Use the link below to sign up for 2024-25 High School All-Stars auditions!

Sign Up Here

AUDITION & ENROLLMENT INFO

In order to streamline the audition process, auditionees who were not previous members of the SFJAZZ High School All Stars will be asked to submit a video sample of their playing by July 15th. (Previous alternates and mentees must submit a video). Video submission requirements can be found here. Vocalists will not be required to submit a video audition. Please note that the 2024 High School All-Stars auditions will take place at the SFJAZZ Center on August 10 and 11 for those who advance to the next round.

1. Complete the online audition form.
2. Submit your audition video to [email protected] via YouTube link by July 15, 2024. Please include your name and instrument in the video name.
3. You will be contacted by SFJAZZ staff with an audition time once reviews are completed. Not all auditionees will be asked to come in for a live audition.
4. Arrive at least 15 minutes before your scheduled time in order to check in and warm up.
5. Musicians who have been accepted into the ensemble(s) will be notified by the Education Department and given a link to enroll. Those who have been accepted into the Alternate or Mentorship Program will be notified and provided with participant info.

What to Expect at Live Auditions
Horn and vocal auditioners will perform two pieces of their own choosing: one standard and one blues. Rhythm auditioners will try out in small groups and will decide what to play together from a list of standards (see below). Additionally, all auditioners will play 1-2 excerpts that will be sent out that week in order for musicians to prepare. Adjudicators will be evaluating you based on technique, musicality, familiarity with jazz language, improvisation, and reading ability.

Horns
Please plan to play the melody and also take a solo; for blues heads, we would like to hear at least 2 choruses (and no more than 4) of soloing or scatting. We recommend that you consider selecting contrasting pieces, such as an up-tempo blues and a standard ballad, or a funky Latin groove and a slower blues. Be prepared to improvise on both your standard and your blues. Doublers are encouraged to audition on multiple instruments. Trumpet players: please inform adjudicators if you are auditioning for the lead trumpet chair. You will be asked to play one or two phrases in the extended range. Trombone players: please inform the adjudicators if you are auditioning as bass trombonist.

Vocalists
Vocalists may audition with a backing track; two contrasting pieces are recommended. Vocalists are not required to take a solo chorus, but are encouraged to do so if they feel comfortable. Be prepared to sing one or all of the following: chromatic scale, major scale, harmonic minor scale, mixolydian scale (major scale with lowered 7th degree).

Rhythm Players
All rhythm auditions will take place in small groups. We will pre-assign students in different groups so that you will know who you will be playing with ahead of the audition. If there are students you know who will be signing up, please state your preference to play with them so we can try to schedule you at the same time. Each group will have up to 30 minutes to play together, including reading a chart together which will be sent out ahead of time. We also want to hear you improvise, including extended solos as well as trading 4s. A piano, amps, and drums (including cymbals) will be provided; drummers, please bring sticks and brushes.

Piano/Guitar
Be prepared to play the melody, improvise, and comp through chord changes.

Bass
Be prepared to play the melody of a tune, walking bass lines, improvise, and demonstrate (separately) playing a Latin-style or straight-eighth figure.

Drums
Be prepared to play examples of the following feels: swing at different tempos (medium, very fast, and ballad), Latin, bossa, and funk. Please have brushes ready.

AUDITION FAQ

Q: How do I know if I’m ready to audition for the SFJAZZ High School All-Stars?
A: SFJAZZ High School All-Stars candidates typically have at least 4 years of experience with their instrument and at least 2 years of experience playing jazz. 

Q: What do I do if I’m nervous?
A: Smile, take a deep breath, and do your best! We know students get nervous for auditions, but the more you prepare for and experience doing them, the better you get at managing those butterflies. 

Q: When will I be notified of whether or not I have been accepted to the All-Stars program?
A: We do our best to communicate results within two weeks of auditions. 

Q: When does the band rehearse?
A: The Big Band rehearses from 5:45 to 7:45 pm on Tuesday nights. The Combo rehearses afterward, from 8 to 9:30 pm on Tuesdays. 

Q: Where is rehearsal?
A: Both bands rehearse at the SFJAZZ Center. The space is easily accessible by MUNI and BART. Street parking is available, however very limited; paid parking is available at the Performing Arts Garage.

Q: Is there a cost associated with the High School All-Stars program?
A: The High School All-Stars is a tuition-free program; there is no cost to join the ensembles, alternate program, or mentorship program. 

Q: What is an Alternate?
A: An alternate is someone who is not a regular member of the band but will be called upon to sub for a band member at rehearsals, recordings, or performances. Benefits include free concert tickets to select SFJAZZ shows, and a standing invitation to observe rehearsals, clinics, and workshops. 

Q: What is the Mentorship Program?
A: The Mentorship Program is designed to offer less experienced, yet enthusiastic young musicians in grades 8 - 12 the opportunity to be exposed to rehearsals, clinics, and concerts in order to encourage their interest in jazz music. Mentorship Program participants (AKA: mentees) are welcome to attend High School All-Stars Big Band rehearsals, and are offered free tickets to select SFJAZZ concerts and classes. 

Q: Does the band travel?
A: We aim to travel to one festival per year, circumstances permitting. SFJAZZ covers travel and hotel costs in these cases; food, ground transportation, and incidentals are covered by band members. In the event that any cost is prohibitive, we ask that the ensemble member contact SFJAZZ Education regarding assistance. 

For questions, please contact [email protected].

AUDITION & ENROLLMENT INFO

In order to streamline the audition process, auditionees who were not previous members of the SFJAZZ High School All Stars will be asked to submit a video sample of their playing by July 15th. (Previous alternates and mentees must submit a video). Video submission requirements can be found here. Vocalists will not be required to submit a video audition. Please note that the 2024 High School All-Stars auditions will take place at the SFJAZZ Center on August 10 and 11 for those who advance to the next round.

1. Complete the online audition form.
2. Submit your audition video to [email protected] via YouTube link by July 15, 2024. Please include your name and instrument in the video name.
3. You will be contacted by SFJAZZ staff with an audition time once reviews are completed. Not all auditionees will be asked to come in for a live audition.
4. Arrive at least 15 minutes before your scheduled time in order to check in and warm up.
5. Musicians who have been accepted into the ensemble(s) will be notified by the Education Department and given a link to enroll. Those who have been accepted into the Alternate or Mentorship Program will be notified and provided with participant info.

What to Expect at Live Auditions
Horn and vocal auditioners will perform two pieces of their own choosing: one standard and one blues. Rhythm auditioners will try out in small groups and will decide what to play together from a list of standards (see below). Additionally, all auditioners will play 1-2 excerpts that will be sent out that week in order for musicians to prepare. Adjudicators will be evaluating you based on technique, musicality, familiarity with jazz language, improvisation, and reading ability.

Horns
Please plan to play the melody and also take a solo; for blues heads, we would like to hear at least 2 choruses (and no more than 4) of soloing or scatting. We recommend that you consider selecting contrasting pieces, such as an up-tempo blues and a standard ballad, or a funky Latin groove and a slower blues. Be prepared to improvise on both your standard and your blues. Doublers are encouraged to audition on multiple instruments. Trumpet players: please inform adjudicators if you are auditioning for the lead trumpet chair. You will be asked to play one or two phrases in the extended range. Trombone players: please inform the adjudicators if you are auditioning as bass trombonist.

Vocalists
Vocalists may audition with a backing track; two contrasting pieces are recommended. Vocalists are not required to take a solo chorus, but are encouraged to do so if they feel comfortable. Be prepared to sing one or all of the following: chromatic scale, major scale, harmonic minor scale, mixolydian scale (major scale with lowered 7th degree).

Rhythm Players
All rhythm auditions will take place in small groups. We will pre-assign students in different groups so that you will know who you will be playing with ahead of the audition. If there are students you know who will be signing up, please state your preference to play with them so we can try to schedule you at the same time. Each group will have up to 30 minutes to play together, including reading a chart together which will be sent out ahead of time. We also want to hear you improvise, including extended solos as well as trading 4s. A piano, amps, and drums (including cymbals) will be provided; drummers, please bring sticks and brushes.

Piano/Guitar
Be prepared to play the melody, improvise, and comp through chord changes.

Bass
Be prepared to play the melody of a tune, walking bass lines, improvise, and demonstrate (separately) playing a Latin-style or straight-eighth figure.

Drums
Be prepared to play examples of the following feels: swing at different tempos (medium, very fast, and ballad), Latin, bossa, and funk. Please have brushes ready.

AUDITION FAQ

Q: How do I know if I’m ready to audition for the SFJAZZ High School All-Stars?
A: SFJAZZ High School All-Stars candidates typically have at least 4 years of experience with their instrument and at least 2 years of experience playing jazz. 

Q: What do I do if I’m nervous?
A: Smile, take a deep breath, and do your best! We know students get nervous for auditions, but the more you prepare for and experience doing them, the better you get at managing those butterflies. 

Q: When will I be notified of whether or not I have been accepted to the All-Stars program?
A: We do our best to communicate results within two weeks of auditions. 

Q: When does the band rehearse?
A: The Big Band rehearses from 5:45 to 7:45 pm on Tuesday nights. The Combo rehearses afterward, from 8 to 9:30 pm on Tuesdays. 

Q: Where is rehearsal?
A: Both bands rehearse at the SFJAZZ Center. The space is easily accessible by MUNI and BART. Street parking is available, however very limited; paid parking is available at the Performing Arts Garage.

Q: Is there a cost associated with the High School All-Stars program?
A: The High School All-Stars is a tuition-free program; there is no cost to join the ensembles, alternate program, or mentorship program. 

Q: What is an Alternate?
A: An alternate is someone who is not a regular member of the band but will be called upon to sub for a band member at rehearsals, recordings, or performances. Benefits include free concert tickets to select SFJAZZ shows, and a standing invitation to observe rehearsals, clinics, and workshops. 

Q: What is the Mentorship Program?
A: The Mentorship Program is designed to offer less experienced, yet enthusiastic young musicians in grades 8 - 12 the opportunity to be exposed to rehearsals, clinics, and concerts in order to encourage their interest in jazz music. Mentorship Program participants (AKA: mentees) are welcome to attend High School All-Stars Big Band rehearsals, and are offered free tickets to select SFJAZZ concerts and classes. 

Q: Does the band travel?
A: We aim to travel to one festival per year, circumstances permitting. SFJAZZ covers travel and hotel costs in these cases; food, ground transportation, and incidentals are covered by band members. In the event that any cost is prohibitive, we ask that the ensemble member contact SFJAZZ Education regarding assistance. 

For questions, please contact [email protected].

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