GJCW Placement Auditions

Audition Information

Our workshop placement auditions are not competitive. They are designed to help the directors place students in a combo with other students at or near their playing ability to enhance the learning experience for all workshop participants.

Students Returning to GJCW

Auditions for placement in specific combo levels for returning students will be submitted by video, and all returning students need to submit an audition video.

Please do not let any part of the audition process get in the way of your participation. If you would prefer to do an in-person audition, feel free to schedule one.

Students New to GJCW

Students who are new to the workshop will do an in-person audition at Chapin Jazz Studio in Grayslake with the directors. After registering, students will receive a link to sign up for an audition time. The directors do their best to make the auditions a fun and educational experience.

Directions for all workshop participants:

Returning Students:

  1. Decide which combo level you feel matches your current playing and improvising ability. Learn about Combo Levels & Music
  2. Video record yourself playing and improvising over the jazz tune listed for your combo level.
  3. Save the video to a Google Drive or a Dropbox folder.
  4. Share that folder with bill@billchapinjazz.com.
  5. If you have questions about these directions, please contact Bill Chapin at bill@billchapinjazz.com

New Students:

  1. Decide which combo level you feel matches your current playing and improvising ability. Learn about Combo Levels & Music
  2. Practice playing and improvising over the jazz tune listed for your combo level.
  3. Sign up for an in-person audition using this online form

Tips on how to prepare for an audition

Horn players

Prepare to play the tune for the level of combo you feel will help you grow this summer. Play through the piece, count out measures that are hard for you, and work to play with a swing feel. Start with the slower backing track while you are learning and work towards the faster tempo for your audition. Use the same process to practice improvising over the chord changes of your selected tune.

Piano, vibes, and guitar

Prepare to play the chords on the tune for the level of combo you feel will help you grow this summer. If you know how to play voicings, practice those. You could play the chord on beat one of each measure, or if you’re familiar with typical “comping” rhythms, show us that. Next, work on improvising over the chord changes. Use the slower backing track to start and work towards the faster tempo for the audition.

Bass players

Be ready to play a bass line on the tune for the level of combo you feel will help you grow this summer. Tip: bass players usually play the chord root on beat one, and then play scale tones or chord tunes to the next chord’s root. You may also solo over the changes for the audition.

Drummers

Be ready to play a swing beat on the tune for the level of combo you feel will help you grow this summer. Keep it simple. Jazz combos need to hear a steady beat, and, generally, complicated playing confuses the band about where the beat is. You may also solo over the changes for the audition.

Vocalists

You are free to use the audition tunes or to audition with any song of your choice. We encourage vocalists to do an in-person audition.

All Musicians

Reminder: these auditions are not meant to discourage anyone from participating. If you are at all unsure, feel free to sign up for an in-person audition.  We will be glad to help you through the experience.