Drums – jazz
For your audition, you should prepare an unaccompanied performance of a variety of styles on request, including swing, ballad, waltz, bossa, samba and Afro-Cuban, plus possibly trading fours.
VCU jazz faculty offers accompaniment to auditionees as needed — an extra copy of your sheet music is welcome. A play-along CD is possible but usually not preferable to live interaction.
Please note that students auditioning as jazz percussion majors are not required to perform a classical percussion audition. If you are interested in pursuing classical percussion, please visit the percussion audition requirements.
Sample tunes might include, but are not limited to:
- Swing: “Autumn Leaves,” “Satin Doll,” “Now’s the Time,” “Take the ‘A’ Train” and “Stella by Starlight”
- Bossa: “Blue Bossa,” “Recorda-Me,” “Meditation,” “Wave” and “Black Orpheus”
- Samba: samba versions of the bossas above
- Afro-Cuban: “Mambo Inn” (2-3 clave), “Afro-Blue” (12/8), “Frenesi” (cha-cha), “Como Fue” (cha-cha) and “A Night in Tunisia” (possible in a variety of settings)
- Ballad: “In a Sentimental Mood,” “Body and Soul,” “My Funny Valentine,” “Polka Dots and Moonbeams” and “Misty”
- Waltz: “Up Jumped Spring,” “Someday My Prince Will Come,” “Alice in Wonderland,” “All Blues” and “Bluesette”
You are not limited to the above choices; these are only examples. However, free improvisation, a demonstration of favorite licks or singing a favorite blues tune along with accompaniment will not meet the audition requirements.
We will ask you to sight-read a passage as part of your audition. You will be given a few moments to look it over and then we will ask you to perform it. For reading practice, see the rhythmic reading exercises available in the jazz section of the website. Though you will not be playing this material in your audition, as it is for VCU students, it will be a great asset towards your preparation for sight-reading at your own audition.
Drummers are required to bring their own cymbals, hi-hat clutch, sticks and brushes.
You are welcome to wear comfortable clothes for your audition. Attire spans from slacks or dresses to coat and tie; jeans are acceptable if neat. We welcome you to present yourself as you would to a range of jazz audiences.
If you have any questions, contact Antonio Garcia, director of jazz studies.