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How to Audition

BM, Music Performance

All prospective and transfer students must apply for admission to NYU Steinhardt before scheduling an audition. All applicants to the Jazz Studies program are considered for a variety of talent-based awards without further application. Apply for undergraduate study.

Submit Your Prescreen Video

All undergraduate applicants – freshmen and transfers – must send the link to a prescreening video uploaded to YouTube (see instructions below). Subsequent to this prescreening of your video performance, in-person audition and interview invitations will be issued if appropriate. Early Decision I and Early Decision II applicants will be evaluated based on their video submission and will not have to audition in person.

You must submit your prescreening video online by the dates listed. Materials submitted after these dates may not be accepted. Please remember to attach the information sheet to your email with your YouTube video submission. See below for more information about your prescreening video.

It is highly recommended to play with a band and not use a play-along recording.

Prescreen Video Deadlines

November 1, 2019: Early Decision I
December 1, 2019: Early Decision II and regular decision

Prescreen Video Details and Requirements

Required repertoire for prescreen:

  1. Blues in F: “Billie’s Bounce” (Charlie Parker)
  2. Jazz standard: "All the Things You Are" (Jerome Kern)
  3. Your choice of an up-tempo standard
  4. Your choice of an original composition (optional)

Online Video Audition Option

The audition committee is looking to establish your proficiency. Please make sure your video features you as the soloist. Make sure that at the beginning of the video you:

  • State your name and instrument clearly

  • State if you are auditioning for the graduate or undergraduate program at NYU Steinhardt

After you complete the video audition recording, post your video on YouTube following the instructions below. YouTube Video Submission Instructions

Please title the video following this structure: NYU JAZZ Audition: Your last name, instrument, degree level.

Example: NYU Jazz Audition: Smith, trumpet, UNDERGRADUATE.

Set up your video on YouTube as an unlisted video. An unlisted video is a different type of private video. "Unlisted" means that only people who know the link to the video can view it. This is what we prefer.

You can choose to make any of your uploads unlisted in your YouTube Account settings. Here’s how:

  1. Sign into your YouTube Account

  2. Go to your My Videos page

  3. Select the video which you’d like to make an unlisted video. Click the “Edit” button to access the video’s settings.

  4. Go to the Privacy section of the page. There you’ll see the option to mark your video as “unlisted,” “public,” or “private.” Select unlisted.

  5. Don’t forget to click the “Save Changes” button. Once you’ve done this your video will be an unlisted video.

Please test the link before you submit it. You can log out of YouTube and send the link to a second email address you may have or to a family member to test.

Please attach your completed information sheet to your email with your YouTube unlisted video links and send to Timo Vollbrecht, nyujazzstudies@gmail.com. Please write only your last name, instrument, and degree level in the subject line. For example:  SMITH, trumpet, UNDERGRADUATE.

Audition Dates

March 2-5, 2020

Audition Details and Requirements

Please prepare three contrasting tunes selected from the standard jazz repertoire. These should be tunes that you can “call” in a jam session setting. You should stick to swing, ballad, Brazilian, Afro-Cuban or Afro-Peruvian grooves. Avoid rock, funk, or pop music. (While these styles are valid and we teach them at NYU Steinhardt, for auditions and interviews we prefer to hear you on standard repertoire.)

What Should I Bring to My Interview/Audition?

Bring an open mind and positive attitude. You should bring your instrument unless you are a drum set player, in which case a drum kit will be provided (please bring your own cymbals). Double basses cannot be provided.

What Should I Expect at My Audition?

  • The session
    The audition will take place in a jam session setting. You will be in a group of about 20 students. NYU Steinhardt faculty and current students will also participate in a supportive and friendly environment. You will play, listen and call tunes. The process will last about two hours and you will be immersed the entire time.
  • Other musicians
    You will be immersed in the live audition for at least two hours. In addition, you will have the opportunity to talk to faculty and current students in a social meal setting afterward.
  • Questions
    The faculty may decide to ask you questions about your training, your experience, and your goals. This is done in an attempt to get to know you better and to take advantage of our time together. You should feel free to also ask questions to everyone you meet in order to determine if NYU Steinhardt is the right place for you.
  • Coaching and direction
    The faculty member leading any particular session may suggest that you make some adjustments, changes, or solo using a particular approach or technique. This is done in order to determine how readily and receptively you work with instruction and how well you think on your feet as a jazz artist. Just stay alert and use your common sense and you will do fine.