Jazz Instrumental Music (winds/strings/brass/piano/percussion)

The Jazz Division is designed to create not only a proficient jazz performer, but a well-educated and literate musician. Students are taught scales, chord vocabulary, and fundamental stylistic elements of various periods of jazz through specific repertoire of jazz literature. Students are expected to memorize a minimum of five songs with solos each semester and perform these works in a combo setting in the weekly student performance class. Also, students are taught via books, handouts, famous recordings, performance videos, and various guest artist workshops about the great jazz artists and their significant contributions to jazz history. Students also learn about the masterworks of classical music and study comparisons in the various styles.

Audition Expectations: 

At the audition: it is strongly recommended that all students first attend the NOCCA Jazz Audition Information Session before attempting the official NOCCA Jazz audition.

Students who audition for NOCCA are expected to be able to do ALL of the following:

1. ALL students should have been studying PRIVATE MUSIC LESSONS for ONE FULL YEAR with a QUALIFIED  jazz instructor to have the necessary skills required to pass the NOCCA audition.

2. Play the melody and improvise with the blues scale over a basic 12-bar blues form. Pianists and guitarists should know some basic jazz chord voicings. Students may choose one of following blues tunes or another similar blues tune: St. Louis Blues  (F Blues) Tenor Madness (Bb) Blue Monk (Bb), Second Line (Bb Blues) Sonny Moon for Two (Bb Blues) Now’s the Time (F Blues) etc. Students may prepare a more advanced jazz tune if they wish, but at the very least they must be able to improvise over the basic 12-bar blues form.

3. Play and spell major scales, minor scales, (preferably dorian) and dominant 7th scales (preferably mixolydian)  EVENLY and ACCURATELY with PROPER FINGERINGS in keys up to 3 flats and 3 sharps. (C, F, Bb, Eb, G, D, A)

4. Play ARPEGGIOS for major, minor (preferably dorian) and dominant 7th chords

EVENLY and ACCURATELY with PROPER FINGERINGS in keys up to 3 sharps and 3 flats (C, F, Bb, Eb, G, D, A)

5. Solid knowledge of key signatures, music theory, and basic diatonic intervals for keys up to 3 sharps and 3 flats (C, F, Bb, Eb, G, D, A.) Notes in BOTH clefs.

6. Ability to sight-read a simple melody accurately with correct rhythm and intonation. (All students, all instruments. Tab reading is NOT accepted.)

7. Know how to sight-read and play basic rhythm patterns accurately (basic 8th note and simple 16th note patterns, including basic time signatures)

8. Be able to match pitches and short melodic patterns by ear (from the piano or CD)  and play them back on your instrument accurately and relatively quickly.

Drummers must also be responsible for all of the above requirements and will be asked to play scales and find notes on the piano by ear. It is strongly recommended that drummers have some experience playing the piano or some other melodic instrument. All students at NOCCA study music theory and drummers must be able to fulfill these requirements at the same level as every other student. Drummers who cannot fulfill these minimum requirements at the audition will not be admitted into the program.

Students currently in 8-11th grades are eligible to apply.