DJB Barklake 2018
Valencia, Spain
Cafe Mercedes
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Durham Jazz: Inspiring Durham’s next generation of jazz musicians.

The Durham Jazz Band Program is open to students from grades 6-12 and if successful will be placed in a band according to, first their skill level and second their age.  Occasionally younger/older students may be accepted.  Students in the band program with Durham Jazz  will develop their technical and musical skills, including playing increasingly complex rhythmic figures, extending their range, developing a more focused tone, developing an understanding of jazz theory, and ensemble playing.

Junior Program: Generally in their 2-3rd year of playing. Students should be able to: produce a good tone, 1-2 octave range, familiarity with rhythms and note reading, general music knowledge (terms, signs & symbols).

Intermediate Program: Generally in their 3-4th year of playing. In addition to the junior program items students should: know multiple scales, be comfortable with basic improv skills, be able to handle more complex note and rhythm combinations.

Senior Program: Generally in their 4-6th year of playing. In addition to the junior & intermediate program items students should: be working towards all 12 major scales, chromatic scale, be comfortable with more advanced improv skills, be able to handle more complex note and rhythm combinations.

This year we will be hosting VIRTUAL AUDITIONS. Students will create a video of all the audition requirements and submit a link to BEFORE end of day on Friday, September 29, 2023.

Audition Requirements

    1. Introduction
      1. To ensure proper identification, hold up a piece of paper at the start of the video listing your name and the ensemble you are auditioning for. For example: Jack Thornton, Band Program.
      2. Introduce yourself! Please say:
        1. Your name
        2. Which level you are auditioning for (ex. Band program)
        3. Which school you attend
        4. What grade you are entering into in 2023
        5. What instrument(s) you will be playing
        6. Your musical history: music activities or lessons you are or have been involved in at school or outside of school (e.g., Band, piano lessons, Cadets, other instruments you play, how long you’ve been playing, etc.)
        7. Some of your other (non-musical) hobbies
        8. Why you want to be a part of Durham Jazz
    2. Playing 
      1. Prepare a scale of your choice (multi-octave if possible)
      2. Range: Show us your range (lowest to highest note)
      3. Record yourself playing/singing Take the A Train  and if you like a piece of your choice (choose a song that best demonstrates your musical ability)  Make sure you download to correct key for your instrument
      4. OPTIONAL: Piece of your choice (your opportunity to show us something different from the audition piece)
      5. DRUMMERS:
        1. Demonstrate a swing time feel at a medium tempo (16 bars) 
        2. Optional: Include one or more of these comping figures
        3. Demonstrate a bossa nova time feel. Optional for Juniors (16 bars)
        4. Demonstrate any short groove, solo or other skill on the drum set that shows off your personal musical strengths.

Audition Look “Fors”

    1. Range
    2. Tone
    3. Technical Ability
    4. Musicality
    5. Positive Attitude

If you are auditioning for more than one program feel free to combine everything in one video.

Video guidelines

Please submit all audition requirements as a single video. You may be able to do the whole audition in one continuous video; you are also permitted to record each part of the audition separately and then combine the separate parts into a single video. Please contact us if you need assistance with this process. Note: each part of the audition should be a continuous ‘take’ – do not make edits in the middle of a piece.

Professional recordings are not required. Most smart phones will provide an adequate video.

Please test your lighting and sound (including the Blues backing track). Make sure that:

  • The video includes a clear picture of your face, your hands, and the instrument
    • Tip: avoid filming with a window behind you. This makes it hard to see your face clearly.
  • The sound is clear, without distortion.
    • Tip: experiment to find the best room and ideal distance from the camera to get the clearest, warmest tone possible.
  • The Blues backing track (if used) is audible but does not cover your sound at all.

Submitting your audition video

Upload your audition video to YouTube as an unlisted video. How to upload an unlisted video in YouTube. After uploading, a private link will be created. The video is not public, and only those with the link can view the video.

When ready, send an email to (please use an email address that you check regularly!). Include the following details:

  • The subject line of your email should read as follows:


For example: Band_JackThornton_15_Trombone

  • Paste the link to your audition video (from YouTube) into the body of the email
  • Include your name, age, instrument, school name, and grade
  • Include a contact phone number where we can reach you easily. This is in case we need to ask you further questions regarding your audition, or if we are unable to reach you by email.

The deadline for submissions is Friday, September 29, 2023. If you are intending to audition, but cannot meet this deadline, please contact us as soon as possible.

You will receive a confirmation email after you have submitted your video.

Audition results

We will contact you with the outcome of your audition by October 1st, 2023.

Audition Music Links 

Please download the part for your instrument. 

BAND AUDITION PIECE (Note: Clarinet – learn tenor sax or trumpet, baritone – learn trombone, tuba – learn bass part)

Take the A Train – Alto Sax Take the A Train – Tenor Sax Take the A Train – Bari Sax Take the A Train – Trumpet 1 Take the A Train – Trumpet 2 Take the A Train – Trombone 1 Take the A Train – Trombone 2 Take the A Train – Bass Take the A Train – Guitar Take the A Train – Piano Take the A Train – Drums


Take the A Train Audio

Best of Luck!

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