#1
I saw this advert on my school's crappy little announcement broadcast saying that the jazz band is starting up, and have spots open for guitar, electric bass, and upright bass. I thought that was rad, because as far as I know, they previously only had the electric bass.

The only thing that makes me somewhat hesitant is the fact that I'm just beginning to get into theory and reading musical notation as opposed to tab, etc. The hesitation kind of comes from the part of me that doesn't like when one person will not really know what they're doing and takes up the time, etc.

I mean, I can tell you what a note is if you hand me some music, but the other thing would be the complication (for me, at least), of the multiple positions for a given note and all that. For that reason, I was thinking of going for the upright bass as opposed to guitar (I'll disregard that there is another bassist I'm friends with that would kick my ass at a regular bass...).


Anyway, that's just me talking out of confusion. How much music theory/sight reading ability do you think would be expected of someone considering joining a school jazz band?
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#2
Well it depends on your school jazz band. If it's a band that's good and plays at competitions and what not, I would doubt you have the ability to be in there. Guitar is usually easier than bass in a jazz band, because you just look at the chord indicator at the top of each measure (or phrase) and play that chord, as opposed to playing, usually, a walking bass line, which requires at least decent sightreading skill. Good luck.
#3
you should be able to sight read well enough to play a peice after going over it a few times. you should also know basic theory including scales, intervals, key signatures, etc.
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#4
You need to pretty much know every scale, every mode in different positions. Including the blues scale. Diminished is handy, as well as whole-tone, but they don't care about those usually. All of this in two octaves. It's easy if you teach yourself where the notes are on the 6th string, and how to do every mode in one position. After that just move it around the 6th string for what they ask. If you're in standard and they ask for G Mixolydian, play the Mixolydian scale in two octaves on the third fret 6th string. A, 5th fret. E, 12th. So on so forth.

Other than that, you need to be able to read music and chord charts. You NEED good rhythm skills. That was the main reason I got in over the other guy (well... we're both in, but it's a long story). And practice, practice, practice the music they give you to play. Check if it's in cut-time or not before you do. That was my mistake XD Know how to improvise in the separate modes and scales as well. If it's anything like mine, you'll have improvisation sections.

But go for it if you're up to it. It's not bad at all. :]
#5
Thanks.

Well, I've never played upright, but I've always wanted to learn, and I haven't been able to find any lessons around. I don't know how many competitions (if any) they do, but I know that if you join you're obligated to go to concerts (no big deal at all), and then perhaps play the annual festival of the arts. I actually hadn't even thought of the chord indicator. I guess as long as that's there and there aren't a **** load of diminished chords, it should be fine.
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#6
Yea you do get quite a few funky chords (at least to me they are). I can't sightread for guitar but my instructor cares more about the guys playing trumpet/sax etc. that have more lead parts so I basically get up to the concert to learn. Guess that means we're not as good as other bands
#7
Yeah, the focus seems to be away from guitar for the most part. If they give me a piece, I would probably practice it constantly just because that's how I play at home. I know the fret board pretty well, the only kind of doubt I would have is just a pause lasting a little bit for my memory, etc.

The scales wouldn't be a big problem either, I'll practice whatever. The only thing I'm concerned about is the music reading factor. I'll try to talk to him after school if he's there just about what's been in this thread and everything.

I don't really know anyone else that would be the jazz guitarist. Only a couple of my friends have any interest in he genre, and neither really play in it often (one just does a lot of rockabilly/psychobilly/surf).
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#8
To make this simple, you need (at my school, at least)

Ability to read music
Knowledge of Ionian, Mixolydian, and Dorrian Modes
Knowledge of all Major, Minor, 7, m7, Maj7, 9 chords and/or ability to read chord diagrams
Ability to solo over a set of chords
Last edited by Souls United at Jan 15, 2009,
#9
If you play upright, your role will be much more important than the guitar. Charts will have ALOT of reading, as you will often be reading written out basslines and parts. You lay down the foundation for the whole band, and together with the drummer, keep the time. It really depends on how serious the music program at your school is. If you decided to play guitar, you could get away with not playing written out lines because you rarely have single note lines that are exclusive to the guitar. Also, the whole band does not rely on you unlike with the upright.
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#10
You should join. My first jazz band class was today, and I completely suck at sight-reading. (I play guitar in it). Even if you're very horrible at guitar (which I assume that you're at least decent) you should join. You won't get in trouble for not being able to read something or play something, so in the long run it can only help you. Imo, the only prerequisites are:
1. knowing how to play your instrument (duh)
2. knowing how to read music (you don't have to be very great, others will help and UG can always help)
3. the willingness to learn and practice.

Go for it, man. By looking at your profile you have a large variety of music you like, so learning new scales and music notation should be exciting for you.

Good luck.
#11
I'm auditioning for my school's jazz band on Tuesday for my senior year- wish I'd joined earlier :| . If the band is represented at all by the audition requirements, then I'm set.
Basically, I have to talk to the band instructor, play a 12 bar blues (I'll probably do 3, just for fun - one with normals triads, one with 7ths, and one with 9ths <3), play a prepared piece (Pink Floyd's "Is There Anybody Out There", at a pretty good tempo, maybe 200 bpm), and a short improv session.
Shouldn't be too bad.
#12
Quote by LaminatedPig
I'm auditioning for my school's jazz band on Tuesday for my senior year- wish I'd joined earlier :| . If the band is represented at all by the audition requirements, then I'm set.
Basically, I have to talk to the band instructor, play a 12 bar blues (I'll probably do 3, just for fun - one with normals triads, one with 7ths, and one with 9ths <3), play a prepared piece (Pink Floyd's "Is There Anybody Out There", at a pretty good tempo, maybe 200 bpm), and a short improv session.
Shouldn't be too bad.


wow that sounds extremely easy for a jazz band audition. i didn't get the spot on jazz band because i can't sight read that well. im better and know more theory than the guy who got the spot too
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#13
Hmm, I guess I'm the lucky one here. You don't have to audition at my school. If we did have to I probably wouldn't make it because I couldn't sight-read to save my life. But I'd be the only one to audition anyway.
#14
The thing about it is you don't have to be good, you just have to suck less than everyone else. Which usually is a fairly tall order, but we're talking jazz here. High-school aged jazz musicians are pretty damn rare these days. Anyway, I recommend:

Chord voicings for all your basic sevenths(major, minor, m7b5, diminished, dominant)as well as major and minor 6ths, maybe some altered dominants(7#5, that sorta thing) and you should be able to survive. I'd personally go with at least one voicing for each chord with the root on the A and D strings.

You might be asked to sight read a line or two, but it won't be a huge factor because as a guitarist your job will be to just pump out chords. Don't worry about it.
#15
Quote by funkbass369
wow that sounds extremely easy for a jazz band audition. i didn't get the spot on jazz band because i can't sight read that well. im better and know more theory than the guy who got the spot too


Yeah I know, I heard about the audition a week or two ago and I think I'll get the spot if I do something like play an Fmaj7/Amin7 over a Dmin7, that should impresses Mr. Band Guy.
Weird though that you didn't get the spot, my school's band had two guitarists last year and neither knew much theory/note reading.
#16
Well thanks for all the responses guys!

I didn't get a chance to talk to the teacher at the end of school, but the next meeting is the next Tuesday, so I'll see him there. There is also another guitarist, apparently. I don't know how good she is, but I've seen her in my French teacher's room showing her friend that she could play Day Tripper.

I wouldn't call myself an amazing player, but I'm definitely not an amateur (in terms of ability to play, not profession of course).

I was wondering, do you think it would matter what I play in an audition, assuming there is one? I mean, I could easily do some Brian Setzer or RHH, or something to that degree.
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#17
I never had an audition, there was only one other person that wanted to play guitar so we have 2 now :S (guess you could say I got in with senority). I used to play the sax but I switched to guitar because I like it better.

Something you may want to know if you get it is that you hardly ever play ALL the notes in a chord. I usually take 3 notes out of the chord that blend best with what everyone else is playing and what makes it easier for me. (Thirds and sevenths seem to be good ones). Also, I kind of just improvise off of what is given to me to make it sound better...can't really go wrong with jazz. Also play louder when you get those written notes in fills between phrases/when you play the lead part with the band. I have yet to have a solo...

Good luck
#18
Don't worry about having "session musician" type abilities. The teacher will most likely give you a few tunes to work on that you can spend a lot of time on. It can be a great experience and also a fire under your rear to get you working hard. Nothing wrong with that, that's what makes great musicians. Good Luck!! Have fun.
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#19
I play guitar for my schools jazz band sometimes as well( My director's a big fan of glen miller which means, few guitar parts)

I dont have a ton of experience here but number one thing i've encountered is chords, chords, adn chords, you'lll maybe have 10-20 measures of actual notes depending upon the song, and the rest will be chord symbols, and those 10-20 measures will be easy for you to memorize if you aren't that hot at sight reading.
#20
jazz bands, lol

u need to know: major scales, mixolydian, blues. also the moveable shapes for these chords, maj7, min7, dominant 7 (just called 7) and possibly 13, 9, not only with a root on the 6th string, but also the shapes with the root on the 5th string.

sight reading is good but don't practice it until you can do all the stuff above.

you might get really bored in jazz too.

usually you can solo in blues but mix it up to impress your teacher.

this is what i know from my 3 years of j.b.
#21
If your going for guitar fine, but if you seriously think you could just pickup a double bass and sight read i'd reconsider.
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#22
Oh, no, I wouldn't pick up an upright and expect to be the next Bill Black; I thought it would be a hell of a good time to play/learn.

I've got my 7 and 9 chords down, so I'll look the rest up. I found an old little beginner's book with notation only, and so I'm relearning music. I can sight-read fairly simple single-note lines on all strings but the sixth right now (I'm just going through the book again, it starts at the high E and adds from there).

Are there any other good little beginner books that I can get for fairly cheap, preferably notation only? Otherwise, I'll just end up looking at the tab. I have the first book in the "I'm In The Band" thing by Dave Clo. Decent, I guess, I got it for lessons around the time I started (like a year later I think)

I emailed the teacher just now, so hopefully I can get some information on what to work on specifically.

I was thinking of Stray Cat Strut for an audition piece, and I have that down already. Think that's a pretty good audition piece or should I look around?

Thanks again for all the replies!
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#23
Learn a simple jazz tune man. If a student came to me auditioning for jazz band and played a song like that, I'd probably feel obligated to smack them (but then I'd lose my certification.)

Learn Autumn Leaves or something, even a blues like Freddie Freeloader or Tenor Madness. Just something that proves you know at least a very basic amount of jazz stuff. Also if it's for a school jazz band, learn about Freddie Green style comping (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_3a1-ay2tnE) as it is THE STANDARD for rhythm guitar in a big band context. (It's simple, just comp on every quarter note of the bar...well okay it's more complex than that, but beginners get the easy version.)
#24
Quote by Guitar_Theory
Learn a simple jazz tune man. If a student came to me auditioning for jazz band and played a song like that, I'd probably feel obligated to smack them (but then I'd lose my certification.)

Learn Autumn Leaves or something, even a blues like Freddie Freeloader or Tenor Madness. Just something that proves you know at least a very basic amount of jazz stuff. Also if it's for a school jazz band, learn about Freddie Green style comping (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_3a1-ay2tnE) as it is THE STANDARD for rhythm guitar in a big band context. (It's simple, just comp on every quarter note of the bar...well okay it's more complex than that, but beginners get the easy version.)


Lol, Autumn Leaves?
DO something cooler than that.. Like Black Orpheus or Take Five
Something you can have fun with and turn into your own. Black Orpheus is pretty cool, 'cause you can make it funk, turn it to a classical style piece... look up different versions of it.

Also look at Scoffeild's version of All The Things You Are :P
#25
im confused here. we dont compete but my guitarist doesnt get a chord sheet. he has to know how to construct chords.... with suspended, diminished, major, minor and all these other chords. with 9 11 and 13 as well. dont really understand that much though. and for bass we just have to be able to read music and have a bass. for upright at my school either they know i get music quick or you dont have 2 have experience playing upright at all...
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#26
know your:

-key signatures
-time signatures
-characteristics of jazz music (especially for guitar)
#27
Quote by mdwallin
Lol, Autumn Leaves?
DO something cooler than that.. Like Black Orpheus or Take Five
Something you can have fun with and turn into your own. Black Orpheus is pretty cool, 'cause you can make it funk, turn it to a classical style piece... look up different versions of it.

Also look at Scoffeild's version of All The Things You Are :P


Well I said Autumn Leaves because it's an easy tune to get a basic grasp of.

Also it's a pretty hip tune once you really get into it. My group and I play it all the time and have really turned the harmony inside out. Also we like to mess with the style, we played it as a bolero at one of our last concerts. Started out with the bass, then drums, then the sax player quoted that piece from Carmen that everyone knows, then we played the A section as a bolero then blistered into some real groovy swing.
#28
I've heard so many weird and interesting versions of Autumn Leaves and they're all great.


I agree with guitar theory. Better play autumn leaves well than stumble all the way through all the things you are.
#29
Quote by Confusius
I've heard so many weird and interesting versions of Autumn Leaves and they're all great.


Is there a "definitive" version for guys like me wanting to check out jazz standards?
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#30
The one to check out is on Cannonball Adderly's Somethin' Else.

After that, if you pick up Miles' Plugged Nickel set (it's bloody expensive but worth every penny, you can lose yourself in it for weeks) there's a far out take in there.
#31
I thought that was a pretty good song to just show ability, etc., but I'll check out Autumn Leaves. I was planning on getting a jazz guitar book just to help speed things along.

I could probably try my original idea, seeing as the teacher has been taking 80's rock songs and turning them into marching band numbers. I think this year he did My Sharona, Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap and a few others.
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