OUJO holds general auditions at the beginning of each academic year for the following instruments: trumpet, trombone, alto tenor and baritone saxophones, flute, piano, bass, guitar, drums, and auxiliary percussion. The beginning of Michaelmas term is by far the best time to apply to audition for the group, but we are open to approaches at all times and, although unusual, spaces may become available at any point during the year.
In the case that we have been unable to offer you a place and a space becomes available, we may contact you later in the year to suggest re-auditioning for the band.
Most chairs in OUJO are taken by students and alumni of Oxford University, but we can also offer a limited number of places to non-university members.
What will you be looking for?
Auditions are based solely on musical merit. We expect auditionees to be around grade 8 standard, although no formal qualifications are required. Jazz experience is beneficial, but we are also keen to hear from classical players who want to broaden their horizons.
We will be aiming to get some idea of your sight-reading, as well as your general technical ability. We will also be looking for overall musicianship, such as your feel for the music and how well you respond to feedback and suggestions.
How does the audition work?
The auditions will be in three parts. Firstly, we ask you to prepare and play a short piece of your choice which you feel best demonstrated your technical facility and stylistic awareness. You will then be asked to do some sight reading, and , if you wish, to do some solo improvisation in whatever style and over whatever chords suits you best. We encourage you to do this, and whatever you do will not affect the assessment of your ability as a section player, but this part is entirely optional.
Singers will be asked to prepare a piece of their choosing. If you wish, you may use a backing track, and we can provide piano chords. We will have a chat about your experiences, and, if you like, may get you to do some scat improvisation.
There will be two or three musicians from the Orchestra present. One of us, usually the most familiar with your instrument, will do most of the talking.
Your audition will take around ten minutes. We’ll chat a bit about your experience and anything else you’d like to bring up. We’ll also do our best to accommodate any request, such as a metronome click when you’re playing, or a different order for the audition that would suit you better. We will aim to inform you of the result of your audition by Sunday evening.
Help, I’m nervous!
It’s okay – we know! Auditions are intimidating and nerve-racking, even for accomplished jazz players who are perfectly happy playing in a band in front of hundreds of people. We do try to be informal and supportive, and we make allowances for nerves and the artificiality of the situation, so just do your best under the circumstances.
Rehearsals for OUJO take place on Wednesday nights, 7-10pm, in the Music Faculty. If you agree to play in the band, you must be able to commit to all rehearsals and gigs.