Jazz Pre-Auditioning

Applications for Jazz at Trinity Laban have rapidly increased in recent years and some applicants, while talented are not necessarily ready for entry to a course of intense study at a centre of musical excellence. Timing is everything, as we attempt to match what the courses offer to your own development. If you are unsure of what we mean, please read this with a teacher or parent.

Below are some questions that we hope will assist you in deciding whether you are ready to apply for a jazz course at Trinity Laban right now.  The questions below are useful to all jazz applicants ie, BMus, Masters and the Independent Study Programme.

Most of the previous successful applicants can answer yes to most to nearly all of the following:

  • Do you have a jazz teacher?
  • Have you discussed your application with a music teacher?
  • Does your teacher support your application?
  • Have you had experience of improvisation?
  • Have you had improvisation lessons?
  • Do you know any jazz repertoire from memory?
  • Do you play in a jazz ensemble regularly?
  • Have you ever transcribed an improvised solo, either writing it out or learning it by heart from the recording?
  • Have you had a consultation lesson with an experienced jazz teacher?

In addition, we also provide a free pre-audition for all jazz applicants.  Even if you are not applying for entry this year but are considering pursing jazz at conservatoire level in the future, please read on.

Jazz Pre-Auditioning

We are now offering the opportunity for applicants to submit a recording for assessment by a member of our Jazz department prior to deciding whether to apply on UCAS Conservatoires.  This is not compulsory, but is advisable if you are unsure if you are ready for a conservatoire audition. 

Why Submit A Recording?

Auditions can be costly and for some people stressful too. There is huge competition for places and every year the number of applications increase.  Submitting a recording for pre-audition will give you an indication whether you should go ahead and apply via UCAS Conservatoires at this point in your development, or perhaps wait for a year, gain more experience and receive some more tuition etc.  Please note that detailed feedback cannot be provided for this service but we can give you some indication.

What Are The Outcomes Likely After Submitting A Recording?

We are likely to recommend one of four options:

  • Apply via UCAS with a view to attending a live audition
  • Consider having a consultation lesson with one of our teachers, or go back to your own teacher to discuss your application plans
  • Consider attending the Trinity Jazz Summer School
  • Further information required from you

Please note that we will not be able to provide detailed feedback, or enter into correspondence with you regarding your playing, we will simply provide you with a recommendation which you can choose to follow, or not, based on your performance.

How Can I Submit A Recording?

You can upload recordings via Decision Desk. You will need to create an account, but it shouldn't take too long.

What Should The Recording Consist Of?

Two pieces of your choice: we advise that the pieces:

  • if possible, are played from memory (melody and improvised sections)
  • are contrasting (ie, tempo, feel)
  • demonstrate your jazz skills ie, improvising, playing 'good time'/groove (in the case of rhythm section players)
  • must be in a small group setting with either live musicians or play-along (ie, Jamey Aebersold)
  • last no longer than 15 minutes in total

A video of a recent performance is acceptable, although you are advised that we will only listen to a maximum of two tunes/15 minutes.

What If I Do Not Agree With The Recommendation Following The Submission Of My Recording?

We will not stop you from auditioning or applying and any live audition you attend will be without prejudice. We will simply offer you a recommendation at this stage based on your recording. You can choose whether you follow this recommendation or not.

Is There A Charge For Submitting A Recording?

As pre-auditioning is not compulsory, there is not a charge for this service.  However, please note that audition fees on UCAS are non-refundable.

Anything Else I Should Know?

Submitting a recording for pre-screening does not replace the need to apply for a live audition via UCAS Conservatoires. The jazz pre-audition is voluntary for those who are not sure if they are ready for conservatoire training.

International students and applicants who are not able to attend a live audition should still follow the main audition guidelines.

The recommendation you receive from us will relate specifically to your application to Trinity Laban. We will not comment on your suitability to apply elsewhere.

Where Can I Ask More Questions About This?
Please email [email protected].

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