The Saskatoon Youth Jazz Orchestra

Calling all jazz instrumentalists aged 14 - 21

Announcing auditions for the Saskatoon Youth Jazz Orchestra

Here’s your chance to audition for an exciting new ensemble.

Individual scheduled auditions will take place the evening of Friday, January 20 and the morning of Saturday, January 21.

All those auditioning will be contacted by email regarding whether or not their audition was successful in securing a spot in this season’s group.

Weekly rehearsals will begin on Saturday, February 4 in Media Production’s Studio B located in the lower level of the Education Building on the U of S campus. Demonstrated commitment to weekly rehearsals from 9:45 a.m. to noon from February until the end of June is an expectation. We’re looking for students who will demonstrate commitment to rehearsals and “shedding” (practicing parts outside of rehearsal) in order to make this experience as musically rewarding as it can be.

It must also be stated that while not all schools offer jazz band opportunities for students, it is an expectation that in order to be a member of the SYJO, members of this ensemble must be contributing members of their school’s jazz program.

In short, if you’re a strong musician with a great attitude, both groups can benefit from your participation.

Note that while there is no charge for auditioning, successful candidates will be asked to pay a registration fee of $125 for this season (start of February to the end of June).

Audition Requirements


Don’t let the idea of an audition scare you; we just want to hear you play and get a sense of where you’re at. To that end, the audition will involve the following:

  1. A chromatic scale legato tongued over your playing range, ascending and descending. Pick a tempo that demonstrates your technique.
  2. Perform a prepared jazz study or one of your parts that your high school jazz band performed this year (at least 16, but no more than 32 bars in length). Try to select a passage which showcases your abilities.

Blue Monk

  1. Improvise/jam along/solo to the following blues in Bb online practice track for Blue Monk CLICK HERE
    Again, don’t let this scare you, you may not be an experienced improviser; we just want to know where you’re at on your musical journey.
  2. Either commit the melody to memory or bring in the sheet music for Blue Monk and play it. It can be found at the following link: CLICK HERE

You want the version in Bb if you play Piano, Guitar or Vibes.
You want the version in C if you play Tenor Sax or Trumpet.
You want the version in G if you play Alto or Bari Sax.
You want the bass clef version if you play Trombone or Bass.

You are advised to “go to the source” and listen to the following recording, copying the way tenor saxophonist Charlie Rouse plays it.

Pianists, Guitarists, and Vibraphonists:

In addition to the above, can you “comp” or accompany for a chorus or two, demonstrating voicings that use chord tones and rhythmic accompaniment for a soloist?


In addition to the above, can you demonstrate a chorus or two of walking bass lines over this blues progression that show your ability to create a bass line from chord symbols?

Bonus: Could you create a bass line for a “Latin”/bossa nova version of Blue Monk?


Can you play/interpret the melody for Blue Monk on the drums while playing swing time on the ride/hi hat?

Demonstrate any/all of the following time keeping styles:  medium swing beat, up tempo swing beat, [opt. slow swing using brushes], shuffle, Bossa Nova, any other Latin style(s) with which you are familiar.

For All Players

Finally, there will be a short (16 bars maximum) sight reading excerpt for all players in medium swing style.

Audition Signup

Friday, January 20 from 6:00 pm onward Saturday, January 21 from 10:00 am onward 

About the SYJO

The Saskatoon Jazz Orchestra is proud to announce that beginning in January 2017, we will be launching the Saskatoon Youth Jazz Orchestra, or SYJO.

The board of directors of the Saskatoon Jazz Orchestra is committed to ensuring this musical art form is carried forward by providing an opportunity for aspiring and committed young players from Saskatoon and area to work together to pursue musical excellence.

The SYJO will run throughout the academic year. Even though the first season involves only half of the current school year, the group will still perform on several dates, including:

  • March 26, 2017
  • April 30, 2017
  • And possibly at the 2017 Jazz Festial

The SYJO is directed by Nick Fanner.