Welcome to the SYJO's 2020-2021 Audition Signup Page!

Calling all jazz instrumentalists aged 14 - 21

Announcing Auditions for the 2020-2021 Saskatoon Youth Jazz Orchestra

We are delighted to announce that the 2020-21 season of the Saskatoon Youth Jazz Orchestra will go forward!

With the support and assistance of the Board of Directors of both the Saskatoon Jazz Orchestra and the Saskatoon Concert Band, plans have been made to once again offer this opportunity to young musicians from Saskatoon and area with necessary precautions and protocols in place to help ensure the health and safety of participants. The current Reopen Saskatchewan guidelines for music requiring a space of 4 meters distance between players can be met within the rehearsal space at the John H. Schoen Rehearsal Hall by having the ensemble initially meet as two separate groups [ie. saxes & rhythm section as one group; trumpets & trombones as a second group]. Any/all performance opportunities are of course TBA, and will be based on evolving SHA guidelines as we move forward in the “new normal”.

SYJO auditions will take place Thursday, September 17 & Friday, 18 from 5:00 – 7:30 p.m, and on Saturday, September 19 from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. at the Rehearsal Hall located at 238 Ave. V North in Saskatoon.

All those auditioning will be contacted by email to confirm their audition time and date, as well as regarding whether or not their audition was successful in securing a spot in this season’s group.

Weekly rehearsals will begin on Saturday, September 26, at the Saskatoon Concert Band Hall, 238 Avenue V North.  Demonstrated commitment to weekly rehearsals from 9:45 a.m. to noon from September 26 until July 1, 2021 is an expectation. [Please note that until we move to 2 metre distancing, the band will rehearse as follows: saxophones & rhythm section from 10:00 – 11:15; {15 min. break for sanitizing}; trumpets & trombones from 11:30 until 12:45.] Those with attendance problems may be asked to withdraw from the group.  We’re looking for students who will demonstrate commitment to rehearsals and performances 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, should such a program exist in their school.

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 $300.00 for the full season (end of September to the first of July).

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:


A chromatic scale legato tongued over your playing range, ascending and descending. Pick a tempo that demonstrates your technique.


Perform a prepared jazz study or one of your parts that you have performed in the past (at least 16, but no more than 32 bars in length). Try to select a passage which showcases your abilities.


Required Excerpt: all players (except drummers) will be asked to perform the one page Required Excerpt at a tempo of 138 beats per minute. A good guide for listening/practicing this is to play the YouTube recording below but alter the playback speed (in the settings) to 0.75. While you will be asked/expected to play the excerpt at the slower tempo of 138 beats per minute, you will be invited (and are encouraged) to play it a second time at a faster/performance tempo of 180 beats per minute in order to display your technique.

Please View/Download the Required Excerpt sheet music below

Click here for the Treble Clef version if you play Piano, Guitar or Vibes.
Click here for the Bb version if you play Tenor Sax or Trumpet.
Click here for the Eb version if you play Alto or Bari Sax.
Click here for the Bass Clef version if you play Trombone or Bass.


For All Players

In addition to performing the Required Excerpt, show us your soloing ability by improvising and jamming along to the Blues Enclosure Improv / Jam Track (MP3) below. 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.

Download the Blues Enclosure chord progression for your instrument below

Click here for the Treble Clef version if you play Piano, Guitar or Vibes.
Click here for the Bb version if you play Tenor Sax or Trumpet.
Click here for the Eb version if you play Alto or Bari Sax.
Click here for the Bass Clef version if you play Trombone or Bass.

You may wish to solo/improvise along with this jam track using only a concert Bb blues scale OR you can use the chord sheet to show your ability to make the changes, if you are at that level in your understanding/ability.

Pianists, Guitarists, and Vibraphonists:

In addition to the above, can you create an accompaniment or “comp” for a chorus or two, demonstrating voicings for the chord symbols/progression in the Blues Enclosure Exercise above?


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


Can you perform the Basic Swing Pattern exercises found here (PDF) repeating each line before going on to the next one? Can you do this at a medium tempo? Can you also play this at a faster/upbeat tempo?

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.


Finally, there will be a 36 bar sight reading excerpt for all players in medium swing style.

Audition Signup

    Thursday, September 17Friday, September 18Saturday, September 19

    About the SYJO

    The Saskatoon Jazz Orchestra is proud to have launched the first season of the Saskatoon Youth Jazz Orchestra in early 2017, and will continue to engage with young jazz musicians in Saskatoon for each of the SJO’s regular seasons.

    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 is directed by Nick Fanner.

    The SYJO @ Quance Theatre, University of Saskatchewan, Dec. 1, 2019

    Photos courtesy of Media Production, University of Saskatchewan