Registration is now open for our 2024-2025 Columbus Youth Jazz season! Please see below for updated audition requirements.

Auditions are announced for the 2024-2025 Columbus Youth Jazz season! Open to new and returning students grades 7 through 12, the Columbus Youth Jazz (CYJ) program is the premiere small group and large ensemble opportunity for young musicians to learn the art of jazz.

The CYJ program is made up of four big bands and several small combos, perfect for any level of jazz knowledge. Each group is run by one of our amazing Jazz Academy teaching artists who not only are highly skilled educators in Central Ohio, but also avid performers who know the ins and outs of being professional musicians!

Our Columbus youth Jazz program is completely tuition FREE and each student receives tickets to watch our professional ensemble, the Columbus Jazz Orchestra, perform at the Southern Theatre. We look forward to seeing you at the auditions, don’t forget to register!


CYJ 2024 – 2025 Audition Dates

Please note: new and returning students may register for either audition date. These auditions are intended to fill spots in both the CYJ Big Bands and Combos.

Saturday, May 4th, 10:00am – 2:00pm

  • 10:00am – 11:15am: Rhythm Section (Piano, Guitar, Bass, Drums)
  • 11:15am – 12:15pm: Brass (Trumpet, Trombone, etc.)
  • 12:15pm – 2:00pm: Saxophones (and any other reed instruments)

Saturday, May 11th, 9:00am – 1:00pm

  • 9:00am – 10:15am: Rhythm Section (Piano, Guitar, Bass, Drums)
  • 10:15am – 11:15am: Brass (Trumpet, Trombone, etc.)
  • 11:15am – 1:00pm: Saxophones (and any other reed instruments)

Audition Location:

CYJ Auditions are held at the Jazz Academy located at 769 E Long St., 4th Floor. You should enter through the double red doors you see on Long St and take the stairs or elevator to the 4th floor.

Requirements for the 2024 – 25 Season

1.) Students will be asked to play the ascending and descending concert B-Flat major scale. (Brass: two octaves if possible).

2.) Choose ONE selection from the following etudes. Students will be asked to perform the song two times through (take the repeat): First time: play the written melody, Second time: perform an improvised solo. When in doubt about improvising on the song, simply restate the melody, utilizing new rhythms and variations!

Level 1 – for beginning/intermediate instrumentalists

(based on the 12-bar blues in the key of concert F)

Level 2 – for intermediate/advanced instrumentalists

(based on Rhythm Changes)

3.) You will be asked to perform a sight reading excerpt, to be chosen by the panel based on age/skill level.

CYJ Vocal Lab Audition Requirements

All vocalists (new and returning) must audition for the CYJ Vocal Lab. Auditions will be held on Sunday, September 8th from 1:00-3:00pm. Registrants will audition in the order they arrive.

Students must perform one tune from the Great American Songbook/jazz standard repertoire or similar genre. If you are unsure if a tune is acceptable, please email the Youth Jazz team at for approval. Please note: the song you audition with will be the solo tune you will sing in Vocal Lab if selected to do so.

Scat singing/improvisation is not mandatory but highly encouraged. Please bring a lead sheet or sheet music in your key OR a backing track that you can sing along with.

Audition Advice:

We look forward to hearing you play and want you to have a successful audition and experience. As you play through your audition, we will be listening/watching for the following:

  • Your sound and tone/touch
  • Your ability to read music
  • Ability to demonstrate a jazz or swing feel
  • Knowledge of basic scales
  • Basic knowledge of counting and playing rhythms (16th notes, triplets. etc.)

Your private music instructor and/or band/choir director can be helpful to you as you prepare for this audition.