2020 Audition Guidelines

Please read all details carefully before applying.


To be eligible for the TSYJO you must…

  • be aged between 12 – 24yrs inclusive
  • improvise
  • read music
  • practice every day
  • play either Saxophone, Trumpet, Trombone, Piano, Bass, Drums, Guitar, or Sing
  • be domiciled in Scotland

Important Dates

Application deadline: 20 February 2020 
Submission of application and video by 5pm

Live auditions (time tbc if successful in stage 1)

Audition Venue

Royal Conservatoire of Scotland
Room 1.63, 100 Renfrew St
Glasgow G2 3DB

Audition Process

There are 2 stages to the TSYJO auditions:

Stage 1 – Recorded Audition Submission

The first stage is designed to assess your improvisational skills.

Submit a video of yourself performing the Anthropology by Charlie Parker with a live rhythm section or a play-a-long/minus-one backing track.

Performance of Anthropology in Bb concert, by Charlie Parker at any tempo above 170bpm [Singers may Scat the melody and alter the key to suit their range.] You must perform the Anthropology melody plus a minimum of 3 improvised choruses [AABA x 3] of improvisation.

Drummers should play the melody AABA rhythmically then play time for 1 chorus AABA then improvise 2 choruses before playing the melody rhythmically again.

Bassists should play the melody AABA then play walking time for 1 chorus AABA then improvise 2 choruses before playing the melody AABA to end the performance.

  • All improvisation is to be original
  • Performances of a transcribed solo are not permitted
  • Miming to an overdubbed recording is not permitted
  • Performances have to be performed live and in one single take

The audition video must be uploaded to a file sharing service (such as Dropbox, WeTransfer, Google Drive, Box.net etc.) or a private link on a video hosting platform (such as Vimeo or Youtube) and the link submitted together with your application.

The deadline to submit your video is 20 Feb 2020.

You may then be called for a live audition with the TSYJO.

Additional notes for vocalists only –
Anthropology Form:
Melody AABA 32 bars [Scat]
1st Chorus of Improvisation AABA 32 bars
2nd Chorus of Improvisation AABA 32 bars
3rd Chorus of Improvisation AABA 32 bars
Melody AABA 32 bars [Scat or Original Lyrics]
Total Length: 160 bars

Stage 2 – Live Audition and Sight Reading with the TSYJO at a rehearsal

If successful in Stage 1, you will be invited to audition with Tommy Smith.

Your live audition will be in 2 parts and you will perform with the TSYJO rhythm section.

  • part 1: Performance of Anthropology by Charlie Parker
  • part 2: Sight Reading

The audition room is equipped with a grand piano, drum kit, guitar / bass amps. Before your 10 minute audition, you will have an additional 10 minutes in an allocated room to warm up. NB. No drums, guitar/bass amp will be provided in the warm up room.


The following checklist will help to remind you of items you may need for your audition:

  • All acoustic and electric bass players, brass players, guitarists and
    saxophone players are required to bring their instrument to the audition.
  • Amplifiers for guitarists and bass players will be provided in the audition room
    but not in the warm up room.
  • Drummers should bring sticks and a practice pad, as the warm up room will
    not have a drum kit. A standard Jazz drum kit [bass drum, floor tom, upper
    tom, snare] with 2 cymbals and hi-hat will be provided for auditions.
    NB. double-bass pedals are not provided.  Drummers may bring own cymbals.

What Happens After Auditions?

We will contact you within 2 wks of the audition to advise you if you are being offered a place in the TSYJO.

TSYJO Information

The Tommy Smith Youth Jazz Orchestra (TSYJO) provides access for talented young jazz musicians to develop and perform on a regular basis in an exceptional youth jazz orchestra. The TSYJO attracts some of the best young jazz musicians in the country who effectively constitute the youth wing of the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra (SNJO).

Membership of the TSYJO is based only on the ability to play rather than to pay. Since we want to ensure that there is no barrier to participation, our “free for all” policy therefore requires no financial commitment from musicians or family. We reimburse costs such as

  • Travel costs, if required
  • Any accommodation costs, if required
  • Any meals, if away on tour and required to stay overnight


  • Big Band rehearsals with Tommy Smith
  • Live performances
  • Participate in studio and live recordings
  • Collaborations with special guest artists
  • Mentoring from members of the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra


  • To promote regular concerts throughout Scotland to enable the TSYJO to grow
    musically through experience of performing for live audiences
  • To stimulate the pursuit of jazz role models by imparting inspiration and
    opportunities for young musicians to express themselves on a public stage
  • To tour with the best young jazz musicians in Scotland and reach out to other
    promising gifted young musicians in schools throughout Scotland to give an
    incentive for students to perceive and pursue higher goals and visions in the jazz language
  • To continue to integrate a variety of special guests from the professional SNJO
    and other experienced jazz artists into the youth jazz orchestra in order to inspire, mentor and coach the young musicians to higher levels of achievement
  • To create and promote large scale educational projects, concerts and recordings that involve amateur Scottish jazz musicians from the SNJO’s youth wing alongside professional musicians from the SNJO and special guests

The TSYJO Jazz vision embraces…

  • Pursuit of artistic excellence and experimentation
  • Perpetuation of orchestral Jazz and accessibility
  • Promotion of public understanding and appreciation of Jazz
  • Performance of original and historic music
  • Creative learning to inspire
  • Jazz for all