Undergraduate Performance Barriers

Jazz Performance Barriers are held at the end of Sophomore and Junior years and used as check points for continued study in the B.M. in Jazz Studies degree program.  Barrier exams are approximately 40 minutes in length.

(NOTE: Memorization and successful performance of 12 songs during the Freshman Year is required of all students before study at the MUP 200 level.   Additional proficiencies for advancement to the 200 level may be required by the individual studio.)

Sophomore Performance Barrier  |  Junior Performance Barrier  |  Junior Arranging Barrier

Barrier Criteria
The following criteria are used to determine if a student passes their barriers:

1) Performance at the Barrier Exam
.        a. Checklist of factors
.             i. Time/Feel
.                1. Strong 8th note feel
.                2. Articulations and accents
.                3. Steady/internalized time
.            ii. Sound/Range/Technique
.                1. Characteristic jazz sound
.                2. Comfort in playing in typical instrumental ranges
.                3. Proper instrumental technique
.                4. Good pitch
.            iii. Performance of melodies
.                1. Reference to recorded presentations of such by jazz artists
.                2. “Artistic” presentation of melodies
.            iv. Ease of use of jazz vocabulary
.            v. Comfort w/ performance of a variety of tempos/feels
.                1. Ballads
.                2. Moderate tempos/2 beats
.                3. Up tempos
.                4. Swing and straight 8th feels
.           vi. Ability to highlight harmonic motion
.                1. V7 (b9) to Is
.                2. Turnarounds
.                3. Mode changes
.      b. Checklist of non-factors
.            i. Student dress
.                1. Jazz hats
.                2. Jazz gloves
2) Student progress prior to the barrier
3) Student’s work ethic – commitment to studio and classroom instruction
4) Potential of the student to meet future degree requirements