Placement recordings, audition recordings, and theory placement evaluations

Placement and audition procedures have been updated for 2020. See details below for how to prepare for next summer!

PLACEMENT RECORDINGS are required of all summer program participants.

Click here to download the instructions for creating and submitting your placement recording.

2020 Placement Evaluation Instructions (for website)

  • All instrumentalists registered for Jazz Camp, the Jazz Camp Package, the Jazz Camp Advanced Package, and Jazz Institute must submit Placement recordings. Our faculty will use these recordings to assess your level of experience playing jazz and create a class schedule that will give you the information and experience you need to take your playing to the next level.
  • Vocalists registered for Jazz Camp do not need to submit Placement recordings. All vocalists registered for Jazz Institute are required to submit an Audition recording to determine acceptance to the program.
  • Please note that Placement recordings are not the same as Audition recordings. Registered students under the age of 18 for the Advanced Package and Jazz Institute programs (including vocalists, of all ages) are required to submit Audition recordings to determine acceptance to those programs. If you have submitted an Audition recording, you may choose to use the same recording for your Placement, or you may choose to submit an additional Placement recording.

Giant Steps Day Camp and Giant Steps Package instrumentalists will be evaluated in person at Stanford University on June 20th and 21st 2020. We’ll contact you once you’ve registered to schedule a time for your placement evaluation. If you cannot attend our in-person evaluations, you can submit a Placement recording online.


Deadlines to submit your placement recording will be determined individually. SJW accepts registrations for all programs until the start date of each program.

AUDITION RECORDINGS are required for Jazz Institute and Advanced Package participants only if:

  • you’re an instrumentalist age 17 or younger OR
  • you’re a vocalist of any age
  • AND
  • you’re applying to Jazz Institute for the first time ever (ages 17 or younger) OR
  • you’re applying to the Advanced Package program for the first time ever (ages 17 or younger).

We use audition recordings to determine whether applicants are admitted to Jazz Institute or the Advanced Package program.

Click here to download the instructions for creating and submitting your audition recording.

2017 Audition Recording Instructions PDF (for website) - JI


Deadlines to submit your Audition recording will be determined individually. For best results, plan on submitting your audition within two weeks of registering for Jazz Institute or the Advanced Package.

Registration Deposit

A registration deposit is required in order to apply to Jazz Institute and Advanced Package. Please note, this deposit is refundable if you are not accepted into the program based on your audition.

MUSIC THEORY PLACEMENT evaluations are required of all Jazz Camp, Jazz Camp Package, and Advanced Package participants.

  • For appropriate placement in jazz music theory classes during Jazz Camp, we require all participants for Jazz Camp, Jazz Camp Package, and Advanced Package to take an online music theory evaluation. Click here to take the online music theory evaluation.
    Jazz Camp students (including Jazz Camp Week 1, Jazz Camp Week 2, Jazz Camp Package, and Advanced Package students) will attend theory classes to learn about jazz harmony and music theory in general. We offer classes for all levels of theory experience, from beginners with no theory knowledge to advanced students. In order to place everyone in the right classes, students will need to fill out an online Theory Evaluation.

    Drummers are not required to complete the online theory evaluation unless they want to be placed in a class that deals with traditional jazz harmony and theory. Drummers who don’t complete the evaluation will be assigned to Drum Theory, a class that explores the relationship between drums and other instruments in an ensemble setting. Drum Theory addresses topics like how to keep a song’s form, how to “lock in’ with a bassist and create a groove, and how to interact musically with other players in the ensemble. Drummers who would prefer to study harmony and other areas of jazz theory should complete the online theory evaluation.

    The theory evaluation should take about 20 minutes. Please remember that it’s not a contest – just a way for our faculty to assess what you already know and what you need to learn next. Please don’t look for information or help online or in theory books while completing the evaluation, since this can lead to inaccurate class placement. If you’re unfamiliar with these topics, just do the best you can and don’t worry. Coming to Jazz Camp will enable you to learn more!

    The theory placement evaluation will cover the following topics:

  • Note and rhythm identification
  • Major scales and key signatures
  • Intervals
  • Triads
  • Seventh chords
  • Modal and non-major scales
  • Chord function and progressions

Questions? Please don’t hesitate to contact our Camp Director, Steven Lugerner, at x309 or by e-mail at