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Each year in March, Jazz Pensacola hosts our annual Student Jazz Competition for middle, high, and college students throughout the region. Students submit a recorded piece for consideration by the judges, then finalists from each division will perform in the live finals. Cash prizes are awarded for first, second, and third place in each division. 


Information for Students:

You are invited to compete in the 2024 Student Jazz Competition. The divisions are College Instrumental, High School Instrumental and Jazz Vocal.

The application deadline is Friday, March 1, 2024.

Three finalists from each division will perform in the live finals in the Ashmore Auditorium on the campus of Pensacola State College. Led by professional musician Roger Villines, the free finals event is set for 7:00 p.m. Saturday, March 23, 2024.

Ranging from $100 to $500, cash awards will be presented for first, second and third place in each division.

Click on the button to download the 2024 Student Jazz Competition Application.


Play-Along / Backing Tracks for Student Jazz Competition Applicants

The following downloadable play-alongs / backing tracks can be used for your preliminary recordings as desired. 

  • Piano is panned full left, and Bass is panned full right (much like Jamey Aebersold play-alongs), so pianists and bassists can exclude the opposite instrument by adjusting the balance control.

  • Most of the jazz standard recordings offer two versions: one with four choruses of the tune and one with three choruses (labeled Minus 1C), giving the applicant the option of performing one or two choruses of improvisation.

  • The vocal jazz standards are two choruses in length, affording space for scat or other melodic improvisation on a portion of the second chorus.

  • The vocal blues selections also have some space for scat improvisation built in as indicated on the lead sheets.

  • Lead sheet PDFs, produced using Finale notation software, can also be downloaded for use with the recordings. Versions are provided for concert key treble and bass clef (BC) plus Bb and Eb instruments. 

  • Two backing tracks for drummers are provided, “Billie’s Bounce” for the blues and “On Green Dolphin Street” for the jazz standard.

  • All of the recordings are sequenced via Apple Logic Pro using Garritan software instruments.

  • Whatever tunes you choose, highly recommend listening to a rendition or two by jazz greats. This will help guide your interpretation of the style and articulation of the melody and provide ideas for improvisation.

  • Commercially available play-alongs can also be used for recordings, but the tune length needs to be limited to the number of choruses specified in the application.

  • Remember, it’s always a great idea and fun time to perform in a small group combo setting with friends/schoolmates.

Available for download below are audio examples, mp3 files and lead sheet PDFs for suitable application blues and jazz standards in the instrumental and vocal divisions. Click on the button below to download the zip file of audio examples, mp3 files and lead sheet PDF's. 

Tune List:

Instrumental Blues:

Billie’s Bounce

Blue Monk

Now’s The Time

Straight No Chaser

Instrumental Jazz Standards

Autumn Leaves

Fly Me To The Moon

On Green Dolphin Street

Out Of Nowhere

Take The A Train

Jazz Vocal Blues

Kansas City

Route 66

Jazz Vocal Standards

Autumn Leaves

Fly Me To The Moon


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