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The 2025 Student Jazz Competition will be  March 22, 2025 at the Ashmore Theatre on the Pensacola State College campus.

Each Spring, 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. 


2024 Student Competition Winners

High School Instrumental Division:

First Place: Christy Malaise – Pace High School – $400

Second Place: Emily Jumonville – Pace High School – $200

Third Place: Elaina Rowell – Pace High School – $100


Jazz Vocal Division:

First Place: Mikael Patriarca – University of West Florida – $500

Second Place: Aitana Moore – Niceville High School – $300

Third Place: Katherine Nielson – Niceville High School – $150

Fourth Place: Brooke Ryan – University of West Florida – $150


College Instrumental Division:

First Place: David Lyon – University of West Florida – $500

Second Place: Nehemiah Trotman – University of West Florida – $300

Third Place: Alyssa-James Gray – University of West Florida – $150


Thanks to our Sponsors and Jazz Education Team Supporters (JETS)


Arts, Culture and Entertainment (ACE)

Florida Department of State, Division of Arts and Culture

Schmidt’s Music

Studer Foundation


Dr. Michelle Brandhorst

Steve Douglas

Derrick Fishback

Nancy Griffin

Carolyn Tokson

Bobby Van Deusen

Roger and Kat Villines

Ellen Vinson


Information for Students:

In the Fall of 2024, we will post the competition schedule and application for the 2025 Student Jazz Competition  which is scheduled for March 22, 2025.

Please come back! In the meantime, take a look at the play-along / backing tracks below.

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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