State Honor Jazz Bands

The 2020-2021 MBDA 7-8 and 9-10 State Jazz Honor Bands are an opportunity for young musicians from across Minnesota to join together in the performance of quality jazz ensemble literature. This year we welcome the opportunity to go digital with student musicians. 

Directors may begin filling out the student entry form and submitting recordings at the beginning of the submission window of January 8-15, 2021. Recordings must be uploaded as mp3s.

Our event will be held in a virtual format on Saturday, March 20th, 2021.

This experience will include opportunities to work with local musicians in a virtual master class setting, learn tricks of the trade for recording, engineering on a digital platform, and creating a group recording of selected songs. 

All student auditions will be submitted via mp3 recording. 

Notification of acceptance will be available on the MBDA website on or before February 7, 2021. If selected for the MBDA Jazz Honor Bands, students will be expected to prepare music ahead of time. A participation fee of $65.00 per student will cover expenses including a year long subscription to SoundTrap. New this year: families will have the option to waive the fee if there is a financial need.  Details regarding technology needs will be shared upon acceptance. 
Eligible students are in grades 7-10, and have directors who are current, paid members of MBDA at the time of audition submission. Students are selected based on top audition results, but it is also the intent of MBDA to represent as many schools across Minnesota as possible each year.





Audition etudes, scales, and backing tracks for improvisation can be accessed by your band director on the MBDA website. Note - Directors must be current, paid members to access this info.


When preparing to record your audition:


  • Use separate tracks for each element. Please do NOT record all audition materials together in one track.

  • Each particular scale and etude must be recorded in one take, not edited and spliced together.


Record your audition in the following order:


  • Record the scales for your instrument - one track per scale.

  • Perform the two etudes for your instrument (Drums – two etudes and three styles. Bass- two etudes).

  • OPTIONAL: Record the improvisation etude with the accompaniment, available on the MBDA website. Improvisation skill score may be used to determine solo(s) for the performance or used in the event of a tied score. There is no improvisation track for bass and drums.


See the audition rubric included in your audition packet or on the MBDA website for more specific details about how the judges will evaluate  your audition.




Directors may begin filling out the student entry form and submitting recordings at the beginning of the submission window. Recordings must be uploaded as mp3s. You will receive a confirmation email for each student that you are entering for consideration in the MBDA State Honor Jazz Band. This email will include a submission code - one code per student - provide this to your student so their family can complete online payment for the audition. Check your school’s email filters to make sure email from isn’t landing in your junk mail.




Provide fee of $17 payable to MBDA by check or online at to complete your audition. If there is a finanacial need, families may select the option to waive the audition fee.  Your director will provide you a code to enter along with your submission to ensure your payment is matched to your audition!


Audition recordings must be uploaded by 8:00 pm on January 15, 2021. Student payments for auditions may be submitted after the close of the audition recording upload window.

Please direct questions about the jazz bands to