Prep Jazz Placement

NEC Prep Jazz Placements

Welcome to the NEC Prep Jazz Department Fall 2021/Spring 2022 school year.

This page gives you all the information and web links to online forms that you need in order to join the NEC Prep Jazz department. To join the Prep Jazz department, you need to go through five steps below. Please email with any questions.

STEP 1: If you have not done so already, Explore our website by clicking the button below:

 Explore Jazz at NEC Prep

Here you can familiarize yourself with the program by watching live performance and a message from the Department Chair, performances and get links to all of the other Jazz webpages describing classes, ensembles, lessons, tuition and jazz faculty. Links to these pages are also on the bottom of this page.

*Returning students to the Jazz program may skip step 2 and proceed to step 3 below.*


STEP 2: All NEW Students must create a free account in Embark, the NEC Prep Application system and fill out the NEC Prep 2021-2022 Placement Form linked below:

2021-2021 Embark Placement Form for NEW Students

You will answer a few questions and select Jazz to let the office know you want to participate in the Jazz department. New Jazz students that cannot attend in person auditions can submit two contrasting recordings or links to YouTube or SoundCloud in the Embark Jazz page.



STEP 3: THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT STEP!  All New and Returning Jazz Students must fill out the Prep Jazz Placement Form linked below:

2021 Prep Jazz Placement Form 

This will take 10-20 minutes to complete. For returning students this form will be due July 10; for new students this will be due PRIOR to the Jazz Placement Audition (see dates in Step 4 below), so that the Chair can change the answers on the form and advise on course selection during the Jazz Placement Audition. The form is free and the answers can be changed in follow up Zoom meetings, phone calls or emails with the Jazz Department Chair.


STEP 4: Students that are NEW to the NEC Prep Jazz program MUST set up a Jazz placement audition meeting with the Jazz department chair. (Students that have only participated in Jazz Lab and Youth Jazz Orchestra are considered new prep Jazz students. New students who intend to participate on campus MUST attend their audition in person and play for and with the Jazz Department Chair.) 

Use the link below to reserve a twenty minute Jazz Placement Audition Slot:

2021 Prep Jazz Placement Audition Slots

New students that intend to only study online that live too far away to come to campus for a placement audition will be emailed a Zoom link for their placement meeting, but should also sign up for an appointment above if the times work for them. They should also submit two contrasting recorded pieces to their Embark application before their placement meeting.

The remaining Fall 2021/Spring 2022 Jazz Placement auditions are on*:

  • Thursday, September 2, 3-5:40PM and 6:20-8PM

  • Wed, September 8, 3-5:40PM and 6:20-8PM

  • Sunday, September 12, 9AM-12PM and 1-5PM

*If the dates and times above do not work for a placement meeting, email as soon as possible to set up another placement meeting.

Students returning to the NEC Prep Jazz program do not need to have a placement meeting but are welcome to do so.

Returning Jazz students that are adding a new instrument or voice should set up a placement meeting appointment.

All new Jazz students and returning Jazz students that intend to take Jazz Theory or Jazz Styles for the first time need to fill out a Jazz Theory Placement Test, so that the Jazz department chairs know what students are familiar with, and can advise them on placement.
Use the link below to print out the test:

Jazz Theory Placement Test

Students should leave blank any questions they do not understand, then take a picture of this test and email it to before their Jazz placement meeting.

After the placement meeting, the Chair will confirm your choices with a follow up appointment or email.


STEP 5. Once your choices have been confirmed, you must register and pay for your selections by clicking the button below:

Register for Classes here!

This is the final step to confirm your place in the Jazz program. If you have trouble with registration contact the Registrar at or call 617-585-1174.

When registering for Jazz private lessons, Active Educate (NEC Prep's registration system) requires the word “Jazz” before the subject. So if you are registering for Jazz Piano lessons, that is different from registering for piano lessons in the piano department. The Jazz department has a private Jazz registration “teacher” for new students called “Unassigned Instructor”. This allows students to register for their instrument, voice or subject, before getting assigned a teacher by the Jazz department chair. This is useful because registration for lessons triggers discounts on each classroom course and each ensemble. Returning students can register for lessons with their previous teacher.


If you want to participate on multiple instruments/voice, bring them all with you as many of our students study on multiple instruments!  

For students familiar to Jazz Small ensemble playing/singing:
Prepare two contrasting pieces, preferably from standard Jazz repertoire (which could include related styles like funk, blues, bossa, etc.), where you can play the melody (or accompany it on bass and drums), accompany a soloist with chords (if you are a guitarist or pianist) and improvise. The chair and assistant chair will accompany you. Bring two concert key copies of lead sheets of the pieces you would like to play.

For students that are new to Jazz:
Prepare two contrasting pieces in whatever style you are comfortable with, although at least one of the pieces should demonstrate your ability to play/sing in strict metric time (music that has a driving rhythm and stays in a steady tempo). If you have only played solo pieces, that is fine. The chair and assistant chair will ask you to do some simple improvisation accompanied by them, to see how you respond to rhythm.

Students that want to study composition/songwriting should upload files to embark or email links for audio and/or to

Drum set, guitar amp, bass amp, and piano are provided at your placement meeting. Drummers need to bring a snare drum, hi hat, ride and crash cymbals, hi hat clutch, sticks (and brushes if you have them).

Please arrive at least 10 minutes prior to your scheduled placement meeting.
At the end of your placement meeting, you will be scheduled for a follow-up meeting with the Department Chair to confirm your private lesson, classroom courses, and ensemble choices. Once those choices are registered for and paid for, the chairs will schedule you and notify you on the following dates of your schedule.

Contact for any questions about the department.


Embark - For New Students
2021 Fall Jazz Placement Form
Link to Jazz Ensemble Information
Link to Jazz Classroom Course Information
Link to Jazz Private Lesson Information
Link to Jazz Faculty (search)