Spartan Youth Jazz

SYJ at Spec

Spartan Youth Jazz (SYJ) provides high-quality jazz music education for middle and high school-age students. The program is for youth who play saxophone, trumpet, trombone, piano, guitar, upright/electric bass and drum set, but other instruments are welcome. Jazz vocalists and youth who want to learn to sing jazz are also accepted.

SYJ (HS) Calendar of Events 2017-2018

SYJ & SYJO Flyer

SYJ takes place on Wednesday nights from 5:45-8:45 p.m. between September and May (30 weeks). The curriculum includes studio classes, combo playing, a big band, and diverse electives such as jazz improvisation, jazz composition, jazz theory and transcription, and more. 

SYJ is led by acclaimed jazz artist/educator Sean Dobbins, Director and percussion faculty, and a faculty of Detroit’s leading names in jazz:

-Rayse Biggs, Trumpet
-Tony Buccilli, Trombone
-Steve Wood, Woodwinds
-Scott Gwinnell, Piano, Voice, and Composition
-Cory Allen, Guitar
-Marion Hayden, Upright Bass

Additionally, students participate in masterclasses with the MSU College of Music Jazz Studies faculty and world-renowned visiting guest artists.

SYJ performs at local venues including the MSU Detroit Center, Cliff Bell’s historic Detroit jazz club, and other locations. Each spring, the SYJ Big Band travels to East Lansing to participate in all-day workshops as part of the MSU Jazz Spectacular and compete in the Essentially Ellington Regional High School Big Band Competition. In each of the three years the Spartan Youth Jazz Big Band has appeared at the festival, they have placed in the top five ensembles.

SYJ provides an entry-point for young musicians who are experienced on their instruments but are just learning to play jazz. It also develops advanced students who are preparing for a career as a collegiate or professional musician as well as teaching valuable life skills.

SYJ nurtures students through a real-world connection to Detroit’s legendary jazz tradition, while helping them build skills such as creativity, innovation, independence, leadership, self-confidence and more.

A placement audition is required for this program, to determine the ensemble and/or combo that fits your level best. Send your audition video or recording to or call 313-578-9716. We are now accepting auditions for the 2018 Spartan Youth Jazz Summer Boot Camp as well as our Fall 2018-Spring 2019 semester.