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 Schedule 2017-18

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. For a Spring 2017 semester schedule click here.

SYJ is led by acclaimed jazz artist/educator Sean Dobbins, Director, and a faculty of Detroit’s leading names in jazz such as Marion Hayden, Scott Gwinnell and Rayse Biggs. 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, the Carr Center for Performing Arts and other locations. Each spring, youth travel 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 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.

SYJ provides an entry-point for young musicians just learning to play jazz, but also develops advanced students who are preparing for a career as a collegiate or professional musician.

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.