My daughter said all the teachers are amazing, super supportive of students learning jazz for the first time.
~ Jazz Camp parent

Middle School Instrumentalists

  • Audition required; in-person or online
  • Concurrent enrollment in school music program required
We’re looking for trumpet, trombone, saxophone, piano, guitar, bass, drums, and vibes; flute possible

Ten weekday evenings from 6:45 – 8:45 p.m., plus at least one performance.

To sign up for an audition, register using your existing SJW account or create one if you’re new to SJW. We’ll contact you to schedule an audition.

Program Focus

  • Weekly big band rehearsals, with regular improvisation instruction
  • Directed by top jazz educators
  • Weekly master classes with SJW instrumental faculty
  • Each student must purchase a copy of Make Music SmartMusic to allow for individualized practice and weekly instruction.
  • Weekly progress assessments
  • Showcase performances in May

Directed by some of the top middle school jazz educators in the Bay Area, the Giant Steps Big Bands offer an exciting way for young musicians to improve their jazz skills faster than they ever thought could be possible!

Each band meets weekly to work on fun jazz music, to learn to perform jazz styles, to improve their instrumental skills, and to learn how to improvise. During each rehearsal, each students gets a master class on their instrument from an SJW faculty member who is a jazz expert on that instrument. Between rehearsals, the faculty work with students using SmartMusic, and online practice and learning system, in order to reinforce skill development and to add to the fun.

Giant Steps Big Bands perform at least once per semester, usually in joint concerts involving other school jazz bands in the community. In the Spring, all three Giant Steps Big Bands perform at the Next Generation Jazz Festival, in Monterey, California, in addition to their end-of-the-schoolyear concerts.

The Giant Steps Big Band program continues in the Spring semester. Usually, Giant Steps Big Band participants commit to the band for the entire school year. There is an additional registration process for the Spring, but participants do not have to re-audition for the Spring.

There are three Giant Steps Big Bands, and though we encourage you to audition for the one that’s closest to your community, you are welcome to express a preference for a band that fits your schedule as well.

Giant Steps Big Band North, directed by Dave Gregoric
meets Wednesday evenings, 6:45 – 8:45 p.m.
first meeting September 12
Mills High School, Burlingame

Giant Steps Big Band Mid-Peninsula, directed by Dr. David Hart
meets Thursday evenings, 6:45 – 8:45 p.m.
first meeting September 20
Menlo Atherton High School, Menlo Park

Giant Steps Big Band South, directed by Kristen Strom,
meets Tuesday evenings, 6:45 – 8:45 p.m.
first meeting September 18
The Harker School, San Jose

Faculty