Giant Steps Day Camp, Jazz Camp, Jazz Institute & Year-Round Programs

The Stanford Jazz Workshop summer jazz immersion programs are held on the beautiful campus of Stanford University, and are taught by the world’s great jazz performers and educators. Below you can find information about our educational programs, and to the right are direct links to our individual programs.

Want help deciding which SJW program is best for your young musician?

  • Giant Steps Day Camp for middle school students offers a fun week of learning jazz styles and improvisation in big band and small group settings. No audition is required for admission, but students will be evaluated in advance to determine class placement. More info . . .
  • The Giant Steps Package offers the best in jazz instruction for middle school musicians. The Package includes Giant Steps Day Camp, which provides a fun and supportive introduction to jazz performance and improvisation in big band and combo settings. The Package also includes a week of Jazz Camp, which offers even more opportunity for middle school students to advance on their instrument or voice, and to get further experience with jazz repertoire and improvisation in small groups.
  • Jazz Camp is for musicians aged 12 – 17, and provides a fun, encouraging environment in which to get immersed in jazz improvisation and combo playing. No audition is required for admission, but students will be evaluated in advance to determine class placement. More info . . .
  • Jazz Camp Package provides 13 days of structured instruction in jazz improvisation, jazz performance, and instrumental and vocal mastery. No audition is required for admission, but students will be evaluated in advance to determine class placement.
  • Jazz Institute gives instrumentalists and vocalists a chance to work with the greatest jazz artists of our time. Auditions are required only for first-time applicants to the Vocal Program and for first-time instrumental applicants aged 17 or younger. All students will be evaluated in advance for class placement. More info . . .
  • Advanced Package for experienced high school musicians offers the best of both worlds: the structured curriculum of Jazz Camp and direct contact with the top jazz artists at the Jazz Institute. Auditions are required.
  • Giant Steps Big Band for Middle School is perfect for young musicians who want to spend one evening per week learning to play in a big band and improvise with some of the greatest jazz educators in the business. Auditions are required for first-time applicants. More info . . . 

Which program is best for me?

Click on the picture below to download our handy program comparison chart. What’s the difference between our programs? What ages are they designed for? What are the dates and costs? It’s all laid out in this PDF so that you can make the best choice!

In their own words

SJW an excellent atmosphere where the kids could interact with the professionals.

We were the very fortunate recipients of generous financial aid, without which our son could not have attended. This was the first time he went to a music camp, and we are all so happy he did. Thank you!

Best experience imaginable. It far exceeded our expectations. Our daughter can’t wait for next year.

Thank you for offering this program, and helping my daughter grow in her confidence and her music abilities.

First thing he said when he got home was he wants to go back next summer and he wish he could go for two weeks next year.

SJW is an amazing and one-of-a-kind program.

SJW has inspired our girls to pursue their music through jazz bands, orchestra, pep bands, chamber groups, and musical theater. Thank you so much.

After the second day of camp, my daughter said ‘It’s getting easier.’ She described how jazz is different from classical music and how much she enjoys playing jazz with a group. And, of course, the concert on the final day was amazing!

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

She said it was awesome that the teachers appreciated how courageous the students were to try jazz for the first time.

The entire experience was wonderful! She had a great time learning music and making new friends. Thank you!

I wish it was longer than one week. I’d have my son in for the whole summer if possible!

Every time my son finished his rehearsal, he would tell me all about it with excitement.

I was impressed with everything from the communication, the level of professionalism, the enthusiasm, the ratio of coaches to students, the quality of the instruction, and that the students had fun and grew as musicians.

My daughter said she would never forget the performance. (Nor will I.)

I also loved the performance — the kids sounded terrific and they all looked intensely excited to be part of it.

At the end of each class, he was always upbeat and excited about all that he learned. And he said that the teachers were so nice and supportive, and that everyone just wanted to him to succeed.

The staff made all that hard work exciting and fun for the kids. I saw the last ten minutes of a couple of sessions and loved the energy, passion, and enthusiasm.

The staff had high standards for the kids, but did not make it grim. It was obvious that everyone was having fun. And, they sounded amazing!

Giant Steps had a profound impact on my daughter. It changed the way she saw herself.

She went in as a trumpet player in her middle school band and came out thinking of herself as a nascent jazz musician. Her playing and musicianship improved tremendously. Her love of playing jazz trumpet also grew.

Those 10 weeks stretched him as a musician and gave him a huge boost in confidence. He is now a freshman at Menlo-Atherton High, and he and a bunch of his friends in Intermediate Jazz Band have set up their own quintet and are working together on music selection, arrangement, rehearsals etc.

It surpassed our expectations in all respects. Thank you!

Giant Steps was a life-changing experience for my daughter. It empowered her and showed her what was possible if she challenged herself and continued to play jazz trumpet.

My favorite thing? Direct one-on-one teaching, exactly where I need to be taught and challenged in my artistic endeavors.

It’s an amazing opportunity to study from the greats, in a place where inspiration and electricity abound.

The total-immersion program of playing, listening, and learning has inspired me to continue making my own music until I can return to SJW next year.

I had no idea about the level of inspiration I would get, or the number of things it is now clear I need to work on.

This week has been an incredible learning opportunity for me as a student, and I can’t wait to apply all that I’ve learned here in my outside musical career. The level of skill and growth I attained this week is priceless. I love the Stanford Jazz Workshop.

My highlight was seeing my shy daughter perform her first public jazz solo and do an amazing job.

While here, my knowledge of theory, technique and musicianship improved immensely. I never thought I could learn what I did or do what I have achieved.

What makes the SJW community so special is that it creates an environment in which artists can readily share music and educational ideas with each other, with students, and with concert audiences. This interaction between people of different generations and backgrounds is so much of what jazz has always been about.

I wish the SJW Jazz Camp was longer than one week. I’d have my son in for the whole summer if possible!

All week I was able to interact with some of my greatest musical heroes and learn from their expertise. The master classes with Jason Moran, Joshua Redman, Mark Turner and Jeff Ballard changed the way I think about the music.

Simply put, Stanford Jazz Workshop changed my life that first summer.

When we picked our son up, he said ‘I was among giants’ and was very excited by the professional level of the musicians he met during the week.

You’ve got 200 eager kids there, and you’ve got your friends there who are also musicians. Every single year the Stanford Jazz Festival date is my favorite gig.