Students Speak
Posted by Chase Sanborn

U of T Jazz students talk about the program, including advice for aspiring students.

What’s the best thing about the U of T Jazz program for you? How has the program impacted on you as a musician and a person?

“I am surrounded by students who are passionate and motivated to succeed. They are very strong players—this is both inspiring and intimidating—and they are also wonderful people.”

“The environment is nurturing and positive. Everyone wants to learn and grow.”

“With such a small student body, we all know each other. There is strong camaraderie; people are always willing to give a hand. Everybody is open to jamming, and what competition there is feels healthy.”

“As a first year student, I appreciate the open, kind and helpful attitude of the older students.”

“The teachers are genuinely enthused about teaching, and are willing to put in extra effort to help out the students.”

“The small class sizes result in more personal attention from the faculty, who are all on a first name basis.”

“The curriculum is well thought out, and provides students with a strong foundation for becoming professional musicians. The practical approach of many of the courses provides us with skills, not just knowledge.”

“In addition to learning straight-ahead approaches to jazz, students have the opportunity to explore elements of modern improvised music, such as deep listening and developing the connection between musicians. Studying these concepts from a different perspective has refreshed my passion for all music.”

“Classes and lessons emphasize musicality as much as technique.”

“With a faculty comprised of working musicians and weekly guest artists, we get first hand advice about the music business.”

“Musically, we are encouraged to reach out in different directions. This helps me get in touch with what I want to do as a composer and player.”

“My weaknesses are exposed. I’m constantly being challenged, as the teachers push my limits. I learn at least one new thing every day.”

“I appreciate playing in ensembles where we choose and prepare our own repertoire. The other students introduce me to many different styles of music.”

“We get many playing opportunities, on and off campus.”

“There are lots of gigs going around. The students are involved in all sorts of musical styles.”

“The campus is located right downtown.”

“There are a wide variety of non-jazz electives available through the university.”

“Living in Toronto has opened my mind and made me a freer thinker. I’ve grown, personally and musically, at an exceptional rate, and I’ve adopted a wider perspective of the world.”

“Being in this program helps me see my potential, and motivates me to work for it.”

With the benefit of hindsight, what would you have done differently before coming to U of T?

“I would do more solo transcription, and learn more tunes.”

“Shed, shed, shed! More practice, and importantly, more efficient practice.”

“Seek out a jazz teacher and other jazz-minded students. The more you know when you arrive, the more you’ll get out of the program.”

“I wish I knew how to warm-up and practice more efficiently. Hearing how much my sound has improved since I’ve been here makes me realize how many hours I wasted.”

“I should have studied piano and done more ear training.”

“I should have learned more jazz theory.”

“I would concentrate on the present moment, not worry as much about the future.”

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