Originally Posted by FruitSnax
If U of T has a good jazz program and is more conservative, then that sounds like the best bet. A degree from a strict, conservative program is worth more than one that is from a more liberal school.
not necessarily. i am in Cleveland State University's jazz department as a performance major and will be thinking about transferring to a different school (either Berklee or the New School of Jazz in Greenwich Village). Every person learn better under different circumstances. I, for one, dont get the most out of a strictly classical training, because i cannot connect with the ideas, but whenver my teacher puts it in a jazz based or rock based setting, it is much easier for me to comprehend. Just because a school's surroundings are demanding, doesnt make it a good place to learn.
I believe that the best environment is one where you are surrounded by the best peer players there are, not teachers, peers, friends you can learn from. learning from peers can motivate one to work harder to get to that person's level. a liberal environment stimulates an individual to grown and expand their musical horizons and absorb musics from every source and integrate them into your own music. that kind of happening just doesnt occur when a teacher is so rigid that they will only look at the "past masters."
i feel that my guitar teacher, bob fraser, one of the baddest cats alive (if he lived in NYC, everyone would know him) who heads the guitar dept. at CSU, and teaches every walk of electric guitar (from jazz standards to swing to fusion to rock to blues to country to whatever), is much better than the "elite" teachers who will only will teach bop or classical.
growth is restricted in an environment where experimentation is frowned upon, and because of that, i dont think that a conservative, strict environment is beneficial to a student's growth.
but to answer your question, i would go with whatever university has the most students to play with because, in music, education is on the bandstand not in the classroom.