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Improvisation is a foundational feature and condition of creative music-making—an in-depth engagement with listening and musical interaction. The Lucerne School of Music currently shows its commitment to inventing music by exploring the topic in its teaching and research activities and by staging performances of improvised music.
At sixteen, I first saw and heard Cecil Taylor live with a quartet—he was an American pianist and key figure, among other things, in the free jazz and free improvisation scenes.
What I found most fascinating about this concert, which I realised was for the most part improvised in the moment and had no set play list, was Cecil Taylor’s presence, his relationship with his instrument, with the other musicians and, above all else, with the audience. For me, this was an entirely new listening experience and it showed me new ways of expressing myself musically.
The Lucerne model is unique in that improvisation is offered across profiles, that is, in the BA in Music programme, students from both the Classical and Jazz profiles can choose improvisation as their specialisation.
In addition to the instruction in their main instrumental or vocal subject, they receive individual tuition in improvisation and further advance their skills in an improvisation ensemble.
We consider improvisation to be a foundational feature and condition of creative music-making: it’s an in-depth engagement with listening and musical interaction.
Students learn to draw from their own vocabulary, to expand it and to use it spontaneously in collective music-making.
Contemporary or “free” improvisation often describes an approach to the performance and composition of music in real time that emerged in the early 1960s under the influence of,
for instance, new music, noise, electronic music and free jazz. The most important groups and movements include AMM, New Silence in England, Echtzeit-Musik in Berlin and various schools and approaches in Vienna, Japan and around the world.
The disciplines of improvisation and jazz intersect in many places. Improvisation is mostly about developing the skills required to make music in the moment, irrespective of genre.
This includes learning different methods and strategies to spontaneously draw from an existing musical vocabulary, to expand it and, at the same time, to broaden the tonal range of one’s instrument. It’s therefore not about learning a stylistic language, it’s primarily an aural training.
In addition to the personal and ensemble tuition of the different specialisations, there are multiple ways to engage in improvisation. The School offers a range of workshops from micro grooves to electro-acoustic improvisation to sound notations.
And there’s the Lucerne Improvisers Orchestra, which was founded in 2021: it’s dedicated to improvisation in large formations and a venue for BA and MA students from the Classical, Jazz, Music and Art Performance as well as Music and Movement profiles to make music together. There are several improv jam sessions per semester at the Knox Club, where students and lecturers spontaneously join each other on stage.
The Lucerne School of Music is also a member of the European Metric network, with master classes and workshops and collaborations with the Norwegian Academy of Music in Oslo.
Mastering concepts and strategies for the spontaneous, independent development and interpretation of music.
More information about the degree programs
Das Programm bietet sowohl qualifizierten Musiker*innen als auch Musiklehrer*innen die Möglichkeit, unter fachkundiger Leitung international renommierter Dozierender Praxiserfahrung in der Improvisation zu sammeln und zu vertiefen.
Mit diesem CAS können qualifizierte Organist*innen ihre instrumentale Kompetenz im Bereich Orgelimprovisation/Liturgisches Orgelspiel erhöhen.
The publication contains basic considerations as well as numerous practice-related announcements and exercises. Published: Wolke Verlag. EUR 20. ISBN: 978-3-95593-049-3
In 2016 the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts collaborated with publishers Broecking Verlag to issue a comprehensive biography of jazz pianist Irène Schweizer. To mark the artist’s 80th birthday in 2021, the book has been translated into English in cooperation with the Friends of Irène Schweizer association (Verein Freundinnen und Freunde von Irène Schweizer).
Magda Mayas works for the music festival Szenenwechsel 2020 with the improvisation ensemble music out from the silence.
Our videos provide an insight into music education, research or the numerous performances by students, lecturers and alumni.
The Lucerne School of Music is a member of the European Metric network