Jazz education in Western Switzerland in the 1970s and 1980s

Formal, Non-Formal or Informal Learning Settings?

  • Monika Piecek Haute Ecole de Musique de Lausanne
  • Angelika Güsewell Haute Ecole de Musique de Lausanne


This article aims to complement the understanding of the implementation, expansion, and formalisation of jazz education as well as of how jazz was learnt and taught in the 1970s and 1980s in the Western, French-speaking, part of Switzerland. Focussing on this specific geographical context, it takes a close look at the transition from traditional, informal learning to what are considered as more formal realms of learning in jazz education. Drawing both on documentary analysis and in-depth, semi-structured interviews conducted with former students, directors, and teachers of the first jazz schools and jazz departments, it provides a description of the Swiss jazz educational landscape at its beginnings. Two educational models that emerged are compared in the light of the formal-informal spectrum. Finally, the music training trajectories of nine students who attended the newly created settings for jazz learning are analysed. Special attention is given to learning practices, skills transfer and the processes of access to and appropriation of music learning environments. These analyses provide evidence of the flexibility and shifting character of organisational boundaries and educational practices during the implementation of new patterns of music learning.


Monika Piecek, Haute Ecole de Musique de Lausanne
Monika Piecek holds MAs in Philosophy and in Gender Studies and is a research associate at HEMU and Ecole d'études sociales et pédagogiques, Lausanne. Her research interests include gender issues, social policy, social work and the sociology of music.
Angelika Güsewell, Haute Ecole de Musique de Lausanne
Angelika Güsewell is a psychologist, pianist, PhD in positive psychology, head of the research department (HEMU Vaud Valais Fribourg) and Zürich piano teacher. Her research involves professional identities of teaching musicians, personality characteristics of musicians, implementation and value of music in acute psychiatric wards, application of positive psychology concepts to music (e.g., positive emotions, flow, character strengths), and gender issues in jazz.
Piecek, M., & Güsewell, A. (2017). Jazz education in Western Switzerland in the 1970s and 1980s: Formal, Non-Formal or Informal Learning Settings?. European Journal of Musicology, 16(1), 60-80. https://doi.org/10.5450/ejm.2017.16.5779