Jazz students get help in workshop

(Anibal Santos/ Lariat)

Anibal Santos

The jazz band, The Michael Dessen Trio presented a musical workshop on Friday Nov. 30 in Room FA 101.
The leader of the Trio, Michael Dessen is a music instructor at the University of California Irvine. Dessen is a composer who plays the slide trombone and uses the computer to play music.
The workshop was composed primarily of music students intended to help them face real-world experience and get feedback as well from professional musicians.
The workshop began with Dessen introducing his band mates Christopher Tordoni (bass) and Dann Weiss (drums) before presenting a handout with musical notes to the students and asking for feedback.
“Okay guys check this out, take a moment to look at it as if you’re being handed down this music. You are in a band and asked to study it, learn it and eventually play it and then improvise with it … how would you approach it?” he asked.
Dessen discussed problems that student musicians may encounter and offered strategies and insight in better approaching reading musical notes and playing them.
“Okay you’re in band and your trying to get your bass player and your drummer to play this how would you tell them? Any ideas?” Dessen said.
In the workshop he went over complex structure in music.
“A lot of what we are working with is different cross rhythms, different flows, different kinds of poly rhythms in the different phrases,” he said.
Dessen kept the students engaged by asking repeated questions regarding structure in music. The Dessen Trio also played their music to better help the students illustrate Dessen’s advice.
“If the subdivision is the constant thing going on, how would you feel this? If your manager asked you to play this how would you do this?” he asked.
Recently Dessen co-founded a new MFA emphasis in Integrated Composition, Improvisation and Technology in UC Irvine.
The Michael Dessen Trio is currently on tour in Southern California. His next performance will be at UC San Diego.