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Percussion Practice

Music students at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) have benefited from working alongside a leading international musician.

American improviser and experimental percussionist, Chris Corsano, ran a workshop for BA(Hons) Music Practice students, who reaped the benefits of his years of experience working alongside artists as diverse as Evan Parker, Bjork and Thurston Moore.

The event, which was organised and promoted by the students, consisted of an afternoon workshop and a full evening of performances. The workshop began with an overview of important milestones in the history of free improvising, moved on to look at specific techniques that Chris uses and then developed into an open improvisation to which many members of the audience contributed.

The evening programme showcased a variety of work, including Chris’ rapturously received headline set. First and second year undergraduate students also presented recent pieces and the artist commented that he was put under pressure by the high quality of the student work.

The event marked Chris’ second visit to UCLan and his approach drew interesting comparisons with his visit four years ago. The physical and dextrous approach to reinventing the drum kit was still very much the focus. However, the ways in which he did this had progressed even further; with his interventions, refinements and challenges to the traditions of the drum kit continuing. This desire to maintain the exploration in itself was inspirational.

The event proved a great success and students left feeling highly motivated and with lots of new ideas and approaches to bring to their degree work. It is hoped they are influenced by Chris’ percussion techniques and the experience of working alongside a talented musician encourages them to ask ‘how did that work?’

Thanks go to the UCLan Contemporary Arts Development Group and the New Continental for their support and involvement in this work.

Watch this short film to find out more about the event and the students' experience.