By Justin McKinney, Staff WriterThis past week the Jim Ro- bitaille Trio rocked UMass Dartmouth with some stellar smooth jazz in the seventh annual jam session. The jam session features an hour long set from the trio and then an- other hour of student music. Robitaille has been teaching music at UMassD for the past twenty years and said it would be a blessing if he could do twenty more. AsIsatthere,abitoutofmy element in a room of people that seemed to “know” music, I was a bit uneasy. However, the trio’s music simply swept me away. It was complex, yet so simple that anyone could enjoy it. As I listened, I found myself thinking of what a wide range this music appealed to. As an avid listener of country as well as classic rock, I can tell you on Wednesday night I fell in love with smooth jazz. One song in particular, “Nat- ural Selection,” projected a lot of raw emotion. While this may seem typical for music, what sets this apart is the fact that the trio is purely instrumental. With their instruments, I felt emotions that I could not pinpoint. Needless to say I en- joyed it very much. After the show I was ex- tremely curious to know why Robitaille taught and his an- swer blew me away. “Music has been something I have been passionate about all my life, I love passing that
onto other people. Not only that, but as I teach I learn and as I learn I become a better musician.” It warms my heart to hear of an instructor who believes in teaching as a two-way street. I have seen many teachers feel that they are above learn- ing from their students. It takes away from the learning expe- rience as the professor feels they are far above the student. With Robitaille this is not the case. He views teaching as a two lane highway where student and teacher can free- ly exchange information that can potentially benefit both parties. When I asked Robitaille how he first created the jam session, he cited the fact that since most college students could not attend his shows at bars and clubs because of their age. His jam session made it not only free, but extremely acces- sible for students to see him play. Being that students are al- lowed to participate for the last hour of the show, it also gave Robitaille an opportunity to work with students on their music outside of a classroom setting, and get a view into in- dependent projects students might be working on. It’s people like Robitaille who work so hard to keep the world singing, if you will. Our school is very lucky to have such a passionate pro- fessor working for them, and the jam session is living proof of how talented not only our music professors are, but also our students.