In community context, Tran integrates the arts with substantive issues pertinent to understanding and resolving interconnected social, economic, and environmental challenges of sustainability. He elucidated communicative processes of music with guidance from Dr. Christopher Scheer using original compositions at the Meeting of the Minds undergraduate research conference at Oakland University in 2008. Tran also presented an informal lecture-recital on citizen empowerment, cultural preservation, and environmental justice at the University of Michigan-Dearborn's 2011 Global Fest in collaboration with the Southeast Michigan Sierra Club office and Friends of the Rouge.
He also draws interdisciplinary insight and appreciation from his studies in the liberal arts and natural sciences as well. Tran studied performance under violinists Dr. Maria Sampen, and Dr. Mark Schuppener during their time in Ann Arbor. He performs as a soloist, chamber musician, and as a frequent member of the University of Michigan Life Sciences Orchestra in addition to the Detroit band Elemental Meaning.
In addition to violin/fiddle, he frequently plays viola, sometimes the alto saxophone, piano, and as he showers or drives may sing unabashedly. Ian Tran encourages everyone of all ages to enjoy live musicking with real people in whatever ethical way they can.