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Improv Tip Week #30-Transcribe Yourself

I hope all of you had a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! Welcome to week #30, which will be the last tip of 2011! Since this will be the last tip of the calendar year, I wanted to encourage everyone to check out Targeting: Improvisation With Purpose one last time and invite you to check it out by going to the link to the right or by going to Jason Klobnak Music. The E-book version works great on mobile devices (which is an instant download available all across the globe) and the printed version is sturdy and sits nicely on a music stand. I’m hoping to have the E-book version available in a few different languages towards the beginning of 2012.

If this is your first time to this blog…welcome! If you’re a returning visitor, welcome back! This week’s tip is called Transcribe Yourself. I don’t know about you, but I prefer listening to good musicians who sound like themselves. The world has plenty of carbon copies of just about everything. It’s refreshing to hear someone improvise from their depths. One way we can develop our personal sound is by transcribing ourselves. The great thing about this tip is that it’s great for every musician, regardless of their developmental stage. Beginners to advanced musicians can gain great benefit by transcribing what they hear in their head. Granted, advanced musicians can do this quite a bit faster (in the moment). But with time-beginners can reach that goal as well.

Here’s a simple 2-step process to get this started. First, without accompaniment, sing a line that you hear in your head. Second, play it on your instrument. Repeat this over and over with the same line or with new lines. If needed, you can write them down. I prefer that you don’t write them down, though, as you’re attempting to make the connection from what you hear to what you play. Eventually, this process will become faster and you’ll be able to make the connection in the moment. The great thing about this is you’re transcribing yourself. The lines you sing are the ones that have stuck with you (you’ve heard it somewhere before) or what is coming out of pure inspiration. Either way, they become personalized by the way YOU heard it and the way YOU play it. If every musician spent some time transcribing themselves, the world would have fewer copies and more unique musicians.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this week’s tip (and start putting it to use into 2012)! Please share this tip (and blog) with your friends, colleagues and students via Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other sites you contribute to as I would love to see more and more of our musicians across the globe have their own personalized sound. Let’s make 2012 a landmark year in music that the history books look back on in dedication with its own chapter!

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