Improv Tip Week #33-Extending the Line - Jason Klobnak Music

Improv Tip Week #33-Extending the Line

Welcome to week #33! This week’s tip is one that I can remember working diligently on while studying with Andy Classen at Drake University. This tip probably isn’t for everyone. Advanced musicians who have strong improv chops have probably already worked on this and maybe even spent time learning how to control it so they don’t do it as much (I know I have). This week’s tip is about extending the line. If this is your first time here, welcome! I’d highly encourage you to check out some of the past week’s tips as some of them might be helpful for you. For our returning friends…welcome back and I hope you find this week’s tip beneficial to your playing! If you haven’t yet, I want to encourage everyone to check out Targeting: Improvisation With Purpose and invite you to check it out by going to the link to the right or by going to Jason Klobnak Music for more information. 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 currently working on having the E-book version available in a few different languages (I’ll keep you updated on those and which languages) as well as a full update on my website which will be combining this blog with my site.

Every improvisor, at some point in their development, get to a place where short phrases and/or licks are not enough to communicate their message. Can you imagine if you listened to an orator and every statement they made were short little one-liners? One-liners are necessary and add effect, but at some point you want the orator to connect his/her ideas. In improvisation, we need to move beyond the short musical statements and extend the line. We can extend the line a couple of different ways. One way is to combine our short phrases and/or licks to make them longer. Another, which is what is discussed below, combines targeting principles (in this case chromatic targeting) to help extend the line. Below is taken out of part of my book, Targeting: Improvisation With Purpose:

…Below is an exercise targeting the root, 3rd and 5th of a C-major tonality (or scale). Notice how either the root, 3rd or 5th lands on the downbeat of beat 3 of each measure (in 4/4 time):

Below is another example of targeting the root, third and fifth. However, this time the line is moving upward:

There are many different combinations that we can use to create a longer flowing line. The next example below is an exercise used to create a continuous eighth-note line. The targeted notes are the root (C), the 3rd (E) and 5th (G) of a C-major tonality. Again, notice how the root, 3rd or 5th will land on either the downbeat or beat 3 of each measure. The goal of this exercise is to mix the different types of targeting options, while still creating the continous line. For an additional challenge, create your own continuous line exercise and target the root, 3rd and 5th of every major scale’s tonality.


If you’d like to check out more, be sure to click the link above or on the right for more information. I hope you’ve enjoyed this week’s tip and would love for you to share this blog/tip with your friends and colleagues. For your convenience, you can use the links for Facebook, Twitter, etc below. As always, I hope some of you (or maybe even one of your students) have found some benefit from this tip and continue down your personal improv journey. We’ll see you next week!

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About the Author jasonklobnak

Jason Klobnak is a versatile trumpet player that has been performing as an active musician, author, clinician, composer and educator. His band, J's Ruckus, is Denver's blend of Post-Bop, Soul, Gospel, and Hip-Hop. They perform infectious and up-lifting originals for audiences hungry for a memorable live experience. J's Ruckus released their latest album, Suck Less, in March of 2020 and their first EP, Sermons, in July of 2019. Both were recorded live in front of an audience. Suck Less was recorded to a packed auditorium at Arapahoe Community College's Waring Theater in Littleton, CO. Sermons was recorded in front of a sold out crowd at the Soiled Dove Underground.  The JKQ (the Jason Klobnak Quintet/Quartet) is Mr. Klobnak's Hammond B-3 centered groups. The JKQ released their third full-length album in March of 2018 called Friends & Family. It has been very well reviewed, on numerous Top 10 lists for Jazz radio stations across the country (including Denver's KUVO 89.3FM which named it May 2018's CD of the month), and in Jazzweek's Top 100. Each composition was written for specific family and close friends (that might as well be family). Their second album, New Chapter, was recorded in part thanks to the Pathways to Jazz Grant from the Boulder County Arts Alliance. In 2015 and 2016, New Chapter was in the Top 75 on the Jazzweek charts and on the Top 10 playlists for over a dozen radio stations worldwide. Their first album, Mountain, Move made the Best Recordings of 2013 list from AllAboutJazz.com by C. Michael Bailey. His very well reviewed Christmas single, Hark the Herald, in 2016 as part of a creative project with musicians James Roberson and Nathaniel Kearney Jr. Besides the JKQ, Mr. Klobnak is a B.A.C. (Best American Craftsman-custom trumpet), Denis Wick (mouthpiece and mutes) and Westone Audio endorsed artist (ES20 and Tru Customs). Mr. Klobnak has played and recorded for numerous groups ranging from jazz, soul/R&B, indie-rock/pop and gospel. In addition to performing, he has also written two improvisation-based books called Targeting: Improvisation With Purpose and Breaking the Monotony and is currently an adjunct professor and brass instructor at Arapahoe Community College. Mr. Klobnak holds a bachelor degree from Drake University (Des Moines, IA) and a Master’s degree from the University of Denver, Lamont School of Music (Denver, CO).

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