One for the Mother

In today’s post I wanted to take a moment and talk about the importance of thanking those that have helped you in your musical journey. Just about everyone has someone who has deposited knowledge, encouraged them to study or sacrificed something to allow them to pursue their dream.

Thanking them fosters a spirit of gratitude that uplifts not only those you thank; but you as well. I don’t know about you, but I feel like I play/practice/perform better when it’s not all about me. I want others to know they’ve had an integral part in my journey. Bottom line: people need to know that they helped.

I’ve had a number of people that have impacted my musical journey. I could write a lengthy post on each one. People like Craig Swartz, Andy Classen, Roxanne Classen, Susie Miget, Al Hood, Lynn Baker, Eric Gunnison, Greg Gisbert, Brad Goode and Ron Miles all have had direct impact on my trumpet and jazz playing. My brother, Mike Klobnak, introduced me to the trumpet and jazz. My wife, mom and dad (Sarah Klobnak, Wes Klobnak and Patty Gilreath) were always and continue to be supportive. There are others that have made an impact too.

Out of all of these, though, my mom was the one who encouraged and pushed me the most. Even when we couldn’t afford it, she would sacrifice her time and money to make sure I had the opportunity to study. She worked the night shift during my formative years…yet she would always make sure I had a ride to a trumpet lesson or would wake up early to go to a concert or gig. ¬†Even when I moved out of state, she would make her way out to as many concerts and gigs as she could (most recently she took vacation time to come see me play a gig I had on my birthday). She purchased an entire box of CD’s of a college big band recording project so I could get funding for a European trip. I’m sure she’ll probably do something similar for my current project I’m about to record ūüôā Thanks for all you’ve done and continue to do mom!

If you’ve had someone like I’ve mentioned above-take some time out this week to give them a call or write a note and say thank you. If you haven’t…find someone you can encourage to reach their full potential!

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Contemporary Composition Part 1

I wanted to start a new series this week in the¬†Arranging/Composing category. If you check out the drop-down menu on the homepage you will find previous posts from various categories. This will be the first one in the¬†Arranging/Composing category. In this series on¬†contemporary composition we will be looking at a way to creatively compose a harmonic progression and let it become the foundation of the new composition. This is how I write my contemporary charts. I don’t do them all this way, but if I’m needing a spark for my creativity…this does it every time! I will be breaking up this process into a multi-week series, so you’ll want to check back ¬†each week.

The first part of this process is not something I came up with, but rather one I learned from a professor at the Lamont School of Music (University of Denver) where I received my Master’s. This was taught to me by jazz pianist/composer Eric Gunnison. The other parts of the process would be what I do to finish out the composition. We’re going to build from the ground up a composition I wrote specifically to be premiered at Dazzle Jazz (930 Lincoln St Denver, CO) on September 24th 2012 called Back and Forth. If you go to my Facebook page you can get access to this chart and others that will be played on 9-24-12.

Let’s get started! The first part of this process is to build a list of any arbitrary two-note pairs. They can be of any interval distance. In the example of the song I wrote called, Back and Forth, I decided to make 4 sets of two-note pairs as seen below:

These two note pairs are now going to our¬†Guide Tones¬†(3rds, 7ths or any other chord tone) for coming up with our harmonic progression. Let’s take the first pair (the F & Bb). You can decide on how many different ways those two notes could become a guide tone. I typically start with the first note and move up chromatically looking at how each of those two notes fit with it’s new “root.” Here’s an example of what that might look like:

You can make your list as complex or as simple as you like. For me, in this process I don’t extend the chord quality past the 9th because those can be changed later. Notice how the F and Bb fit into each one of those chords. They are in some way or another a part of the guide tones or chord tones. Let’s continue the process with the next 3 pairs:

Now that we have a lot of different chord options, we can narrow down our choices for our new harmonic progression. Next week, we will look at how you can choose which ones to throw out and which ones we will keep to build our progression. In the meantime, if you haven’t checked out my books Breaking the Monotony¬†or¬†Targeting: Improvisation With Purpose then go to my Digital Store and take a look!

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