Mike Titlebaum

Associate Professor, Music Performance
School: School of Music, Theatre, and Dance

Jazz Improvisation Using Simple Melodic Embellishment

Mike Titlebaum's 2021 book Jazz Improvisation Using Simple Melodic Embellishment teaches fundamental concepts of jazz improvisation, highlighting the development of performance skills through embellishment techniques. Written with the college-level course in mind, this introductory textbook is both practical and comprehensive, ideal for the aspiring improviser, focused not on scales and chords but melodic embellishment. It assumes some basic theoretical knowledge and level of musicianship while introducing multiple techniques, mindful that improvisation is a learned skill as dependent on hard work and organized practice as it is on innate talent.

Jazz Improvisation Using Simple Melodic Embellishment

Cover for "Jazz Improvisation Using Simple Melodic Embellishment"

This jargon-free book can be used in both self-guided study and as a course textbook, fortified by an array of interactive exercises and activities:

  • musical examples
  • performance exercises
  • written assignments
  • practice grids
  • resources for advanced study
  • and more!

Nearly all musical exercises—presented throughout the text in concert pitch and transposed in the appendices for E-flat, B-flat, and bass clef instruments—are accompanied by backing audio tracks, available for download via the Routledge catalog page along with supplemental instructor resources such as a sample syllabus, PDFs of common transpositions, and tutorials for gear set-ups. With music-making at its core, Jazz Improvisation Using Simple Melodic Embellishment implores readers to grab their instruments and play, providing musicians with the simple melodic tools they need to "jazz it up."