Is your string program in need of a breakthrough?
Christian Howes’s “Creative Strings Experience” centers around intensive workshops in your district and culminates in an exciting concert in which your students improvise, compose, and perform jazz, rock, Latin, fiddle-tune inspired music and more.
What sets it apart:
Unlike other “flash and dash”, cookie-cutter guest artist programs, Christian’s Creative Strings experience emphasizes customized student workshops and performance experience in a musical context which is both “cool” and highly sophisticated. Participating students become inspired and motivated while developing confidence in increasingly sustainable musicianship.
Why it’s necessary:
With just seventeen full time American orchestras remaining, the need for classical musicians to diversify is self-evident. Music education must offer a broad array of skills and understanding so that students will both be more employable and able to incorporate music into their lives, whether or not they become professional musicians.
-John Glenn High School (New Concord, OH) student -Jerry Yu, senior at Princess Anne High School in Virginia Beach, VA -Karen Dahl, Canberra Grammar School student (Australia) -John Lim, high school freshman
“It was incredible! He made me want to be a better musician.”
"Although this experience was very different from conventional orchestral music, it was a phenomenal experience to step out of the classical realm and into a completely different style. One of my favorite parts of the concert was that everyone, whether if he thinks that he is not “musical,” connected with the style and performed accordingly. This was truly an eye-opening experience."
"A week ago Christian came to Canberra Grammar School and gave us a special strings workshop. It was a highlight of my year, it was that good. I remember it well and keep playing it over in my memory. The best thing that Christian told us is to divide our lesson into 1/2: creativity, play and improvisation for a half and the other half into repetitive practices eg. chord memorisation. It was so liberating to be told that! Whoohoo!"
"The concert last night was an unforgettable experience, as we finally were able to perform what we were collaborating with Mr. Howes and incorporating new styles into. I greatly appreciate everything we had done in the past few days, and certainly took back many lessons that vastly helped my creative and musical skills."
-John Glenn High School (New Concord, OH) student
-Jerry Yu, senior at Princess Anne High School in Virginia Beach, VA
-Karen Dahl, Canberra Grammar School student (Australia)
-John Lim, high school freshman
Says Christian, “Total musicianship includes the ability to improvise and compose, the understanding of functional music theory, and a basic level of exposure to a wide variety of styles, as well as the cultures from which they come.” Watch this video to see a residency unfold:
Expanding musicianship for string players through a residency combining workshops, concerts, teacher training, and online curriculum.
The purpose of Christian’s school visits is to provide an interactive, inspirational, and educational experience for high school, middle school, and elementary students as well as teachers throughout your district. We will work with you to provide clinics, rehearsals, teacher training, masterclasses and a culminating concert. Prior to and following your event, you will be supported via online curriculum for the entire classroom. We welcome the opportunity to collaborate with you in giving your students creative skills, confidence, and opening them to new worlds in their musical growth.
1) Free Improvisation: Through “non-tonal” improvisation, we can tap into a student’s musicality in a way that is accessible for all levels and styles. Your students will be able to improvise easily without predetermined harmonic structures or song forms.
2) Composition: Students learn quickly to compose in small groups using “composition games.” At the end of the session, they perform their pieces for each other.
3) “Improvising with Pachelbel” – Easy Tonal Improvisation: Through a series of easy playing and reading exercises, students learn to create functional melodies over chord progressions. Through the lens of Pachelbel’s Canon, melodic improvisation and composition are demystified as we discover how to easily construct melodies following three simple rules. Anyone with a 6th grade reading level will learn how to compose melodies, bass lines, and counter-melodies in many styles. Students learn to easily improvise over the Pachelbel progression in bluegrass, reggae, waltz, rock, and classical styles! This can be performed during the final concert and expanded to other tunes endlessly.
(Christian offers this course through a series of eight video lessons in the “Creative Strings Academy,” )
Preview the lesson here:
4) Conducted Group Improvisation: Using cue cards and a system of hand signals, Christian conducts a large ensemble in “free” improvisation. This is a lot of fun and can also be incorporated into a final concert.
5) Electric Strings: Learn the “A-Z” of electric strings, including amplification, electric instruments, pickups, effects, loop pedals, and more. Teachers will learn ways to bring electric technology into your classrooms. This can be incorporated into other clinics or rehearsals without the need for a dedicated session.
6) Eclectic Styles Overview: Learn the stylistic basics for strings in jazz, folk, blues, rock music, and more. Modern styles call for specific articulations and techniques, including strumming, chopping, swinging, looping, modal improvisation, vamps, and more. This can be incorporated into other clinics or rehearsals without the need for a dedicated session.
7) Teacher Training: Highly recommended! Often local dealerships are willing to sponsor teacher training sessions, and/or your district may be able to fund an “in-service” session from separate funding sources. View this video to see what teachers had to say about working with Christian at Bob Gillespie’s annual string teacher training workshop:
8) Assembly “Informance” for Elementary School: In this 30-40 minute performance and talk, Mr. Howes inspires and motivates young students with a theme of “practice makes perfect,” emphasizing that, no matter what their passions, the important thing is to start young and practice a discipline. Reliving his experience since age five, Christian performs well-known pieces, beginning with “Twinkle…” progressing through Bach, Vivaldi, Paganini, and others. He then finds his way to bluegrass, blues, jazz, and other popular songs, utilizing a loop pedal and plenty of special effects including wah-wah, distortion pedals, and more.
9) Online Curriculum: Before and after your event you can engage your students in deeper learning through “Creative Strings Academy.” The online curriculum includes over 150 instructional videos, worksheets, audio play along files, eBooks, regular live streaming Q & A’s, lesson plans, homework, and more. Christian also offers streaming clinics customized for your classroom. The classroom licenses are very affordable and you can apply for funding through technology grants. If you’re simply interested in browsing the curriculum, sign up for a free trial here: http://creativestrings.christianhowes.com/
–Morning: 3-hour combined clinic/rehearsal with area high school music students in hall –Lunch
–Afternoon: Elementary Assembly
–After school: 2-3 hour teacher training session (hosted by local Yamaha dealer)
–Morning: 2-hour combined clinic
–Middle school classroom visit
–Middle school classroom visit
–After School: 2-hour rehearsal with combined high school orchestra
–Morning television/radio interview
–Middle school visit: home school event, visit with jazz band, or other outreach
–Afternoon elementary assembly
–After School: dress rehearsal, concert
Sponsors: Yamaha and D’Addario are both generous sponsors of Christian’s work in schools. We may be able to help you obtain partial funding. (Please contact Tiffany Goodman at firstname.lastname@example.org to inquire)
Technology Grants: Many districts allocate funds for technological learning initiatives. Christian’s “Creative Strings Academy,” is an online, distance learning program, and you may be eligible for funding!
Fundraising: Presenting a public concert event is an excellent way to fundraise while giving the students an opportunity to both demonstrate what they learned and perform with a world-class artist. We encourage you to charge a minimum of $10-15 at the door and sell tickets in advance for $10, $5 for students.
Partner with nearby schools: Teaming up with other schools in your area for clinics or performances (either separate or combined) can cut your expenses dramatically!
Option A: Invite other schools to bus their students into your hall to have combined clinics and/or performance. Students from other schools can also rehearse separately and play the final concert.
30-45 minutes – Performance of pieces with combined student orchestra plus Christian Howes and rhythm section (bass, drums, piano). The student orchestra may also perform some selections alone.
20-45 minutes – Performance by Christian Howes (solo or with band)
10 minutes – Performance with all.
Repertoire for all state, college, community, and professional orchestras:
Full Orchestra and Soloist
-Scott Routenberg Jazz Violin Concerto is a three movement work evoking jazz and fiddle styles, a la Copeland. (some might compare this to the O’Connor concertos) (approximately 15 minutes)
-“Spain” (10 minutes, Chick Corea jazz standard – arranged by James Anderson). An excellent showcase for the strings
-Lalo Symphony Espagniole
-Piazolla Four Seasons
-Vivaldi Four Seasons
-Bruch Violin Concerto
Christian can recommend additional arrangements, compose commissions, or work flexibly with your suggested repertoire.
Check our schedule for routing here: http://christianhowes.com/events/
Booking – Tiffany Goodman: 773.283.2830 email@example.com
Programming – Christian Howes: 614.332.8689 firstname.lastname@example.org
Logistics and Marketing/PR: Jordan Canada email@example.com
For downloadable PR materials: http://christianhowes.com/contactpress/
…Music means more than sheet music – it has its own emotion and I have never felt that more true than last night playing Cascade. Having Christian Howes come and help us made me recognize what it was I loved about music, not because he is a professional but because he shares that love for music that I do.
Brittany Lasley, senior
…Although this experience was very different from conventional orchestral music, it was a phenomenal experience to step out of the classical realm and into a completely different style. One of my favorite parts of the concert was that everyone, whether if he thinks that he is not “musical,” connected with the style and performed accordingly. This was truly an eye-opening experience.
Jerry Yu, senior
…The concert last night was an unforgettable experience, as we finally were able to perform what we were collaborating with Mr. Howes and incorporating new styles into. I greatly appreciate everything we had done in the past few days, and certainly took back many lessons that vastly helped my creative and musical skills.
John Lim, freshman
Below is an example of a sample program previously used.
Princess Anne High School Orchestras’ Uncommon Jazz
Directed by Mary Ann Hughes with special guest Christian Howes
Thursday, October 18th, 2012 7:00 p.m. PAHS Auditorium
According to passion4jazz.com, “Jazz music is a language, sometimes intimate, often boisterous, but always layered with experience and profoundly lived.”
Wikipedia states that jazz ensembles typically include wind instruments (one or more saxophones, trumpets, etc.), one or two chordal “comping” instruments (electric guitar, piano, or organ), a bass instrument (electric bass guitar or double bass), and a drummer or percussionist.
So, Uncommon Jazz is “the art of ensemble playing and the development of repertoire featuring improvisation and the rhythmic capabilities of string instruments and players.”
During the first part of the 20th century, the violin began to be used as a jazz solo instrument. The first great jazz violinist was Eddie South, known as “the Dark Angel of Violin.” In the swing and post-war eras there were many great violinists who improvised, including Stéphane Grappelli, Stuff Smith, Ray Perry, Ray Nance and Claude “Fiddler” Williams.
Modern jazz violinists who joined the scene between 1960 and 1990 include Leroy Jenkins, Billy Bang, Malcolm Goldstein, Michael White, John Blake, Jr., and Florin Niculescu. Their style was considered “avant-garde.” More recent performers include Mat Maneri, Katt Hernandez and Regina Carter. There are also “jazz fusion” violinists, including Jean-Luc Ponty and Michal Urbaniak.
Call Tiffany Goodman to inquire about dates:
Contact Christian to discuss any questions related to your residency: