ready to go past playing prescribed parts?

Five western cities this and next week

This was taken from one of our concerts during the 2nd annual Creative Strings Workshop, in 2006.

This and the next week promises to be fast-paced. I’ll be in five cities in the next 7 days with clinics, concerts, conventions, working with different bands in each city.

Feb 16 TucsonMountain View High School,Night Clinic/Master Class at 7:00 p.m. and Concert at 8:00pm

Feb 17 San Francisco, CA – CODA, 9:00 p.m. with Wil Blades and Scott Amendola.

Feb 18-20 American String Teachers Association Annual Convention in Santa Clara– Feb 18 I have been invited to present masterclasses for the finalists in the Alternative Styles youth strings competition

Feb 21 Seattle, WA – Lucid Jazz Lounge, with Chris Morton Trio. Sets at 8pm and 10pm.

Feb 23 Albuquerque –Clinic at University of New Mexico


In the middle of it all will be two days in Santa CLara for the American String Teachers Association annual convention
I try to make it to ASTA every year, but this is my second year with my own exhibitor’s booth. I’ll be promoting the Creative Strings Workshop along with my suite of services and products related to Creative String Playing. And, of course, just making the hang with cool folks who make it out to the conference. Hopefully there will be a bit of jamming.
In fact, I believe I volunteered to help coordinate some sort of official jam at the conference.
I always have fun hanging with my friends from Yamaha Strings, D’Adddario, String Project Los Angeles, and of course cool cats like Jeremy Cohen, Jeremy Kittel, Bert Ligon, Renata Bratt, Martin Norgaard, Scott Laird,i.e., the creative string players who have been doing it all along, even before it was recognized as a “legitimate” trend among the string education community at large. Congratulations to all these friends of mine for staying the course.
I think all of us share the belief that Jazz is not just a “style” of music. Classical musical training is a wonderful thing, but it leaves musicians incomplete and unfulfilled for three reasons:
  1. It doesn’t develop an understanding of how music is constructed. When I played classical violin I never had any idea what the chords were going on underneath all the melodies I played.
  2. It doesn’t encourage personal creativity. Ok, someone will argue that “classical musicians are creative”. Of course, they’re creative to a point. But there’s a HUGE difference in the kind of creativity that goes on if you’re interpreting the Vivaldi Four Seasons vs. writing your own piece of music, or  improvising a solo.
  3. It doesn’t offer a broad cultural frame of reference. Classical music is stuck within the Western European Canon, more or less. What about all the other cultures of the world and the paradigms for understanding they offer? What about they’re music?
Slowly but steadily, the string education community is coming around. I’m grateful for the growing community of folks who assure me that what I’m doing has given meaning to them in their pursuit of their art. And I’m grateful for colleagues that have been around like me, and longer, fighting for this movement that we wondered whether it would ever catch on.
It will be good to see you guys at ASTA!  If anyone is looking for a badge and/or room for the convention, give me a heads up at chris@christianhowes.com
Image from Yamaha Strings

Image from Yamaha Strings

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