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Post-Classical: FInding yourself as a creative musician w cellist Mike Block – Creative Strings Podcast Ep. 17

“I really enjoyed finding myself in different contexts and being able to explore different parts of myself in different styles.”

Master Classical Cellist turned Eclectic Creative Musician

I sat down with Cellist Mike Block to discuss his shift from classical training at Cleveland Institute of Music and Juilliard to becoming an improviser and composer in the worlds of contemporary (“non-classical”) styles. Mike definitely drops some bombs that surprised me:) We also discuss summer music camps including the Mike Block String Camp and the Creative Strings Workshop.

Scroll down to listen in and learn about:

  • Mike’s classical training and how it helped him transition to playing in multiple styles (and vice versa)
  • His happiness “checklist” and how he applies it to the various aspects of his lifestyle, career, and choice of musical projects
  • The transformative potential of music camps, and new challenges in organizing them to serve creative musical ideals
  • His work with Yo-Yo Ma, and perspectives on “world music”

Huge thank you to our sponsor Electric Violin Shop, your one-stop shop for electric instruments, amps, gear, accessories, and most of all, expertise. Use code CHOWES at checkout and take 5% off of your order. Call 866-900-8400 to get your questions answered on “all things electric strings”.

While you are talking to EVS, be sure to ask them about the new Yamaha Electric Violin (you can check out my video review here). I’ve been a Yamaha performing artist for almost 20 years now and am very proud to be a part of the Yamaha family.

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The Block Strap

As Mike became more enveloped in “alternative” styles, he found that being seated while performing prevented him from connecting him with his audience. He invented the “Block Strap” to allow him to play cello standing and move while he plays, and it just may change the world of cello forever. Learn more about the block strap at www.cellostrap.com

Clips in this episode

Please leave us a comment and tell us what you liked most about this episode!

Looking for episode 16?   Check out the mini episode here:

featuring the audio from my Prince Tribute video.


Creative Strings Podcast explores intersections between creativity, music education, string playing, music business, and culture.


Thanks to our sponsors for supporting the Creative Strings Podcast. Their support makes it possible to invest in the production of each episode and bring you great stories like this.

Visit Electric Violin Shop, your one-stop shop for electric instruments, amps, gear, accessories, and expertise. Use code CHOWES at checkout and take 5% off of your order. Call 866-900-8400 to get your questions answered on “all things electric strings”.

Ask them about the Yamaha Electric Violin,(check out my video review here). 

Are you a string player/teacher interested in exploring improvisation, contemporary styles, and related subjects?

Take a free introductory private Skype lesson (limited avails) Attend an upcoming workshop

If you enjoyed my interview with Andrea Whitt, check out these related posts:

Full Interview with Jazz Violinist Regina Carter Creative Practice Strategies for Violin, Viola, and Cello Full Interview with Jazz Violinist Jason Anick

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“Creative Strings” initiatives with the founding of Camille Catherine, Inc., is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to the expansion and improvement of music education, with a focus on the development of curriculum and programs for classically trained string players and teachers to expand their skills as creative musicians.