ready to go past playing prescribed parts?

November 11, 2013


Christian Howes has the ability to present a variety of clinics in your school, all of which can easily be catered to the needs of your students. Below are some of the clinics that have been presented in the past.


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, which are often seen as huge obstacles in unleashing a student’s full creative potential.


2) Composition: Students learn quickly to compose in small groups using “composition games.” Students have more fun learning when it’s outside of the standard “classroom” atmosphere. By making music a game, students enjoy themselves more while still learning the material. When students are enjoying themselves, they’re likely to branch out and become more creative. At the end of the session, they perform their pieces for each other.


3) “Improvising with Pachelbel” – Easy Tonal ImprovisationThrough 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. Preview the lesson in the video to the right.


4) Conducted Group Improvisation: Using cue cards and a system of hand signals, Christian conducts a large ensemble in “free” improvisation. Many argue that true musicianship doesn’t come from the sheet music. By taking the attention off of the music stand, students can play from what’s on the mind, not on the paper in front of them. Students find this very fun, and can also be easily incorporated into a final concert.


violinist educator can come into your school to teach electric violin and strings5) Electric Strings: Learn the “A-Z” of electric violins, violas, and cellos! Students always have a blast playing with electric instruments. You’ll learn everything you need to know about electric string instruments, including amplification, pick-ups, effects, loop pedals, and other cool technology. Nowadays, teachers are finding new ways to incorporate electric technology in the classroom, and this may be the jump you need to take your strings program to the next level. 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. When a student knows the idioms behind a genre of music, they can begin to play that style of music and perform outside of the box. This can be incorporated into other clinics or rehearsals without the need for a dedicated session.


7) Teacher Training: Teacher training in jazz, improvisation, and electric strings is very highly encouraged to ensure that teachers and students are on the same page. It also lets you “take the wheel” after Christian’s visit into your school is over. 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 pedals, distortion pedals, and more.


Before and after your event you can engage your students in deeper learning through the “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. New in 2014, Yamaha will provide your classroom with a free membership for you and your students to use ahead of Christian’s arrival.


Would you like more info on how you can bring Christian Howes into your school? Call or email Tiffany Goodman – 772.283.2830 // tiffany@goodmanartists.com