September 17, 2019

Creative Strings Workshop – Australia

Improvisation & Contemporary Styles for Bowed String Players

Featuring Christian Howes and Julian Ferraretto

ANNOUNCING! June 6-7th, 2020

This intensive mini-conference includes masterclasses, group lessons, and chamber-music coaching for performers and teachers on bowed strings seeking professional development. 

Creative Musicianship-improvisation, arranging, composition, internalization (modal, harmonic, rhythmic), contemporary styles, and related subjects.

Teen, adult, professional, amateur, advanced jazz players, beginning jazz players—all welcome.

Why You Want to Attend This

✓Become creatively self-expressed and develop your musical voice.

✓Internalize harmony on your instrument.

✓Become fluent in contemporary styles so you can jam with musicians outside of classical music.

✓Be able to use amplification and effects.

✓Get gigs and expand career opportunities.

✓Teachers: Gain age-appropriate sequences to share with students.

✓Gain comfort in improvisation, composition, and arranging.

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Discovering New Musical Horizons

I had a fantastic time at the Creative Strings Workshop - Switzerland. I've been discovering new musical horizons, listening to great lessons on improvisation by tremendous violinist Christian Howes, having inspiring conversations and music with the other participants, listening to excellent concerts. Simply feeling good and in the right place, judgement-free.

Many thanks to all of you and - of course - to the soul of this experience: thank you Baiju Bhatt for making this happen and for being caring and supportive.

Ms Elena Califano Violinist, Teacher

Schedule and Details:

2-day bootcamp

June 6-7th, 10 am-6 pm each day

Intro session, June 6th only.

The University of Adelaide
Elder Conservatorium
Hartley Concert Room
Kintore Avenue
Adelaide 500

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Improvisation, Arranging, and Composition

In this session, participants will learn how to create functional melodies over chord progressions through a series of interactive exercises.

Improvisation and composition are demystified as we discover how to construct melodies, bass lines, and accompaniment parts. 

Participants will improvise over chord progressions in a wide variety of styles.

*This session integrates composition, voice leading, arranging, contemporary styles/techniques, and tonal improvisation.

Amplification, Looping, & Effects in the Classroom, Practice Room, & Stage

This session presents an overview of how to use loops and effects as a tool for teaching, practice, and performance. Gain insights into how to create loops and how to go beyond the basics.

Blues as a historical and cultural phenomenon

  • As a literary form
  • As a musical form – harmonically/melodically/rhythmically, in many iterations
  • The practice of combining the major and minor pentatonic and/or blues scales
  • Examining how bass lines and inner voice patterns show up in common iterations of 12 bar blues, and various common rhythmic/dance forms.

Free Improvisation and Non-Tonal Composition

Participants will compose in small groups using “composition games.” During this interactive session you will feel empowered to perform your compositions and apply what you learned in your daily practice or teaching.

Conducted Group Improvisation

Using cue cards and a system of hand signals, Christian teaches and leads conduction of large group improvisation. Engage in call and response, looping, vamps, modal grooves, occasional musical chaos.

Participants can also conduct the ensemble!

Conduction is a popular practice among contemporary ensembles worldwide, including small groups and even orchestras.

Christian’s approach to conduction borrows from a variety of sources and caters to the skill set of classically trained string players.

Modal Approach to Improvisation

  • Advanced and/or intermediate
  • Apply a modal approach as an improviser, arranger, or composer.

Internalizing Harmony on the Violin, Viola, and Cello

  • Applying harmony on violin, viola, and cello
  • Including voice leading arpeggios, scales, and double stops and triple stops.
  • Internalizing chord progressions via bass line, inner voices, and sequential patterns.  


Life-changing experience

Creative Strings Workshop is truly a life-changing experience. The reason I want to keep coming back to CSW is because it has only ever made my life and craft better, and I probably would have quit music by now if not for the workshop and the community that surrounds it.

Rose Kow Xiu Yi Violinist

Supported and encouraged

I felt so supported and encouraged and I made so many friends and professional contacts in this “leave your ego at the door” environment. I truly felt that everyone at CSW entered in the spirit of mutual growth and sharing of knowledge. I love my Creative Strings community!

Sue Buzzard Violinist

Music Business Mastermind Seminar

This session is a seminar based on the program, The Music Biz Mastermind. Christian has used this to help many professional musicians attract more projects, gigs, students, and clients, as detailed in testimonials from graduates HERE.

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