Will you come to Switzerland?

Creative Strings Workshop | Asheville (June/July)

An intimate, transformative music retreat for bowed string players and teachers

Session A: Sun., June 30th – Fri., July 5th
Session B: Sun., July 7th – Fri., July 12th

Build Musicianship, Gain Confidence

Study in a supportive environment (max 20 people) w/ Christian Howes & friends.

Seasoned pros to adult learners with as little as 3 years playing experience are welcome. Our summer music program is for violin, viola, cello, fiddle, including teen, college and adult.  We  welcome private Suzuki violin teachers, orchestra classroom teachers, and all teachers of violin, viola, and cello. To learn more, email chris@christianhowes.com or schedule a free exploratory call.

Teachers- meet national standards for music education in improvisation, composition, arranging, and eclectic styles. 

Hear from Participants

Immerse Yourself​

Find focus and calm in the beautiful Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy at the Christmount Retreat and Conference Center

Christmount Conference Center has plenty of space, indoors and outdoors, plus easy access to mountain hikes, water holes, woods, rivers, and other attractions.

Stay on-site in a private room with mini-fridge, microwave, bathroom, and two queen beds.

Practice and rehearse in the conference rooms, on the deck, outside in nature, or in your room.

Enjoy eating in the dedicated dining hall or outside near the garden.

From Sunday check-in (around 3 pm) to Friday breakfast- you’ll be surrounded by music, nature, and friends!

Local residents can commute- although we’d love for you to stay with us!

Want professional development but don’t want to travel?
Take an online workshop instead.

Participants of this Summer Music Camp will be subject to federal, state, and venue-based health and safety policies at the time of the events.   You can review current venue policies here

Transform your Musicianship

Connect with motivated  players and teachers in a supportive and nurturing environment of our music retreat.

Experience progress and accountability without vibing or negative judgment with the support of Christian, guest artists, and other participants.

Customizable Experience

Prior to the Fiddle Retreat, set your own goals to improve

Personalized Instruction

Customize your experience to focus on your own goals

Unique Experiences

Two different participants can have different experiences even on the same day and week

Prior to the fiddle camp we’ll set goals so that we can focus on the areas that you want to improve. The experience is customizable to your goals.  For example, two different participants on the same day in the same week might have the following experiences:

Session A

9:00 am Breakfast

10:00 am Conducted Free Improv

11:30 am Rehearse in large ensemble

12:30 pm Lunch

1:30 pm Tune-writing workshop

2:30 pm independent practice

3:40 pm 1-on-1 coaching

4:00 pm go for a swim

6:00 pm dinner

8:00 pm fiddle jam on deck

Session B

10:00 am Conducted Free Improv

11:30 am Rehearse in large ensemble

12:30 pm Lunch

1:30 pm Tonal improvisation workshop

2:30 pm Small group coaching

2:50 pm Small group rehearsal

4:00 pm independent practice

5:00 pm Grocery store run for late night snacks

6:00 pm dinner

8:00 pm social hour

Share your Music

All participants are invited but not required to participate in a range of performances throughout the week. We will perform at the Railyard Black Mountain Wednesday and Thursday evenings. See the 2023 press release 

2023 Performances

We did about 1,000 combined hours of jamming/classes and 4 public concerts.

Not including the jams, here are (faculty & student) highlights curated from the 4 concerts for you:

Plan Your Trip​


Tuition is currently $1195.

Lock in the current tuition rate when you register below.

Choose Your Food and Housing

Housing options:

Participants may book on-site through us (recommended) or stay off-site.

On-site rates are per room, per night. Partners and families are welcome.

We can facilitate roommate searches if you wish.

The rate for 2022 was $75/room/night. Final onsite prices will be confirmed no later than a month before the music retreat.

Food options:

We will offer two meal plans for onsite meals:

  • breakfast/lunch/dinner
  • lunch/dinner only

Costs for similar meal plans in 2022 ranged from $113- $153. Final meal plan prices will be confirmed no later than a month before the retreat.

Off-site meals on concert evenings are the responsibility of participants.


Our special guest during Session A is award-winning composer Michael Jefrey Stevens. As part of our activities we will rehearse and perform his original compositions for strings and Jazz rhythm section. His music is an amazing vehicle for developing technique, rhythm, and improvisation in many styles. See examples in videos on this page from years past. 

Faculty for BOTH sessions  includes Camille Vogley-Howes and Karl Henry.

Camille and Karl are multi-genre players and teachers with a deep experience in jazz, classical, old-time, bluegrass, and Scandinavian folk music. 

Session A will feature special guest
Austin Scelzo

Austin is an specialist in Country and Bluegrass fiddling. Session A will cater more heavily to players who wish to jam in folk styles including Bluegrass, Country, Western Swing, Texas Style and Old-Time Fiddle and more.

He honed his fiddling skills at Mark O’Connor’s Berklee String Camps, mentored by Billy Contreras, Jason Anick, and Mark O’Connor, among others. Starting with the “Angry O’Haras,” Austin’s Bluegrass journey continued with “On the Trail,” contributing fiddle and vocals. Beyond performing, Austin teaches Wernick Method Jam classes and initiated the Connecticut Bluegrass Music Association. Recognizing his dedication, he was shortlisted for the International Bluegrass Music Association’s “Leadership Bluegrass”.


Jason is an specialist in Swing fiddling. Session B will cater more heavily to players who wish to jam in swing, manouge hot club jazz styles. 

He is an acclaimed jazz violinist and mandolinist known for his proficiency in the modern jazz and jazz manouche. Besides his instrumental prowess, Anick is also a composer and educator. He has released multiple albums featuring original compositions alongside modern interpretations of jazz standards. He has been a faculty member at Berklee College of Music in Boston, where he teaches string students how to navigate the world of jazz and improvisation. 

Register today


If you would like to attend both weeks of our summer music program, you can!  Just complete a separate deposit for each session.

Deposits are non-refundable except in the case of complete cancellation of the event by the organizers. Credit for future events may be granted in extenuating circumstances at the organizer’s discretion.  

Need help?  Schedule a call

If you are looking for the best summer music program for college or adult, or asking yourself “where can I find one of the best violin summer camps near me” you found it.

Creative Strings is a non-profit organization with a mission to support music education through outreach, summer conference, and online curriculum.