ready to go past playing prescribed parts?

Creative Strings Workshop | Asheville (June/July)

A transformative retreat for string players and teachers

Choose One of Two Weeks in Summer 2025

Session A: June 22th -June 27th
Session B: June 29th –  July 4th

Build Musicianship, Gain Confidence

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

Seasoned pros, teens, and adult learners with as little as 2 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

Our beautiful retreat site, 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.

Eat great food in the dedicated dining hall or outside near the garden.

Sunday  to Friday- surround yourself with music, nature, and friends!

Local residents can commute if you choose.

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

Federal, state, and venue-based health and safety policies apply.  

Transform your Musicianship

Connect with motivated  players and teachers in a nurturing environment 

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


The focus is on YOUR goals

Personalized Instruction

1-1 feedback in an intimate setting


The beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains; the convenienve of every amenity.

All classes are Optional, and you’ll have plenty of choices of activities!  Here’s A Sample Day:

Session A or B

9:00 am Breakfast

10:00 am Group Class

11:30 am Rehearsal

12:30 pm Lunch

1:30 pm 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 class

9:00 Jams and relax

Session A or B

9:00 am Breakfast

10:00 am Practice

11:00 am Small group Coaching 

12:30 pm Lunch

1:30 pm Rehearsal with coaching

2:30 pm Class

4:00 pm Rehearsal

5:00 pm Trail hike 

6:00 pm dinner

8:00 pm Class

9:00 Jams and party

Performance Opportunities

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 


4 Videos

2023 Performances

In addition to tons of jamming/classes, we host 4 public concerts.

Here are faculty & student highlights curated from the 4 concerts in 2023.

Plan Your Trip​


Tuition is $1,195. If you register before March 2025 you’ll save $200 (Early Bird). Register below

Choose Your Food and Housing

Housing options:

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

On-site rates are per room, per night. Partners and families are welcome. Standard rooms, including two queen beds, are $120 per night. You have the option to share with another participant to split the cost of the room.


Food options:

We offer two meal plans for onsite meals:

  • breakfast/lunch/dinner
  • lunch/dinner only

Costs for similar meal plans in 2023 ranged from $125- $175. 

Off-site meals on concert evenings are on your own.


Faculty for BOTH sessions  includes Christian Howes, 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 (June 22-June 27)

Austin is a specialist in  Bluegrass, Roots and Country fiddle teaching. In 2023 Austin was recognized by the  International Bluegrass Music Association as a finalist for Bluegrass Mentor of the Year.

 Both retreat sessions will include many ecectic styles, classes with Christian and extended faculty. Session A, June 22-June 27th will ALSO offer many opportunities to  jam and study within Bluegrass, Country, and Roots styles with Austin.


SESSION B WILL FEATURE SPECIAL GUEST jason anick (June 27- july 4)

While Jason is equally proficient in classical, modern Jazz, and fiddle styles, he is widely known for his expertise in S Jazz manouche. Anick is a faculty member at Berklee College of Music, where he teaches string students harmony, improvisation, and overall musicianship in eclectic styles. 

 Both retreat sessions (Session A and B) will include many eclectic styles, classes with Christian and extended faculty. Session B, June 27 – July 4, will ALSO offer many opportunities to  jam and study within swing, manouche, and hot club jazz. 

Our OTHER special guest during Session B 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.  They are amazing vehicles for  technique, rhythm, and improvisation in many styles. See example videos on this page from years past. 

Register today


Use this option only if you are an alumni (save an additional $100)

Session (Alumni)

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, or asking “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.