May 15, 2019

Creative Strings Academy

Are you a violinist, violist, or cellist interested in becoming a more creative, versatile musician?

If you would you like to…

Gain fluency in improvisation and contemporary styles,

Feel more creatively self-expressed,

Attract wider musical opportunities,

(Teachers) provide curriculum relevant to your students’ needs or…

Give your students the skills and confidence to try something new on their own,

Whether you’re a beginning or advanced improvisor, if you answered “yes” to anything above  then…


Join Creative Strings Academy today, FREE!

Become a more creative, versatile string player (or teacher) with online training and personalized feedback. Increase your skill, opportunities, and impact.

Gain access to over 250 video lessons

$70+ Free downloads (keep forever)

Take a Free private lesson


Creative Strings Academy Membership
  • Grow beyond classical
  • 24/7 access to over 200+ online videos & materials
Join Now! Cancel anytime.
Price: $39.95

-Become fluent in improvisation:

  • Gain skills to improvise in styles beyond classical.

-Open your ears:

  • Recognize chord progressions,  accompaniment parts and harmonies.

-Attract more professional opportunities

-Teachers: Bring your studio into the 21st century


Free Downloads with Subscription:


Ultimate Scale Resource– Think,Flesch, Galamian, and Kreutzer for contemporary players“. Scales are provided in extended range for violin, viola, and cello in all twelve keys. The forward explains how to optimize scale practice to develop harmonic fluency.

(Sells normally for $19.95)


arpeggios for jazz violin cello and viola Ultimate Arpeggio Resource: All commonly used seventh chords are provided in all inversions for violin, cello, and viola, in all keys. The extensive forward outlines how to use this book to expand your harmonic vocabulary and improvise with greater comfort and ease.

(Sells normally for $19.95)


violin harmony handbookThe 70-page Violin Harmony Handbook is packed with practice exercises, a chord glossary, and solo transcriptions. It’s like Paganini for improvisers.

(Sells normally for $34.95)




-Receive personal feedback through video exchange


-Limited Time Offer– Schedule a free private Skype lesson when you join today.

Creative Strings Academy Membership
  • Grow beyond classical
  • 24/7 access to over 200+ online videos & materials
Join Now! Cancel anytime.
Price: $39.95

About me, Christian Howes:

Classically trained from age 5, I became hungry for new challenges in my teens.

That curiosity helped me develop the skills to go beyond classical, the freedom to be creatively self-expressed, and the insight to teach others.

While teaching as an Associate Professor at Berklee College of Music, my work was adopted, and is still used, as required study for all string majors.

I enjoyed working at Berklee, and decided to create an affordable alternative for string players to receive my training.

Since then I’ve taught classes at Juilliard, Eastman, Oberlin, Miami, and hundreds of other colleges, schools, and conferences, while refining this online platform and hosting intensive retreats worldwide.

Players who credit my teaching as an influence include:

Michael Doucet (Grammy winning Cajun fiddler), Aubrey Haney (Acclaimed Nashville Session Fiddler )

Leah Zeger (Hans Zimmer), Alex Hargreaves (Chris Thile), Andrea Whitt (Shania Twain & Zucchero Farinacci)

Mike Barnett (Ricky Skaggs), Jeremy Kittle (Turtle Island Quartet), Jason Anick (Swing Phenom)

Creative Strings Academy is widely regarded as the world’s most extensive resource for creative string players.

Now, during this special promotion, I welcome you to try it free.

What to Expect During Your Free Trial:

Immediate access to over 250 trainings.

A link to schedule a private Skype lesson on my calendar.

Access to personal feedback from me including actionable suggestions in response to your submissions.

Support in becoming a more versatile and creative musician, so you can upgrade skills, attract more professional opportunities, feel more creatively self-expressed, or expand your impact as a teacher.


A World of Improvisation, Contemporary Styles, & Related Subjects

You might be thinking, “I’ve already studied theory!”

But for most classically trained and fiddle-trained players, the theory we were given isn’t enough.

Because of the gaps in our training, we naturally struggle to both hear and apply harmony. 

This holds us back from improvising, arranging, and feeling confident playing in musical situations beyond our training.

Since many of us already know how to play our instrument pretty well, we’re led to assume:

“If I just listen and try harder, I’ll get it.”

This usually doesn’t work, because we weren’t taught what to listen for.

Another common mistake is to confuse applying harmony with learning a new style of music.

A simple way to resolve this is by separating these two skills like this:

 1: Applying Harmony

 2: Internalizing Style and Rhythm

This simple tweak helped me more easily adapt to play Bluegrass, Rock, Pop, Jazz, Latin, EDM, R&B, Blues, etc…

While I’m not a master of every style, this approach has helped me to be musical in all of them. 

With a few key ideas, you can develop the ability to play in these styles without memorizing licks or special techniques.

Busting the Myth of “Having a Good Ear”

Most classical musicians are limited by their training to recognize classical melodies in the register of the violin.

I learned classical violin at first by ear. Like most Suzuki kids, i was proud of my ability to recognize pitches.

I didn’t become aware of how limited my ears were until I started to try to recognize sounds beyond my classical comfort zone.

When I joined a rock band in high school, my bandmates seemed to understand the music more easily. 

  • I couldn’t recognize notes below the register of the violin
  • I couldn’t recognize chords
  • I couldn’t recognize melodies which were different than classical

Playing rock music seemed hard to do, even though I enjoyed listening to it.

So, I started to pay attention to how parts of a song fit together.

After transcribing everything slowly by ear at first, I discovered that I could speed up the process by using my ability to read.

By combining active listening with reading, my ears developed faster.

That was empowering!

I had just needed to know what to listen and look for, and then I began to “get it” like my friends in the rock band.

This created the necessary confidence to move forward.

How to Visualize Harmony on a String instrument:

The piano is naturally built like a harmonic grid, while the fingerboard of a violin, viola, or cello is not.

I struggled for a long time to see harmony on the violin fingerboard.

Then I discovered that visualizing it on paper could speed up the process, like training wheels help people learn to ride a bike.

I developed a tool to make this easy for anyone with basic music reading skills.

Here it is, applied to Pachelbel’s Canon:

pachebel chord stacks

Most people visualize an arpeggio or chord in root position, which leaves out the connections between chord tones across your instrument. 

The diagram above fixes this,  showing all the points of connection. This is what a musician who has internalized harmony sees in their mind’s eye.

It may seem obvious, but the trick is in how you apply it.

I came up with a dozen exercises to help you internalize this in a course called “Easy Tonal Improvisation”.  

The course is a game-changer. It sells separately for $24.95, or you can access it free by signing up for a free trial here.

After an hour or two with these exercises, I can bet you’ll never look at harmony the same way again. 

Once you understand the framework in this course, the courses following will show you more ways to integrate  into your practice.

I’ll Show You:

– the quickest ways to memorize harmony without the diagram.

– the ultimate scales and arpeggios resources for violin, viola, and cello.

-how to master complex harmonies in the Violin Harmony Handbook.


The best part:  Instead of practicing more, you’ll accomplish more by changing the way you practice.


You might be wondering, “Do I need to spend years mastering harmony before I can start improvising?”

The creative facet of your practice is something you can develop now, regardless of the level you’re at.

This brings me to the third pillar of my curriculum:

Developing Your Creative Process

Balancing the analytical and creative sides of practicing has helped me to focus and retain more, while feeling more inspired to practice (instead of going through the motions). 

It allows me to both internalize new information and express myself creatively, within limits of my knowledge and technique. 

Without adding more practice time. 

Wouldn’t you like to practice in a way that feels fresh and inspires you?

The creative process exercises will show you:

-How to create something new every time you pick up your instrument

-How to improvise free from harmonic constraints

-How to constructively critique your own creative work


Classical training provides important foundations.

But let’s face it- It also leaves a lot out.

I’ll help you bridge the gap via three pillars of my approach:

-Applying Harmony

-Internalizing Style and Rhythm

-Developing a Creative Process


My teaching takes into account the needs of elite classical players, students, Suzuki teachers, K-12 orchestra teachers, fiddlers, collegiate players, and amateurs.

Whether you’re just beginning to go beyond classical, an intermediate improviser, or an advanced jazz player, you’ll become a more versatile and creative player (or teacher) with access to the course materials below, including video trainings, downloadable PDF’s, and backing tracks.

Training for All Levels (Violin, Viola, & Cello)

Jazz Scales for Violin, Viola, and Cello eBook (Download)

Scales in extended range for violin, viola, and cello in all keys.  Including how to develop harmonic fluency, using this as a visual aid and time saver.

Sells normally for $19.95


Arpeggios for Jazz Violin, Cello, and Viola (Download) 

arpeggios for jazz violin cello and viola Seventh chords are provided in all inversions for the ranges of violin, cello, and viola, in all keys. The extensive forward outlines how to use this book to expand your harmonic vocabulary and  improvise with greater comfort and ease.

Sells normally for $19.95

Free Improvisation Master Series (Video Download)

Begin creating now regardless of your current level. Gain concrete steps to help you develop a personal sound.  Develop a clear value system for improvisation in any setting.

Sells normally for $25.00

Teaching Improvisation Series (Video Download)

Improvisation for classical musiciansFor teachers! This series focuses on ways to teach improvisation to students of all ages.

Sells normally for $24.95

violin harmony handbookThe 70-page Violin Harmony Handbook is packed with conceptual, intuitive, and analytical practice exercises, a chord glossary, and solo transcriptions.

(Think “Paganini for improvisers!”)

Sells normally for $34.95


Jazz Violin Harmony Fundamentals Series Bundle (Videos and Handbook – Downloads)

Concepts discussed in the handbook above are demonstrated in this series of videos.

Sells normally for $45.00

Easy Tonal Improvisation (Video and Worksheet Download)

Great for all levels of classically trained players with basic reading skills. Using the “chord stacks” diagram, you’ll glide through chord progressions, literally connecting the dots to form coherent melodies, accompaniments, or arrangements in many styles. Also great for making your own Youtube covers, looping, arranging your parts for a band, and much more.

Sells normally for $24.95

Bach Prelude For Electric Violin and Loop Pedal Series

Jazz Violin Tutorial w/ Loop Pedal on Bach PreludeA four-part series related to my arrangement of Bach’s Prelude No. 1 in G Major. Use a loop pedal to create layers of improvisations.  Gain insights into odd time signatures and structuring your improvisation with more variety.

Sells normally for $24.95

Blues Improvisation Series (Video and Backing Tracks Download)

 If you want to sound “less classical-sounding”, this will help you play more authentically within Blues-related idioms including Pop, Rock, R and B, Jazz, Gospel, or Hip Hop.  Learn to develop harmonic tension and release by combining two blues scales (most people miss out on this!)

Sells normally for $24.95

How to Play Bossa and Samba for Bowed Strings- While Bossa and Sambas are traditional forms from Brazil, they’re at the core of more music than you probably realize. You’ll learn how to feel the clave and adapt your melodies to fit the clave. You’ll also be able to create your own accompaniment parts and learn to arrange songs in these styles.

Sells normally for $24.95

These are appropriate if you’re an advanced improviser or you’re interested in playing Jazz:

Diminished Scale Master Series (Video and MP3 Download)

The Diminished scale is an essential sonic color in modern jazz. One of the most magical scales, you’ll get step by step exercises to help you integrate this Modern Jazz vernacular into your playing.

Sells normally for $19.95



Bebop Scales Master Series (Video and Worksheet Download)

This course will help you play fast streams of 8th notes over jazz standards, sound authentic within the Jazz lexicon, and play over 2-5-1 progressions easily. The secrets of the bebop scale, known to seasoned jazz musicians, are laid out here step by step for violinists, violists, and cellists.

Sells normally for $19.95


Melodic Minor Series (Advanced)

The melodic minor scale is one of the essential tools used by expert jazz players to express modern jazz vernacular, and in this series you’ll quickly understand how to add this sound to your vocabulary.

Sells normally for $19.95

You’ll also discover:

-Chopping & Rhythmic Extended Techniques

-How to use modal improvisation in Rock, EDM, Bluegrass, world music, or jazz.

-How to break out of playing the same three licks.

-20th Century Classical-sounding free improvisation

-How to use Amplification, Effects, and Looping,

-How to interpret a chord chart on first sight

-Balancing sequencing and randomness

-The secret to performing unaccompanied without sounding boring or like something is missing

-Bonus transcriptions and scores.

-If there’s something you want that’s missing (within reason), I’ll create it.


You may be wondering, “Is Creative Strings Academy right for me?”

If you can say “yes” to any of these questions, I believe you’re perfect for Creative Strings Academy:

-Are you over the age of 12 with at least a few years experience playing violin, viola, or cello?

-Do you teach private lessons or k-12 strings?

-Do you have a classical or fiddle background?

-Are you a seasoned improviser or jazz player, looking for more advancement and depth?

My Guarantee:

If you spend as little as two hours per week with this course, you’ll gain specific takeaways regarding:

-How to make more of your practice time,

-How to dissect the harmonic and rhythmic components of any tune

-How to develop your own personal sound

-How to make sense of different styles of music beyond classical

TeachersHelp your students with new curriculum relevant to their needs


The Best Part:

If you think there’s a chance Creative Strings Academy will work for you, enroll today and see for yourself.

If not, simply cancel during 30 days, without paying a dime.

You’ll still receive four of my most popular downloadable resources, and a free private lesson if you want.

What’s training like this Worth to You?

-You could get somewhat comparable training at Berklee, Manhattan School, USC, paying over $30,000 per year in tuition alone.

-You could do more research, hire a private teacher in your city, for about $300 per month.

Or, you could consider everything I’ve shared here, and…

Get it Free.

Try Creative Strings Academy free for 30 days.

Enjoy streaming access to all course materials.

Download all literature (to keep forever)

Get access to personal feedback from me on a regular basis

Schedule a free private lesson

If you’re not thrilled with the value you get from this, simply send an email to cancel.

If you love it and stay past 30 days, you’ll be billed $39.95 per month.

That’s less than half the cost of one private lesson!

Get Personalized Feedback

When you submit videos or questions, I personally respond, so you can improve the things that are important to you.

Connect One to One

Schedule a free private lesson, and we’ll find the best path for you, so you’re getting exactly what you want.

No risk!

Subscribe free for 30 days, with no obligation.

If you decide to stay past 30 days, pay $39.95 per month (cancel anytime).

Take advantage of this special offer now before it goes away.

Creative Strings Academy Membership
  • Grow beyond classical
  • 24/7 access to over 200+ online videos & materials
Join Now! Cancel anytime.
Price: $39.95