Creative Strings Academy- Learn Improvisation & Contemporary Styles

String Players: Are you interested in becoming a more creative, versatile musician or teacher?

What You'll Learn:

✔️ Gain comfort with improvisation & contemporary styles
✔️ Develop musical confidence & independence
✔️ Attract more diverse projects & collaborations

What's Included:

✔️ Access to 200+ online videos & materials
✔️ Access to all my premium courses (details below)
✔️ A Free Private Skype Lesson with me
✔️ Downloads of all literature & backing tracks

JOIN TODAY  and get started on your journey


Recording with a Loop Pedal by the 6th Lesson

Rachel and I learned so much practicing through the modules. I started with no cello improv skills beyond 2 pentatonic scales and by the 6th lesson I was recording videos for YouTube with a looper and trying his techniques in my own teaching.

Neil Gilfillan & Rachel Samson Chili Dog Strings Suzuki Teaching Studio

Pragmatic and Actionable Approach to Improvisation

I‘ve tried a few approaches to learn improvisation on violin but Christian’s approach was by far the most pragmatic and immediately actionable, without being reductionist.

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

Act now to access my biggest course to date, “Playing Without A Net” as well as ALL premium courses below on this page.

“the only course I know that teaches you to accompany yourself with (bowed string) instruments, applied beyond classical music with elements for the complete understanding of musical activity (harmony, rhythm, melody, etc.)

Imagine being able to create your own works like this:

Or this:

What to Expect from the new course, “Playing Without a Net”

You’ll get Hours of sequential video training w/ PDFs teaching you how to improvise and arrange in:

-Solo, Duo, Trio, Quartet

classical, latin, jazz, pop, folk, R&B, et al

-bass, inner voices, melody, and rhythm

-How to arrange on the fly to make unaccompanied playing sound full

You’ll Also Get:

-Foundational exercises to ingrain harmonic concepts in your fingers quickly

-The 70-page Violin Harmony Handbook- “an incredible resource; really well thought-out, lot’s of great ideas & exercises.”

-fundamental approach to harmony for noobs

-Complex voicings and tricks for super advanced

-Rhythmic approach for different styles in duo, trio, and quartet

-three extended clinics that you can play along with.“it’s powerful that you were able to take a bunch of high school students, and take them as far as you did. So, anyone can learn this stuff.”

Here’s a final example:

Comments from the teachers and players who took the course:

-“A very hands-on method to help musicians who might have a fear of improvising..”

-“It showed me that unaccompanied playing is attainable- it’s comforting to have a great teacher organize the pieces for me.”

-“I see now that there is a path and logic to what seems to be totally talent-driven improvisation.”

-“Brilliant. Heartfelt and honest.”

This is just my latest course. You’ll get so much more, including:

Free Downloads


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 $29.95)




-Private mentoring from me 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)


Among the top 5 best jazz violinists

I consider Chris Howes to be among the top 5 best jazz violinists of the new generation.

You’ll get all of this:

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.


A World of Improvisation, Contemporary Styles, & Related Subjects

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

Because of gaps in classical training, most classical players struggle to hear and apply harmony. 

This holds us back from feeling confident in general.

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

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

Another common mistake is to try to learn many new things at once- a recipe for disaster. I encourage you to separate your study into three pillars:

 – Harmony

 – Styles & Rhythmic Forms

Creative Process

This organizational shift helped me adapt faster to be able to play musically in many styles.

With a few key ideas, you can develop the ability to play in many styles without memorizing endless licks.

Busting the Myth of “Having a Good Ear”

Like most Suzuki kids, I was proud of my ability to recognize pitches.

I didn’t realize how limited my ears were until I started to try to recognize other sounds.

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.

By combining listening with reading, my ears developed faster.

I had just needed to know what to listen and look for.

How to Visualize Harmony on a String instrument:

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

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

I developed a visual aid for this. kind of like a diagram. 

The diagram shows all the points of connection in the chord progressions, i.e. voice leading.  By reading along with it, and applying a few exercises, you’ll never look at harmony the same way again. 

This is all in the course called “Easy Tonal Improvisation”.  

The course is a game-changer. It sells for $69, but you can access it (and all my courses) with your membership.


Once you understand the framework of Easy Tonal Improvisation, I’ll show you:

– the quickest ways to memorize harmony without the diagram.

– the ultimate scale and arpeggio 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.

Developing Your Creative Process

You might assume that you need to spend years mastering harmony before you can be creative.

Actually, you can develop creative improvisation now, regardless of the level you’re at.

My 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 evaluate your creative works

Wherever you’re at right now in your study of technique, theory, or style..


Classical training provides important foundations.

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

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


-Stylistic & Rhythmic Forms

-Creative Process

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 practice them.

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 $50.00


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

*****Just Added- “Playing Without a Net”.  This course alone sells for $125.


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.

“Is it 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

You’ll still receive four of my most popular downloadable resources, and a free private lesson if you want. The 30-minute lesson is easily worth $100.

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 for much less than that

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. I’ll sit down to chat with you over Skype and help point you in the right direction.

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



Nothing but the best

I’m floored and grateful for all Chris's very helpful advice. I’ve heard nothing about the best about Chris and that certainly shows here. His advice is heartfelt, generous and cogent.

Stefanie Stellars Musician, Educator

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.

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