Creative Strings Academy- Learn Improvisation & Contemporary Styles

String Players: Are you ready to become a more creative, versatile musician or teacher?

String Players: Are you ready to become a more
creative, versatile musician or teacher?

What you’ll Gain:

Gain comfort with improvisation in any style
✓ The ability to make your own covers, loops, accompaniments
✓ Attract more opportunities to perform, jam, or collaborate
✓ Teachers: teach skills relevant to your students

What's Included:

✓ Access to all premium courses (below)
✓ A Free private lesson with me
✓ Downloads of all literature and backing tracks
✓ Regular personalized feedback via email or video exchange

JOIN TODAY and get started

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 ALL premium courses below on this page.

“The only course I know for bowed string instruments to go 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:

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

You’ll get 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, rhythm

-Arrange on the fly 

-Sound full playing unaccompanied

You'll Also Get:

-Foundational exercises to ingrain harmonic concepts in your fingers quickly

-The 70-page Violin Harmony Handbook- “an incredible resource; well-thought-out.”

– Applied harmony for noobs

-Complex voicings  for  advanced 

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

-Clinics that you can play along with.“It’s powerful that you were able to take high school students 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 hands-on method to help musicians who might have a fear of improvising.."

"It showed 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, "Playing Without a Net".

Free Downloads

Ultimate Scale Resource– Think,Flesch, Galamian, and Kreutzer for contemporary players“. Scales 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: Commonseventh chords are provided in all inversions for violin, cello, and viola, in all keys. The 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 Zoom 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 creative, and insights to teach others.

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

I decided to create an affordable way for string players to receive my training. I’ve taught classes at Juilliard, Eastman, Oberlin, Miami, and hundreds of colleges, schools, and conferences while refining this online platform and hosting 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), & more…

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:

Immediate access to all courses.

A link to schedule a free private lesson

Access to personal feedback from me monthly via email or video exchange

A World of Improvisation, Contemporary Styles, & Related Subjects

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

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

We improvise inconsistently if at all.

Since we already know how to play our instrument, we’re led to assume wrongly:

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

Another common mistake is to practice too many new things at once.

 I encourage you to separate practice into three pillars:

Stylistic & Rhythmic Forms
Creative Processes

Since this is based on fundamentals, you’ll gain the ability to adapt your playing to many styles without memorizing licks or obsessing over stylistic nuances.

Busting the Myth of “Having a Good Ear”

Like most Suzuki kids, I was proud of my ability to learn melodies by ear.

I didn’t realize how limited my ears were until I joined a rock band in high school and discovered that I could not recognize:

  •  notes below the register of the violin
  •  chords
  •  melodies that were different than classical

When I combined listening with reading, my ears developed faster.

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

How to Visualize Harmony on a String Instrument:

I struggled 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. like a diagram. 

The diagram shows all the points of connection in the chord progressions.  By reading along with it, and applying a few exercises, you’ll never look at harmony the same way again.  This is all in my course, “Easy Tonal Improvisation”.   The course 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 in less time by integrating the practice of improvisation, harmony, and technique.

Honoring Your Creative Process

You might assume that you need to spend years mastering harmony before you can be creative. With my framework, you’ll be able to start in five minutes, regardless of technical ability or theoretical understanding.
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 now in terms 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 that gap via the three pillars of my approach:
-Harmony -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 courses below, including video, 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 any player 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. Great for making Youtube covers, looping, arranging your parts for a band, and 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  Bach’s Prelude No. 1 in G Major. Use a loop pedal to create layers of improvisations. Play in odd time signatures and structure 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 be able to create your own accompaniment parts and arrange 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 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 clearly 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

 ** New: “Playing Without A Net”. See the top of this page for details.

Sells normally for $125

You’ll also discover:

-Chopping & Rhythmic Extended Techniques -Modal improvisation for Rock, EDM, Bluegrass, & world music. -How to break out of playing the same licks. -20th Century Classical-sounding free improvisation -How to use Amplification, Effects, and Looping, -How to interpret a chord chart at first sight -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 of 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 takeaways including: -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 TeachersGive your students a new curriculum relevant to their needs
You’ll receive seven of my most popular downloadable resources and a free 30-minute private with me lesson valued at $100.

What’s training like this Worth to You?

-You could get somewhat comparable training at a top conservatory paying over $30,000 per year in tuition alone. -You could do 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 with a leading expert. 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 I’ll point out opportunities to grow quickly in accordance with your goals.

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

Creative Strings Workshop

October 4th

Enroll now to save $ during Early Registration for our next cycle of Guided Practice Sessions beginning
October 4th.