November 6, 2017

Creative Strings Workshop – Lausanne, Switzerland (Feb. 1-3, 2019)

Improvisation and Contemporary Styles for Bowed String Players

Presented by Christian Howes and Baiju Bhatt

Creative Strings Workshop Lausanne

This intensive mini-conference includes masterclasses, group lessons, and chamber music coaching for performers and teachers on bowed strings seeking transformative growth and professional development. 

A Focus on Creative Musicianship Free Improvisation, Arranging, Composition, Modal, Harmonic, and Rhythmic internalization, Contemporary styles, and related subjects. 

Performers and teachers of all levels are welcome, including advanced jazz players and those with no improvisation training.


Compagnie Albertine

Route de Genève 46

1004 Lausanne



500 CHF 

*Order or place your 150 CHF deposit by November 30 to receive a 150 CHF Super Early Bird discount on tuition*


Friday, February 1st : 10h-18h
Saturday, February 2nd : 10h-18h
Sunday, February 3rd : 10h-17h


  1. Become creatively self-expressed and develop your musical voice.
  2. Internalize harmony on your instrument
  3. Become fluent in contemporary styles so you can jam with musicians outside of classical music.
  4. Be able to use amplification and effects.
  5. Get gigs and expand career opportunities
  6. Teachers: Gain age-appropriate sequences to share with students
  7. Gain comfort in improvisation, composition, and arranging.

Detailed Curriculum:

Improvisation, Contemporary Styles, and Related subjects for classically trained string players.

Creative Strings Workshop

Tonal Improvisation, Arranging, and Composition

Through a series of interactive exercises, participants will learn how to create functional melodies over chord progressions.

Improvisation and composition are demystified as we discover how to construct melodies, bass lines, and accompaniment parts. 

Participants will improvise over chord progressions in a wide variety of styles.

* This session integrates composition, voice leading, arranging, contemporary styles/techniques, and tonal improvisation.


Amplification, Looping, & Effects In The Classroom, Practice Room, & Stage

Short/description: Using loop pedals and effects with amplified string instruments is fun, challenging, and rewarding. This session presents an overview of how to use loops and effects as a tool for teaching, practice, and performance. Gain insights into the basics of looping technology, how to create loops, common issues with looping, and how to go beyond the basics.

Related Video:


  1. Blues as a historical and cultural phenomenon
  2. As a literary form
  3. As a musical form – Harmonically/Melodically/Rhythmically, in many iterations
  4. As an intangible (and invisible to many) musical element which shows up in many styles of American music (this is arguably tied to #2 above, i.e., culture)
  5. The practice of combining the major and minor pentatonic and/or blues scales
  6. Examining how bass lines and inner voice patterns show up in common iterations of 12 bar blues, and various common rhythmic/dance forms.


Free Improvisation and Non-Tonal Composition ? ?

Participants will compose in small groups using “composition games.” During this interactive session you will feel empowered by the end of the session to perform your compositions and apply what you learned in your daily practice or teaching.

Related Videos:

Conducted Group Improvisation

Using cue cards and a system of hand signals, Christian teaches and leads conduction of large group improvisation.  Engage in call and response, looping, vamps, modal grooves, occasional musical chaos.

Participants can also conduct the improvising ensemble!

Conduction is a popular practice among contemporary ensembles worldwide, including small groups and even orchestras.

Christian’s approach to conduction borrows from a variety of sources and caters to the skill set of classically trained string players.

Modal approach to improvisation:  Advanced and/or Intermediate.  How to apply a modal approach as an improviser, arranger, or composer.

Related Video:


Internalizing Harmony on the Violin, Viola, and Cello 

An exhaustive approach to internalizing harmony on bowed string instruments. Including voice leading arpeggios, scales, and double stops and triple stops. Internalizing chord progressions via bass line, inner voices, and sequential patterns.  

Related Videos: “Anatomy of a Groove” Playlist

Music Business – 

The Music Biz Mastermind seminar is based on the program Christian has used to help many professional musicians attract more projects, gigs, students, and clients, as detailed in testimonials from graduates HERE.

Most freelancers lack a fundamental orientation towards basic sales and marketing. These skills, combined with clarifying goals, are at the core of this module.

Partners: Compagnie Albertine, EJMA, Red Sun Prod.



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