Below you can purchase educational worksheets and videos, transcriptions, or any of my albums. The Creative Strings Academy
is my comprehensive guide to improvisation and alternative styles. Creative Strings Academy
members receive some of these products FREE with their membership!
Arguably one of Christian Howes' most popular resource, the 70-page Violin Harmony Handbook is packed with practical theory, practice exercises, conceptual, intuitive, and analytical tools as well as chord glossaries, and even solo violin transcriptions and charts. There is no guide more useful for beginning to advanced students of jazz violin. This version is in English.
It’s a jungle out there when it comes to amplifying, processing, and accessorizing electric bowed string instruments… This short, informative eBook cuts out the fluff and breaks down the simple basics you need to know to plug in start jamming on electric violin, viola, and cello. Whether to use Mic, Pickup, or Solid Body, to choose amplifiers or P.A.’s, and what kind of effects rig you’ll need- find out the advantages and disadvantages of all types of gear setups.
Video Lesson Downloads
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Improvise to Pachelbel's Canon with the Pachelbel Canon Chord Stacks series!
This easy-to-use course includes eight instructional videos, six play-along accompaniment tracks, 17 worksheets including the easy-to-use "chord stacks" diagram, and instructions for completing the module.
Great for ALL levels of classically trained instrumentalists (with basic reading skills!) Through this course you will learn to improvise easily within the first five minutes!
By using the innovative "chord stacks" diagram, Christian gives you ready-made "training wheels" which allow you to glide easily through chord progressions. Connect the dots to select chord and scale tones that naturally form coherent and flawless melodies in many styles including classical, bluegrass, waltz, reggae, rock, and more!
Improvisation often eludes classical musicians, mostly due to training.
This course contains a video series with which you can begin the art of improvisation, regardless of your current level of fluency in technique, harmony, and contemporary styles.
This series relies on an approach with which classical musicians can start creating their own music immediately. This process is similar to that of any three year-old who, shortly after picking up a crayon, begins to naturally develop a personal signature.
It was in this way that I first began improvising, in my late teens, unsure what kind of sound I should make. It’s been central to not only developing my signature sound as a composer in “free” realms, but also something which is critical in developing a value system for my approach to improvisation in any conventional, stylistic frameworks.
Christian Howes shows you how to teach improvisation in a clear and easy way! This series contains 7 lesson videos that show you the secrets to Christian Howes' unique approach to teaching improvisation to people of all ages. Step up your teaching game and even gain a different insight on the nature of improvisation!
Like the Bebop, Melodic Minor/Altered, Whole Tone and Blues scales, the Diminished scale represents an essential sonic color for improvisers in modern jazz. One of the most difficult scales to master with all of its applications, Christian lays out step by step, concrete exercises to help you save time and internalize this important harmonic vocabulary more quickly, so you can more seamlessly integrate the Modern Jazz vernacular into your playing.
This bundle contains 3 extensive lesson videos, one PDF, and one mp3.
If you’d like to be able to play fast streams of 8th notes over common jazz tunes, sound authentic within the Jazz lexicon, and/or play over 2-5-1 progressions with greater ease, this course is a must. The secrets of the “bebop scale approach” are a staple of seasoned jazz musicians & Christian Howes lays them out in ultra clear step by step fashion, specifically for violinists, violists, and cellists.
- Your ear will become more familiar with Jazz melodies.
- Develop the ability to play faster over common Jazz progressions.
- Gain harmonic fluency on your instrument.
- Expand your harmonic and melodic vocabulary.
- Improvise with greater comfort and ease.
This bundle contains 3 lesson videos, transcriptions in all twelve keys, and worksheets for each video. Make this scale part of your musical vocabulary!
For beginning improvisers. This lesson shows how to begin improvising only by using different methods and patterns of continuous 8th notes.
For beginning improvisers. This lesson shows how to begin improvising with methods such as changing the melody to familiar songs, changing motifs in common exercises, and improvising techniques to cure technical playing problems.
For intermediate improvisers. This lesson demonstrates the importance of knowing how to arpeggiate chords from all four chord tones, the root, the third, the fifth, and the seventh
For intermediate improvisers. This lesson shows how to create fast streams of 8th notes using the bebop scale.
For advanced improvisers. A continued lesson of the first lesson of bebop scales, this video shows more advanced ways to use the bebop scale to create fast streams of 8th notes while improvising.
(intermediate) Billy adapted this tune for a swing arrangement, and he takes an amazing solo. The cello alternates between walking quarter notes and playing in a two feel. The accompaniment violin/viola should be sensitive to the cello by sometimes chopping and sometimes playing legato or syncopated double stops, but always being careful to keep the groove and leave space for the soloist.
(Advanced difficulty) Get your groove on! Billy plays an amazing intro alone on this tune, showing just how funky the violin can be. Cello can try alternating pizzicato and arco and seeing what’s comfortable. Don’t be thrown off by the notated “chopping” parts in this arrangement. You might be better off simply listening to the recording and emulating the chopping as you hear it.
From the European acoustic trio’s second album, Klazyc (2004). This is another flashy, and sometimes wacky, piece to add for an encore to your set. Audiences always love it because it’s so familiar and sounds very virtuosic. The version recorded on “Klazyc” should be self-explanatory. Instead of a “free” piano solo at the end, we’ve made some motific suggestions for a “free” string quartet solo. (Please note, this arrangement is formatted for string quartet, but could be easily adapted by you for trio).
(Intermediate) This is a fun, modal tune, in 6/4 meter with straight (not swung) rhythms. The main vamp in d minor should be comfortable for everyone in the group to solo over, while more advanced soloists will want to play over the form. Billy uses a great off-beat-based, double stop accompaniment style, and the melody lies easily on violin. Watch the temptation to use too much vibrato!
It Never Entered My Mind (Download)
(Difficulty: Beginner-Intermediate) This ballad features a simple ostinato bass line in the cello, legato double stop accompaniment in the second violin (which can also be divided between viola/violin or 2nd violin/3rd violin), and a simple melody which can be interpreted by the 1st violin very broadly. This also works well with a freely improvised cello solo as an intro to the tune.
Song For My Daughter (Download Only) - Christian Howes (2005)
Song For My Daughter album, featuring Christian Howes, Bobby Floyd, Matt Perko, Jim Ed Cobbs, Dwayne Dolphin, Frederico Lechner, and Tony McClung!
Klazyc (Download Only)
All Star group Klazyc, featuring Christian Howes, Federico Lechner, and Pablo Martin, play classical melodies treated with a modern twist on jazz improvisation. Hear melodies of Mozart, Bach, and others spun into new jazz compositions.
Ten Yard (Download Only) - Christian Howes (1998)
1. 'S I Am
2. 'Trane's Maiden
3. Laughing Tango
4. Sock's Groove
5. Ten Yard
6. Vito's Melody
7. Ode to Sco'
8. Song For Tony
9. Laughing Song
10. Here's That Rainy Day
Jazz On Sale (Download Only) - Christian Howes (2002)
1. Amorr Case Imposible
2. Blue Monk (Part 1)
3. A Child is Born
4. Blue in Green
5. When She's Like Water
6. Jazz on Sale
7. Very Early
8. Falling Grace
9. Blue Monk (Part 2)
Jazz Fiddle REVOLUTION (Download Only) - Christian Howes and Billy Contreras (2004)
2. The Way You Look Tonight
4. Maria, Maria
5. Merchants Groove
6. Untitled blues jam
7. Fugue in G Minor for solo violin
8. It Never Entered My Mind
9. Traditional Fiddle Tune
10. The Oracle
Heartfelt (Hardcopy Only) - Christian Howes (2008)
Self-described post-bop violinist Christian Howes may shy away from comparisons to Stéphane Grappelli or Joe Venuti, but the young violinist certainly shares those artists’ melodic and lyrical gifts. On his newest outing, Heartfelt, Howes performs ten tracks with a healthy bent in the direction of mainstream accessibility, emphasizing romanticism, conventional performances, and arrangements with a pop sensibility.
Out of the Blue (Hardcopy Only) - Christian Howes (2010)
Christian's 2010 release. Blues master guitarist Robben Ford meets virtuoso jazz violinist at the crossroads! The follow-up to the Resonance recording, Heartfelt. Also features acclaimed pianist Tamir Hendelman and drummer Joel Rosenblatt.
Christian Howes Plays Yamaha the Silent Electric Violin (Download Only) - Christian Howes
1. On Green Dolphin Street
2. Ode to Billie Joe
3. Felonious Thunk
4. Jazz for Sale
5. Honeysuckle Rose
7. Bernie's Tune
8. We'll be Together Again
Christian Howes & The Horatio Icasto Quartet: Live in Madrid (DVD) (2008)
Among the selections included in this network quality production are Jazz classics such as “Nuages" and “I’ve Got Rhythm" and stunning originals such as “Song For My Daughter" and the scintillating “Waltz For Katherine." Featuring the Horacio Icasto Quartet (Horatio Icasto, Piano; Santiago Reyes, Guitar; Victor Merlo, Bass; and Noah Shaye, Drums), this program is guaranteed to entertain Jazz aficionados and music fans alike.
1. I’ve Found a New Baby 2. Pent Up House 3. Waltz for Katherine 4. Song for My Daughter 5. Madrid Blues 6. Nuages 7. Adios Nonino 8. I’ve Got Rhythm 9. Conejitrami
PLUS! This DVD includes a picture gallery, alternative endings, instant access to songs and solos, and more! DVD will be mailed to you.
Jazz Fiddle EVOLUTION (Download Only) - Christian Howes and Billy Contreras (2009)
1. Walking on Broadway
2. By the Bay
3. Detective H
4. Sweet Soul Music
8. Riggs in the City
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