October 22, 2019

Creative Strings Workshop – Toronto, Canada

Improvisation & Contemporary Styles for Bowed String Players

Presented by Christian Howes and Victoria Yeh

with special guest, George Crotty

Creative Strings Workshop Toronto

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

Workshop Schedule

Full workshop: May 2-3, 2020. 10:30am – 6:30pm

Intro session only: May 2, 2020 10:30am – 2:30pm

Location: (Updated!)
Humber College
3199 Lake Shore Blvd W
Etobicoke, Ontario
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Tickets for the full bootcamp cost $350 USD (equiv in CAN) if purchased before December 15th!


I'll be back next year, and the next

I left cherishing the music I have to share. I took away a re-kindled desire to keep at it, to learn the tools with patience and dedication. To leave my ego out of it, and walk toward a goal, with no need to get there. I'll be back next year, and the next.

Ruth Einstein Teacher and Cellist

Creative Musicianship – improvisation, arranging, composition, internalization (modal, harmonic, rhythmic), contemporary styles, and related subjects.

Teen, adult, professional, amateur, advanced jazz players, beginning jazz players—all welcome.

Why You Want to Attend This: 

✓Become creatively self-expressed and develop your musical voice.

✓Internalize harmony on your instrument.

✓Become fluent in contemporary styles so you can jam with musicians outside of classical music.

✓Be able to use amplification and effects.

✓Get gigs and expand career opportunities.

✓Teachers: Gain age-appropriate sequences to share with students.

✓Gain comfort in improvisation, composition, and arranging.  

Tickets for the full bootcamp cost $350 USD (equiv in CAN) if purchased before December 15th!

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Improvisation, Arranging, and Composition

In this session, participants will learn how to create functional melodies over chord progressions through a series of interactive exercises.

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

This session presents an overview of how to use loops and effects as a tool for teaching, practice, and performance. Gain insights into how to create loops and how to go beyond the basics.

Blues as a historical and cultural phenomenon

  • As a literary form
  • As a musical form – harmonically/melodically/rhythmically, in many iterations
  • The practice of combining the major and minor pentatonic and/or blues scales
  • 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 to perform your compositions and apply what you learned in your daily practice or teaching.

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 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.

Tickets for the full bootcamp cost $350 USD (equiv in CAN) if purchased before December 15th!

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Modal Approach to Improvisation

  • Advanced and/or intermediate
  • Apply a modal approach as an improviser, arranger, or composer.

Internalizing Harmony on the Violin, Viola, and Cello 

  • Applying harmony on violin, viola, and cello
  • Including voice leading arpeggios, scales, and double stops and triple stops.
  • Internalizing chord progressions via bass line, inner voices, and sequential patterns.  


Life-changing experience

Creative Strings Workshop is truly a life-changing experience. The reason I want to keep coming back to CSW is because it has only ever made my life and craft better, and I probably would have quit music by now if not for the workshop and the community that surrounds it.

Rose Kow Xiu Yi Violinist

Helped me grow beyond my wildest dreams

This week-long festival pushed me out of my comfort zone, introduced me to musicians from all around the world, and helped me grow beyond my wildest dreams. I still get goosebumps thinking about all of the magical late-night jam sessions that inspired us to make music until dawn.

Angelita Eugenia J Teacher and Violinist

Music Business Mastermind Seminar

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

Tickets for the full bootcamp cost $350 USD (equiv in CAN) if purchased before December 15th!

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