April 13, 2012

Workshops and Clinics


These basic clinics are offered by Mr. Howes, with one hour minimum recommended for each of these sessions. Christian can modify his presentation based on your needs.

1) Non-Tonal Improvisation and Composition:

While tonal improvisation techniques such as scales and chords are familiar to many string teachers, there is a world of “non-tonal” techniques available as well. Taking the work of learning scales and chords out of the game makes engaging in improvisation and composition more accessible to players of all levels and styles. You and your students will be improvising and composing by the end of the session.

2) Easy Tonal Improvisation for Classical Musicians:

Through a series of simple playing and reading exercises, participants will learn how to create functional melodies over chord changes. Melodic improvisation and composition are demystified as we discover, through the lens of Pachelbel’s Kanon, how to easily construct melodies easily following three simple rules. Anyone with a 6th grade reading level will learn how to compose melodies, bass lines, counter-melodies in any musical style.

3) Technology Overview for Strings:

Learn the basics for electric strings: amplification, electric instruments, pickups, effects, loop pedals, and more. Teachers will also learn ways to bring this to your classroom.

4) Alternative Styles overview:

Learn the stylistic basics for strings in jazz, folk, blues, rock music and more. These modern styles call for specific articulations and techniques, including strumming, chopping, swinging and more.

With a new mandate to incorporate improvisation and composition into the education of all music students in public schools, traditional teachers often find themselves unequipped to teach these new styles. As a performer and composer with a penchant for sharing and entertaining, Christian is an inspiration to classical string players in the rapidly expanding world of “alternative styles.”
There is an increasing demand among today’s orchestral string players for alternative approaches to music. Classical musicians are often insulated from improvisation-based musical communities and are frustrated with an inability to compose and improvise their own music. Often this discourages the development of their own musical voices.
Says Howes, “as we become more and more educated, we often become more inhibited. I want to encourage students to trust themselves and discover their creative voice. Total musicianship includes the ability to improvise and compose, the understanding of functional music theory, and a basic level of exposure to a wide variety of styles, as well as the cultures from which they come.” Christian’s music and playing reinforces his message, as he performs classical concertos with orchestras and is also fluent in jazz, folk styles, r and b, rock, and more.
Clinician and Guest Performer with middle and high schools- Christian regularly visits high school and middle schools across the U.S to work with orchestras and string programs. His visits include clinics and performances as guest soloist.
Public School Residencies
In 2010 Christian worked with the Mason School district-the largest string program in the state of Ohio, introducing over 700 string students from grades 6-12 to improvisation, alternative styles, and composition.
In 2007 , 2008 ’09, and ‘10, Howes worked with more than 20 school music programs (each year) in the Columbus, OH, public schools in conjunction with the Jefferson Academy of Music.
In 2003 and 2005, he conducted week-long residencies in the Syracuse, NY, school district, reaching more than 600 music students.
In the winters of 2002 and 2003, Christian conducted a six-week jazz violin residency with more than 100 music students in the Queens, NY, public elementary schools.
Clinician for private studios and Suzuki Schools
Howes graduated from the Suzuki method as a child and has supplemented his own daughter’s Suzuki training since the age of three. He regularly teaches classes in improvisation for Suzuki music students age 3 to 15.
Carnegie Hall Neighborhood Concert Series
In 2000 and 2001, Christian performed several concerts in NYC at schools, libraries, and day care centers with Akua Dixon’s Quartette Indigo, in affiliation with Carnegie Hall. He has also collaborated with Lincoln Center’s school programs in conjunction with David gonzalez during 2008,2009, and 2010
Classes is Spain
Since February 2001, Christian has worked in tandem with conservatories and teaching studios in Spain to help introduce improvisation to more than 100 violin, viola, and cello students. He regularly presents at the prestigious Escuela de Musica Creativa in Madrid