7574 Contemporary Strings: Improvisation, Eclectic Styles & Electric Strings

Today’s generation of string players want to create their own music. Whether through composition, improvisation, arranging or mash-ups, concrete and practical musical theory is needed in order to navigate harmonic terrain. This course will broaden your knowledge, skills and practical application of free improvisation; notated composition; easy tonal improvisation; the “A-Z” of electric strings, including amplification, electric instruments, pickups, effects, loop pedals and more; and the stylistic basics for strings in jazz, folk, blues, rock, etc. 

Instructor: Christian Howes


A suzuki-trained violinist from Columbus, Ohio, Christian Howes grew up winning classical competitions and went on to pursue jazz, rock, fiddle styles, blues and world music, distinguishing himself as one of the premier improvising violinists in the world. He was voted first place in the 2011 Downbeat Critics Poll (“Rising Star/Violin”) and nominated by the Jazz Journalists Association for “Violinist of the Year.”
Christian founded his own online learning site, The Creative Strings Academy, to provide curriculum for teachers to offer improvisation, harmony, and eclectic styles in the classroom.
Christian served for three years as an Associate Professor at the Berklee College of Music after founding his own annual Creative Strings Workshop and Festival in 2003. The annual week-long conference provides teen and adult string players an opportunity to experience a rigorous schedule of public performances, jams, rehearsals, and clinics, all with a focus on improvisational music.
Christian collaborates with string teachers around the world, with the generous sponsorship of Yamaha and D’Addario, to provide workshops and guest performances for K-12 string programs, college, and private studios.
Christian has been invited to present or teach at The New School, Oberlin College, the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, University of New Mexico, University of Southern California, University of Arizona, University of Michigan, Ohio State University, IAJE, ASTA, NAMM, IMEA, OMEA, KASTA, FMEA, AASTA, the Mark O’Connor Fiddle Camp, the Berklee String Fling, Jazz Connections, and hundreds of high schools, middle schools, and private studios throughout the U.S. He has also taught in Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan, Canada, Spain, Germany, Holland, Italy, and China.


All online courses will begin on September 29 and conclude on December 19. Registration for all online courses closes at 12:00 p.m. CST on October 3, 2014 (through the end of the first week of classes).

Course Information

7574 Contemporary Strings: Improvisation, Eclectic Styles & Electric Strings
3 graduate credits
Tuition: $900, due in full with registration.
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