Creative Strings Podcast with Violinist Christian Howes: Exploring intersections between creativity, music education, string playing, DIY music business, and culture. Creative Strings is a non-profit organization with a mission to support music education
Summary: Creative Strings is for musicians and music-lovers, especially violin, viola, and cello players, looking to live creatively, whether in your musical education, projects, music career, in the practice room, classroom, onstage, or on tour. Each interview is edited carefully and mixed with a blend of musical clips from the Creative Strings community curated by jazz violinist Christian Howes. . Creative Strings is a non-profit organization with a mission to support music education through outreach, summer conference, and online" curriculum
Hamilton Hardin on Becoming a Complete Musician: Any Genre, Any Instrument Have you ever worked hard learning a jazz tune with all its 9ths, 13ths, half-diminished-whatevers, only to flip on the radio and hear a pop song with the same 4 chords over and over? Some musicians wonder how jazz and other styles are so complex but it’s the basic pop that sells mainstream. If you asked multi-instrumentalist and accomplished jazz musician, Hamilton Hardin, if he’d ever enter the pop world, he says he would have simply laughed. That’s why he surprised himself by serving as vice president of A&R (artists and repertoire), a multi-million dollar record label specializing in pop music. In this episode of Creative Strings Podcast, Hamilton reveals what makes pop music so appealing, how he gained a respect for the genre and what its like being producer, mixer, sound engineer, and editor for famous talent. This podcast also includes topics such as -What it’s like playing not 1 but 13(!) instruments -Why Hamilton practices first WITHOUT his instrument -How you can develop a “good ear” -Tips to grow your music business -The inside scoop behind his album “Just Wanna Say.” -Many stories, laughs, and inspiring moments When growing up, Hamilton Hardin was considered a music prodigy, touring Europe while playing everything from jazz to gospel in his hometown of Columbus, Ohio. Soon after, he arrived in Nashville, performed as a jazz session musician for singer Wendy Moten who happened to introduce him to legendary songwriter, David Porter. When Porter decided to launch his own music studio in Memphis, he turned to Hardin, offered him a critical job- vice president of Artists and Repertoire, the side of the music house responsible for recruiting and developing talent.
If you’re a classical musician who would like to join a band and play confidently in new styles of music, I put together a checklist to make it less overwhelming, The checklist will give you a few things: How to know when and what to play. How to avoid "writers block", i.e., the feeling of having no idea what to do. How to avoid getting "in a rut", i.e., finding yourself always repeating the same few ideas How to make the other musicians you work with feel really comfortable and always want to call you back
In my full interview with Jean Luc Ponty for the Creative Strings Podcast, we explore key points in his development, musical conception, elements of his violin playing, the state of the music industry in general, and more. For example, how he started playing jazz on violin, the influence of Stuff Smith, the role of the bow arm in improvisation, changes in the world of classical violin, attitudes about touring and music as a career, ways in which the music business has changed, and much more. View the full show notes at www.christianhowes.com/
When I was growing up people used to say that you should go into music only if you feel you don't have a choice. For those of us that made that choice to go into music, we were inspired by this feeling that we must do it. We had a passion, that kept us awake at night, kept us in the practice room, kept us developing new skills... That's why we went into music. The thing is, when people get out of college and they get into the real life of being a musician the drudgery often sets in. So how do we keep that passion alive? How do we re-articulate why we play music as it looks different through different phases of our life or career? The reason could change. Music could become less or more important to us, for different reasons. I think it's really important for us to ask those questions because ultimately we want to feel fulfilled by whatever we do. Any music in our life can be integrated with our own personal development and with whatever contribution we're trying to make to our communities Getting to the heart of these types of questions and telling stories about how different musicians grapple with this is what motivates me to want to bring this podcast out. This episode's guest is an amazing example of someone who has done this. Dr. Joan Griffing is a classical violinist and has taught at the private collegiate level for many years, with her current position as the Tim and Gail Buchanan Endowed Chair of the Fine Arts Division at Friends University. She's been a freelance orchestral chamber player and soloist for many years. Part of what I think is so interesting about her story is that she chose at this point in her career to take a sabbatical and make a journey to uncover deeper meanings for what it is to be a musician. You'll hear in this interview how she went to New Zealand and how she learned there about ways in which music is being used for peace and reconciliation. Prison reforms and to create healing between individuals in conflict and between cultures in conflict. It's a really fascinating story. Check out the full blog post here: https://christianhowes.com/2019/01/07/dr-joan-griffing-on-music-in-peace-conflict-creative-strings-podcast-ep-34/
To be human is to make stuff; creativity is natural. Yet it feels incredibly risky to put our creative work out there for people to vote up or down. It feels personal, like people may accept or reject us. We're drawn to the ideas and voices of people who have the courage to take that risk and make something distinctive. Beyond possessing courage, you could say artists who do this consistently are audacious. Stash Wyslouch is a walking billboard of musical audacity; his music combines elements of thrash metal, old time fiddle, jazz, and the avant-garde. You've got to hear his music to believe it. Delightful. Shocking. Raw. Human. We put together a collage of his work + interview in the new Creative Strings Podcast. Bookmark it and listen whenever you want to be amazed and delighted. If you love it, share, subscribe, or leave a review. Check out the full blog post and video here: https://christianhowes.com/2018/09/26/stash-wyslouch-creative-strings-podcast-ep-33/
Jazz Violinist Regina Carter dives into her inspiring beginnings as a stand-alone jazz violinist, jumping to jazz from classical training, inspiring stories of encouraging mentors, and also, her tender experiences of supporting her elderly mother and other loved ones through music. Check out the blog post with show notes here: https://christianhowes.com/2018/08/13/regina-carter-creative-strings-podcast-ep-32 Regina Carter dives into the balance between approaching musicianship via theory vs ear, explaining how she personally finds this balance and offers encouragement to players desiring to communicate with soul. This episode also includes: -Regina’s experiences as the only string player in her college big band -Life as an “eclectic” musician- Do you lose credibility by specializing in more than one style? -Re: “haters”- What approach can we take to maintain respect but continue with enthusiasm? Inspiring stories for aspiring musicians Growing up in Detroit, Regina began her violin studies at the age of 4 and grew up to attend the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, only to transfer to Oakland University in Michigan to study jazz. After a season abroad in Germany, she returned to the U.S. and first came into the spotlight as the violinist for the all-female pop/jazz group, “Straight Ahead.” She has since continued her career in New York, releasing albums and playing in many other ensembles. Today she continues as an avid educator and performer in Maywood, New Jersey with her husband Alvester Garnett. Thanks so much to our sponsors Yamaha and Electric Violin Shop for supporting the Creative Strings Podcast. Their support makes it possible to invest in the production of each episode and bring you great stories like Regina’s. Please take a moment to visit Electric Violin Shop, your one-stop shop for electric instruments, amps, gear, accessories, and most of all, expertise. Use code CHOWES at checkout and take 5% off of your order. Call 866-900-8400 to get your questions answered on “all things electric strings.” While you are talking to EVS, be sure to ask them about the new Yamaha Electric Violin (you can check out my video review here). I’ve been a Yamaha performing artist for almost 20 years now and am very proud to be a part of the Yamaha family. Learn more about Regina Carter: http://reginacarter.com/ https://www.facebook.com/Regina-Carter-269977394285/?ref=br_rs https://twitter.com/Regina_Carter Listen to Regina Carter: https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/regina-carter/135462 https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=dp_byline_sr_music_1?ie=UTF8&field-artist=Regina+Carter&search-alias=music
Introducing Season 4 of the Creative Strings Podcast! In this episode I share my newly released arrangement of Bach’s Violin Partita #2 (Giga) and preview the upcoming interviews in this season of the Creative Strings Podcast including Regina Carter, Andrea Whitt, Stash Wyslouch, and Joan Griffing. Subscribe to the Creative Strings Podcast wherever you listen to your podcasts to catch all of these interviews and more! Check out the full split screen video: http://bit.ly/HowesBachVideo Check out my accompanying blog post: http://bit.ly/2vxHHrS Subscribe to my YouTube Channel for more content: http://bit.ly/HowesYouTube Thanks so much to our sponsors Yamaha and Electric Violin Shop for supporting the Creative Strings Podcast. Their support makes it possible to invest in the production of each episode and bring you great stories and discussions. Please take a moment to visit Electric Violin Shop, your one-stop shop for electric instruments, amps, gear, accessories, and most of all, expertise. Use code CHOWES at checkout and take 5% off of your order. Call 866-900-8400 to get your questions answered on “all things electric strings.” While you are talking to EVS, be sure to ask them about the new Yamaha Electric Violin. I’ve been a Yamaha performing artist for almost 20 years now and am very proud to be a part of the Yamaha family.
Guitarist Rez Abbasi is well known for his distinctive fusing of modern jazz with influences from Hindu North Indian music and Pakistani traditional music. In this episode of the Creative Strings Podcast, hear him reflect upon how he developed his own voice as a player and composer, as well as what it means for musicians jumping cultural boundaries to explore a wider variety of music. Check out the blog here: https://christianhowes.com/2018/05/25/rez-abbasi-improvising-composer/ Watch my extended interview with Rez: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AYWsrgqmabA This episode also includes: - Tips and tricks for composers- Where's the balance between mapping out a form and letting the composition form itself? - The business of music - Tons of amazing clips from Rez's albums Born in Karachi, Pakistan, removed at the age of four to the vastness of Southern California, schooled at the University of Southern California and the Manhattan School of Music in jazz and classical music, along with a pilgrimage in India under the tutelage of master percussionist, Ustad Alla Rakha, Rez Abbasi is a vivid synthesis of all these influences and genres. Making New York home for the past 25 years, Abbasi has developed a unique sound both as a composer and an instrumentalist and is considered by many to be one of the foremost modern jazz guitar players. Now it's time to plan for summer! Join Rez and I, with tons of amazing faculty and participants, at the 16th Annual Creative Strings Workshop in Columbus, OH July 1-7. I am thrilled to host Rez for this year's Creative Strings Workshop as our featured instructor. Learn more here: https://christianhowes.com/education/creative-strings-workshop/ Thanks so much to our sponsors Yamaha and Electric Violin Shop for supporting the Creative Strings Podcast. Their support makes it possible to invest in the production of each episode and bring you great stories like Rez’s. Please take a moment to visit Electric Violin Shop, your one-stop shop for electric instruments, amps, gear, accessories, and most of all, expertise. Use code CHOWES at checkout and take 5% off of your order. Call 866-900-8400 to get your questions answered on “all things electric strings.” While you are talking to EVS, be sure to ask them about the new Yamaha Electric Violin. I’ve been a Yamaha performing artist for almost 20 years now and am very proud to be a part of the Yamaha family.
Imagine, as a musician, if you lost the ability to use your hands. How would you recover? How would you find fulfillment, and what would replace the void in your self image? If you're like most musicians, your craft is a big part of your identity, and even self worth. A debilitating injury would clearly be devastating for most of us. But what might you learn about yourself in the aftermath, and is it possible to somehow come out better for it? Many of us have suffered some kind of injury. We've worried, even maybe had nightmares about, or certainly had close calls with serious injuries. Julliard-trained concert violinist Janet Orenstein was suddenly faced with an injury in 1996 that would forever limit her ability to use her hands to play the violin. Her story is simultaneously fascinating, heartbreaking, thought-provoking, and uplifting. On this episode of the Creative Strings Podcast she shares what she learned from the 20-year process of coming back from focal dystonia including: - How she found comfort in motherhood, yoga, and teaching - How and why the onset occurred during a concert tour abroad - Why she hid her injury from almost everyone for 20 years - How it changed her view of teaching, practicing, music, her own values and identity Read the full blog post here: https://christianhowes.com/2018/04/16/identity-injury-rewriting-musicians-story-janet-orenstein-creative-strings-podcast-ep-29/ I met Janet when I gave improvisation workshops at University of North Carolina School of the Arts. String players are invited to attend a wonderful summer program there this July 8-15 to study with Janet's mentor, the incredible classical player and pedagogue Ida Bieler, and/or during the following week to study creative string playing with me. Learn more here: http://bit.ly/2qEpVAD As you know, it's time to plan for summer! Learn more about the upcoming Creative Strings Workshops in Dallas, Toronto, Columbus, and Asheville - http://bit.ly/2mpSiUq Thanks so much to our sponsors Yamaha and Electric Violin Shop for supporting the Creative Strings Podcast. Their support makes it possible to invest in the production of each episode and bring you great stories like Janet's.
Read the blog post here: http://bit.ly/CSpodcast28 Janie Barnett's new CD, "You See This River" is original, personal, and beautiful; the fact that she put it out 30 years into her career intrigued me. I wanted to know how she's managed to piece her career together so many years, before, during, and after raising children, all the time staying in NYC. I wanted to find out how an artist keeps their fire for creating new material into their 30s, 40s. and beyond. Let's face it- half of the battle for most artists is LASTING. Persevering through various life phases, relationships, parenting -whatever inevitable strains that force us this way or that way to compromise on the pure pursuance most of us felt when we were first starting out. Many artists freelance for a few years, even ten or more, and then take day jobs, quit music altogether, find the most stable performing or teaching gig they can- anything they can settle into. Many artists who move to NYC leave after a few years, if they even make it that long. Janie maintains streams of hustle and creative work, from teaching to producing, writing, and performing. She's still going for it in every sense. You've got to respect that. In the Creative Strings Podcast Episode 28, we discuss topics such as: - Learning language to communicate between musicians - Janie's new CD "You See This River" - Having kids and starting a family while sticking with your art - The importance of letting go as an artist for self discovery Please take a moment to visit our sponsor Electric Violin Shop, your one-stop shop for electric instruments, amps, gear, accessories, and most of all, expertise. Use code CHOWES at checkout and take 5% off of your order. Call 866-900-8400 to get your questions answered on “all things electric strings.” While you are talking to EVS, be sure to ask them about the new Yamaha Electric Violin. I’ve been a Yamaha performing artist for almost 20 years now and am very proud to be a part of the Yamaha family.
Remember when classical violinist Joshua Bell played in the subway for 45 minutes and made $32? The author of the story raised questions about artistic context and the loss of appreciation for beauty in modern life. A similar experiment was conducted and written about almost 100 years ago, with a similar focus, and here’s my completely different take on the whole thing: Live music makes a huge difference for people on the street, in hospitals, in communities, in prisons, in war zones, refugee camps, and in all kinds of non traditional venues. Sharing music directly, without filters, is important for musicians to experience, regardless of the so-called malaise of a Netflix-addicted society. Our classical training may make us lose sight as musicians of the transforming effect we can have on people playing music live, even without the accoutrements of air conditioned venues, publicists, sheet music, prepared music, and finely pressed tuxedos. I get excited thinking about the organic, communal aspects of sharing music outside of traditional performance spaces- That’s why at our annual summer conference we perform in a wide array of venues (including street corners). The seed of this idea was planted for me 20 years ago playing on prison yards and hearing singing in the rows of cells within the solitary confinement wing. I saw music dissolve violence, replacing it with laughter, tears, and humanity. When I started to speak with today’s guest on the Creative Strings Podcast, I knew he would be the right person to convey this message- articulating what musical performance is really about, and how we as musicians can be present to it’s meaning. I met up in Madrid with Valentin Spurchisi, a self-taught violinist who travels and lives from performing in the streets of Europe. Valentin had a successful career as an engineer and web designer in his early twenties before leaving that career to perform from subways to street corners all across Europe. He chose to live this way. Some might call Valentin an “adult learner” on the violin. I call him a sage. I encourage you to listen and think about what we can all learn from his amazing and inspiring example. In Creative Strings Podcast Episode 27 we discuss topics such as: -Life as a street performer -Packing a large performance into a small amount of time -Transforming negative audience energy into something positive -What goes into street performance and what sets performers apart -What Joshua Bell’s famous experiment left out -The trap of wanting fame -The importance of doing what you want to do in life to be happy -Persistence in doing what you want to do, regardless of the skepticism of others Watch the full conversation here: https://youtu.be/EdKB13hyi1M Please take a moment to visit our sponsor Electric Violin Shop, your one-stop shop for electric instruments, amps, gear, accessories, and most of all, expertise. Use code CHOWES at checkout and take 5% off of your order. Call 866-900-8400 to get your questions answered on “All things electric strings.”
Download my video starter worksheet for musicians here(free): http://bit.ly/2kM5bE4 Get my favorite tools- TubeBuddy: http://bit.ly/2q7nkAg YouTube StarterKit: http://bit.ly/2izzkq7 In this video I cover: Why video is essential for any self-employed musician in 2018, why your career is likely to suffer if you don’t have videos, how making videos will benefit your musical and business growth, and what has worked for me on my road to 1,000,000 views on my YouTube channel. Watch the video version here: https://youtu.be/5sRQTsM9jVo Making videos in 2018 is important for your growth and improvement as an artist. The best and easiest way to improve your work as a musician or teacher is to record yourself and listen back. The reason for this is that we can’t generally observe our performance while we are performing. Listening or watching back allows us to understand the mistakes we are making, helping us to notice and fix them. Your business suffers if you don’t have video. Many people will not hire you if they can’t learn more about the thing you do, or who you are, via video. Whether someone is looking to “get a vibe” about how you come across personally, or they’re looking for a specific skill or service you offer, most people want to see you on video, even after they’ve been referred to you by someone they trust. If people cannot find videos of you on YouTube or elsewhere, they will often pass you over — even if they’ve been referred. And you’ll miss out on being discovered in a Google search. What you need to showcase on video and why: 1) Show who you are so they can know, like, and trust you. Most people will hire a less talented teacher, performer, composer, or producer whom they know, like and trust. Speaking from the heart, showing your human side-- gives your prospective clients the opportunity to get to know you. Many clients don’t know the difference between the talent and skill of you vs your competitors any more than you can distinguish the difference in skill of web designers, landscapers, or rocket scientists. 2) Demonstrate specific skills and/or services. Demonstrate your skills in as many sub-categories as apply. Describe the benefits to your customers of services you provide. Pro Tip: Make a list of all the styles or skills you have as a performer and make a video showcasing each one. Pro Tip: Make a list of all the things you say more than once to your students and then teach all of these things one by one. You can also compile playlists of related content for easier access to your viewers, and to increase the chances that your viewers will watch more content that is relevant and useful to them. There are a number of other things you can feature in your video content, including: 3) “Behind the Scenes” documentation of any tour or project. 4) Interviews (of yourself and/or of other people you collaborate with) 5) Testimonials from students, colleagues or clients Get Started- use my free Checklist linked at top of this description. Make a list, based on the examples I gave above, of 5-10 videos you could make right now. To make it easier for you, I’ve created a worksheet and checklist for you. Download it here (lead magnet) and simply fill in the blanks. After you shoot your first video or two, it will get easier and you’ll improve quickly. You’ll learn a ton about yourself and your work in the process. You can share your first video with a couple people you trust and ask their opinion before sharing publicly. Production values are not as important as the substance of your content; You can work up to better production values over time. A video is a chance for someone to get to know you. They will forgive the production values if you show a good performance, a human moment, or anything that is authentic.
After staying up until 7 a.m. surrounded by Flamenco guitar, dancing, and singing in a room full of people clapping knowingly along to the Bulería, Tango, and Soleá, I was forever changed. It was my first trip to Spain in 2001, and I had just discovered the music world’s best kept secret. Following 20 more trips to Spain, I get to share a bit of that magic with you today in a fully produced audio episode plus an extended video version. (scroll down for both). All the music in Spain is infected by Flamenco, whether pop, R&B, jazz, modern classical music.. Traditional Flamenco itself has evolved in ways that are mind boggling. After visiting regularly for 17 years, I still struggle to find the downbeat of the Buleria! But I’ve come to enjoy the music immensely, and one of the primary reasons for this has been my close friendship with a handful of Spanish musicians, most notably Federico Lechner, Antonio Serrano, and my guest today, Pablo Martín Caminero. After hundreds of hours spent with Pablo touring, recording, eating tapas, and listening with fascination to his perspective on culture, philosophy, and music, my understanding of Spanish music and culture is shaped by our kinship. In Creative Strings Podcast Episode 25 we listen in on Pablo’s compositions plus insightful commentary on: >- Clavé as a mantra >- Fear in classical music >- The academizing of jazz >- Adapting Jazz as “a concept with freedom and improvisation” to Flamenco forms Please take a moment to visit our sponsor Electric Violin Shop, your one-stop shop for electric instruments, amps, gear, accessories, and most of all, expertise. Use code CHOWES at checkout and take 5% off of your order. Call 866-900-8400 to get your questions answered on “all things electric strings.” Clips used in this episode (all by Pablo Martín Caminero): "Calabazas" "Soleá de Gasteiz" "O.N.F.I." "Melanie" "Guadalquivir" End Credits Theme "El Republicanon" "Trianatrón" Check out the blog post here: https://christianhowes.com/2017/11/30/the-intersection-of-classical-jazz-and-flamenco-with-pablo-martin-caminero-creative-strings-podcast-ep-25/ Watch my full conversation with Pablo here: https://youtu.be/WSjPG_BzEMs
Neil Fong Gilfillan and Rachel Samson are creative, inspiring young string teachers. Together they run the teaching studio in Frisco, TX called Chili Dog Strings . This husband and wife duo combine a love of tradition in the Suzuki method with a curiosity for adventure, showcasing the complimentary styles they bring together in their teaching studio. They serve their local community with private and group lessons, plus workshops in area schools. They are making a lot of noise online with their cool video and blog content, leading and serving the worldwide string playing community. Listen to Creative Strings Podcast Episode 24 where we discuss these teaching methods and more including: - What does it take to be a good teacher? - How can the Suzuki method be reconsiled with teaching contemporary styles? - How can we retain young kids’ interest in making music education fun without sacrificing discipline? - What is the importance of the “Suzuki triangle?” - Dispelling misconceptions about the Suzuki method Please take a moment to visit our sponsor Electric Violin Shop, your one-stop shop for electric instruments, amps, gear, accessories, and most of all, expertise. Use code CHOWES at checkout and take 5% off of your order. Call 866-900-8400 to get your questions answered on “all things electric strings.” While you are talking to EVS, be sure to ask them about the new Yamaha Electric Violin. I’ve been a Yamaha performing artist for almost 20 years now and am very proud to be a part of the Yamaha family. Learn more about Chili Dog Strings below: chilidogstrings.com/blog facebook.com/chilidogstrings instagram.com/chilidogstrings youtube.com/chilidogstrings Clips Used in this episode: Drop it Like Gavotte – Neil Fong Gilfillan Twinkle Arcade - Neil Fong Gilfillan Boom Bap Cello - Neil Fong Gilfillan June 1st Freestyle - Neil Fong Gilfillan On Green Dolphin Street – Christian Howes Waltz for Bill – Christian Howes
Although he is a versatile classically trained violinist, Earl Maneein has taken the path less traveled, pursuing his passion for extreme music. Scroll down to listen in on Episode 23: - Earl's definition of "Heavy" or "Extreme" Music - Earl's projects "Black Heart Sutra," "SEVEN)SUNS," and "Resolution 15" - Moving between classical and extreme music - His path to developing a career as a full time artist while maintaining his street cred in the heavy music scene Please take a moment to visit our sponsor Electric Violin Shop, your one-stop shop for electric instruments, amps, gear, accessories, and most of all, expertise. Use code CHOWES at checkout and take 5% off of your order. Call 866-900-8400 to get your questions answered on "all things electric strings". While you are talking to EVS, be sure to ask them about the new Yamaha Electric Violin (you can check out my video review here). I've been a Yamaha performing artist for almost 20 years now and am very proud to be a part of the Yamaha family.