We love helping typical beginners, tho' special applications especially warm our hearts. We are thankful to Carla for sharing this:
Things 4 Strings LLC announces the addition of a new color choice to its award-winning line of bow accessories: Purple Raspberry.
Things 4 Strings® accessories allow beginning orchestral string players the benefits of a relaxed and effective bow hold. Students enjoy producing bowed tones right from their very first lesson, and, with no need for constant bow hold corrections, string teachers and parents optimize valuable instruction and practice time. Made in the USA, these accessories are molded of the finest medical-grade silicone rubber, are durable and washable, and are universal-fit for players aged 3 through adult on any size bow.
The Bow Hold Buddies® accessory, for violin and viola, positions and supports all fingers of the right hand, allowing contact with the bow in all the customary places. The 2-piece set is comprised of a frog-themed thumb/index finger shaper, plus an adjustable pinky support (also available separately as the Hold Fish® accessory). The adorably unique shape and size of the CelloPhant® accessory for cello or (French-style bow) bass, allows for a flexible thumb and an open, relaxed hand. In addition to the new Purple Raspberry color, Bow Hold Buddies® accessories are available in Bright Blue, Sparkly Pink, Green/Gold and Concert Black, and CelloPhant® accessories are available in Bright Blue, Sparkly Pink, Classic Gray and Concert Black.
Accessory inventor and studio teacher Ruth Brons was recently honored for her work advancing strings education by the American String Teachers Association (ASTA) with the prestigious Kudos Award. “Bow Hold Buddies dramatically reduce the time it takes students to master a proper bow hold. Students' energy can be redirected towards other challenges. Quicker progress, more fun!” said Brons.
Launched in 2009, Things 4 Strings® patented accessories have rapidly achieved popularity with studio and classroom teachers worldwide. “For those who can already play, the necessary bow hold corrections are done very quickly. They practice with the bow hold buddies at home, and the new habits form effortlessly. For beginners, they provided an easy and safe introduction to an excellent bow hold. I have been known to be skeptical with regard to gadgets - but not here. These Bow Hold Buddies (and Cellophants) work great, and we will keep using them!” said Kurt Sassmannshaus, String Dept. Chair, University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music.
The conjectures/concerns voiced in a note I received last week may be common among teachers who have not yet tried Things 4 Strings® accessories with their beginning students.
So here I share both the letter and my response to it:
My colleague wrote:
I know you mean well with your " bow hold buddy "products, but attachments like this to the bow and violin are not substitutes for diligent instruction and practice over a long period of time.
They may actually be damaging in the long term if the student never has to self monitor his bow hold. Eventually the buddy has to come off.
4 year olds are capable of holding the violin and bow correctly, if the teacher knows how to show them the way and encourages the parent and child to enjoy the journey.
Thank you for your thoughtful note.
This snowy evening of no students allows me to take a few minutes to respond in kind.
Teaching a full, primarily Suzuki, studio since 1981, with many students excelling and continuing on to careers in music, your note got me thinking how the introduction of these bow hold accessories into my studio seven years ago has changed both how I teach, and the progress of my students as a whole.
Really the only thing that has changed with my teaching is that the time spent with each student on bow hold instruction is delayed often until after Book 1 or 2 is well finished.
Of course I then monitor/pick at the bow hold until the kids go off to college, as I always did.
But, overall, the lesson time devoted to bow hold correction totalled over the years is minimal compared to that of my first 27 years of teaching.
In looking at my my studio as a whole, there is no question that the kids (and adults) are getting off to a quicker, more positive and more satisfying start.
Lesson time previously devoted to bow hold instruction/correction has been re-allocated to instruction in other skills and material.
And, with a relaxed and effective bow hold from Day One (which also translates into a relaxed and workable bow arm), the beginners are achieving a more rewarding sound from the start.
In fact, it occurred to me just today that I cannot think of a single beginner in the last five years who has discontinued lessons.
As to your conjecture that accessory use may damage students, parents of our initial "guinea pig" students would disagree:
Sincerest Best Wishes,
American String Teachers Association Kudos Award Recipient
Center for the Preparatory Arts of the Cali School of Music, Montclair State University, Suzuki Program Coordinator
Ruth Brons Violin Studio, www.brons.us
Things 4 Strings LLC , President, www.Things4Strings.com