The NAMM Show, Annaheim, CA Jan 21 - 24, 2016

For those of you who will be at NAMM 2016 this January,

and if you have not done so already,

please let us know: we would love to meet with you!

Simply email Claire (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) your preferred appointment date and time.

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2016 ASTA National Conference: March 2 - 5, 2016 Tampa, FL

American String Teachers Association

The American String Teacher's Association 2016 Conference is slated for Tampa, Florida.

Ruth Brons looks forward to meeting everyone in the Exhibit Hall!


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When Things 4 Strings© accessories are removed, do students maintain their good bow holds?


Of course, student bow holds need monitoring/refining until....always!

But for most students, yes, when the time has come for their Things 4 Strings© accessory to be removed from their bow, the hand has learned the basics of what to do.

(See Length of Use FAQ post here.)

This is especially true for kinesthetic learners;  visual learners may require a more thorough bow hold re-explaination once the accessory is removed.

Aside from the bow hold help, three significant additional benefits of the accessories to a beginner are:

1) the relaxed bow hand translates into a more relaxed bow arm.

A relaxed bow arm much easier to work with and train!

2) the re-allocation of lesson minutes previously devoted to bow hold correction.

How many minutes of each beginner's lesson are typically spent on bow hold correction/explaination? 

Multiply those minutes by a year's worth of lessons, and you can quickly realize the accessory's value in recovered lesson time.

For example, in a studio offering 30 thirty-minute lessons per year, the re-allocation of just 5 minutes per lesson adds up to the equivalant of 5 entire extra lessons per year!   

3) the absolute removal of a major source of frustration in the beginning player experience.

When a fine teacher corrects a bow hold multiple times in a lesson (which is a situation that can occur for....years!), the message is the student percieves is NOT:

"Oh, how lucky I am to have such a fine teacher who cares so much about my future as a musician!

But rather, the student may well be thinking:

"There is something difficult about playing this instrument and I am not very good at it....."

Experienced teachers know that less frustration leads to a better learning situation.



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Why Summer is a Perfect Time to Sign Up for a Music Teacher’s Helper Free Trial

I have been thrilled using MTH (Music Teacher's Helper) for over 10 years now.  This fabulous service, designed by former studio teacher Brandon Pearce, allows me to easily and efficiently manage a host of lesson studio administrative tasks, allowing me to focus on productively juggling lessons, performing commitments and Things 4 Strings LLC. In addition to my prior MTH blog post, here are some more great points to consider now that summer is here.

For many private lesson music teachers, summer is a slower time of year. That’s why it’s a perfect time to be productive about managing your studio for the upcoming busy season. If you aren’t a current user of Music Teacher’s Helper (or haven’t heard of MTH!), let’s examine why right now is a perfect time to take advantage of a free trial.

Girl and dog all packed in car for summer vaction

Gradual adoption

It’s easy to add a student, schedule a lesson, then automatically invoice using our software. But that’s just the “tip of the iceberg” with what you can do. You may want to learn about the lending library, repriotore tracker, mileage input, and any number of other features that enhance the studio experience for you and your students. And there’s lots of great training support to do just that. With written articles, video tutorials, recorded webinars, and even personal setup support, you can go at your own pace to familiarize yourself with the features that you will be using for your studio. If summer is indeed a slower time, now is your chance to set up your studio administration for a smooth busy season.

Add Content to Your Free Studio Website

Music Teacher’s Helper provides professional website themes for you to choose from that you customize with a logo and content. Build exposure and credibility with a website just for your studio.

Doing this over the summer will give you time to focus on what content you’ll want to include.  You can add links, videos, and pictures easily. No website experience needed.

Every studio website also has a blog feature. Have you created a Facebook or Twitter account to promote your studio but struggle with what to post? Blogging helps market your studio because they show up in search engines like Google and can be spread across multiple social media networks. Good content gets shared and drives visitors to your studio website, where they’ll learn more about your services.

No Long-Term Commitments

Monthly pricing plans allow you to move up or down based on how many students you currently have in your studio. There is even a forever free plan available for up to five students. And waiting list or former students do not count towards that total.

Do you know which students are coming back at the end of the summer? Add them into the software now as a former student and convert them to active with a click of a button. Since you already added their information, lesson rate, etc., just schedule them on the calendar. They can then receive email lesson reminders (we have different profiles for child and adult students), a custom invoice with option to pay with a credit card, and after the lesson, you can type notes about how they did for yourself, or allow the student/parent to see the notes as well.

Summer vacation is a time for you to recharge and refocus as you prepare for another group of students. If you set up Music Teacher’s Helper now, you will be able to concentrate more on teaching your students in the fall.

Click Here For MTH Website: Signup for Free Trial Today!


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Miss He's Violin Stadium in Shenzhen City, China

Miss He's Violin Stadium in Shenzhen City, China

After sending our newest accessory color choice out into the world, we eagerly awaited confirmation that we had made the right choice.

A recent visit to Ms. He's class of beginning violin students gave us the answer to our question:

Yes, the girls love Purple Raspberry!

Violin class shows Things 4 String Bow Hold Buddies bow holds 


Miss He and her beginning violin class show Things 4 Strings Bow Hold Buddies violin bow holds

Miss He and her lovely class of violin students.

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Success for Things 4 Strings® Accessories: PALM Music Expo 2015 in Beijing, China

Things 4 Strings® Sales Agent Jerrie Zhao helps young girl with her first violin bow hold!

The Leading Pro Audio, Light, Music & Technology Exhibition on China's most prestigious stage, the PALM Expo 2015 in Beijing continued a long heritage from the successes from 23 successful past annual shows.

Things 4 String® bow accessories are proud to have part of this event servicing the thriving markets in Greater China.

Above, our Sales Agent Jerrie Zhao presented our popular line to the 62,000+ industry attendees -- including one of the world's newest and cutest violinists!


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Things 4 Strings® accessories at Palm Music Expo 2015 in Beijing

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Adult Violin Beginner Franco Esteve Tweets Thanks

What a pleasure to hear from one of the growing population on adult beginners, as we did today on Twitter! Indeed, Ruth initially developed Things 4 Strings® accessories for the benefit of the students (mostly children) in her own studio. But very soon after our launch, the enthusiastic adult beginner community wrote to us that we needed to offer our bow hold aids in a special color just for them: Concert Black!

Adult violin beginner Franco Esteve endorses Things 4 Strings Bow Hold Buddies teaching aid


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Carla Trynchuk, Professor of Music, Andrews University: Special Needs Violin Student

We love helping typical beginners, tho' special applications especially warm our hearts. We are thankful to Carla for sharing this:

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Prettiest violin bow hold pic we've been sent so far!

We love hearing news of "our" students from around the world, and thank the private studio teacher from the beautiful shores of Hai Nan, China for sending us the stunningly beautiful picture!

Young girl playing violin by the sea with Things 4 Strings® Bow Hold Buddies® set

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Purple Raspberry is New Color for Things 4 Strings® Accessories!

Purple Bow Hold Buddies and CelloPhant Accessories, with Things 4 Strings Logo


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.

At www.Things4Strings.com, a Dealer/Distributor Locator Service efficiently connects retailers and end-users to local shopping options in over 25 countries. info@things4stringscom


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A Visit to Qi Ming Xing Violin and Piano School, Hu Nan Province, China!

The attention to technique and tender care by our violin teaching colleagues of the Qi Ming Xing Violin and Piano School from China's Hu Nan Province are easily appreciated as we peek into some recent lessons and recitals!
Things 4 Strings®  Hold Fish®  and Bow Hold Buddies®  accessories assist in recital
Concert Black Hold Fish® accessory assisting intermediate violin student
Pictures courtesy of Things 4 Strings® accessories China Sales Agent, Jerrie Zhao  赵蕊 (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)
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Ruth Brons Responds to Fellow Violin Teacher's Concerns


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.


My response:

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: 

  • our cellist (my mother, cellist Martha Brons' student) enjoyed playing with the NAfME National Youth Orchestra in Nashville last summer,
  • and our violinist (now switched to viola) shone on her solo as principal viola in the NJ Region I (New York area) orchestra last week

Sincerest Best Wishes, 

Ruth Brons 

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


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From Berlin: Vladimir Stoupel, Artistic Director of the Festival Aigues-Vives en Musiques & Judith Ingolfsson, Violinist

We so enjoy connecting through the social media with our family of musicians across the globe.

We share musics news, tidbits and humor -- and especially enjoy hearing news of "our" students!  

Here is a Tweet, just in from Berlin on our @Things4Strings account



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Things 4 Strings® Accessories in Recital!

How do our popular bow hold accessories perform on stage?

Photographer Claire Stefani captured these lovely studio recital performances just a few weeks ago!

Violin Teacher Ruth Brons at Studio Recital

Girl playing cello with CelloPhant® accessory

Young girl plays violin with Bow Hold Buddies® accessory set on bow

Young boy plays violin with Bow Hold Buddies® set on violin bow

Young Girl playing violin with Bow Hold Buddies® accessory set

Girl playing violin with Bow Hold Buddies® accessory set







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Music Teachers Helper: Essential to Managing Ruth Brons' Busy Studio



I have been thrilled using MTH (Music Teacher's Helper) for almost 10 years now.  This fabulous service, designed by former studio teacher Brandon Pearce, allows me to easily and efficiently manage a host of lesson studio administrative tasks, allowing me to focus on productively juggling lessons, performing commitments and Things 4 Strings LLC. While I must say I do allot some time in September entering in all the regular weekly lessons for the school year, and did spend some time initially getting familiar with MTH, that time spent was time well invested.

I rely on MTH to manage lessons , appointments, rehearsals, concerts, gigs, recitals, studio invoices, studio payments, studio announcements

The bookkeeping is very clear to everyone, and accurate and reliable.

The online Calendar may be viewed only after login. In today’s world of heightened awareness of the importance of privacy, I have it set up so students will only see events on the calendar that are either their own lesson or lessons created as Global Events visible to all, such as recitals, lesson slots available to be booked, or announcements.

How I offer a limited measure of scheduling flexibility to my full studio, using MTH, is as follows: whenever a student cancels a lesson online, MTH sends me an email alert. I then go online and create an “Available” lesson slot during that newly available time. Any student logging on and looking for an additional lesson or rescheduling option will then be able to book that slot. If a student cancels a lesson and also books an alternate lesson (and I know if this happens because MTH sends an email if a lesson is booked online]), then I delete the charges for the cancelled lesson. Otherwise the charge for the cancelled lesson will remain on the student’s account.

I take advantage of the automatic monthly invoice option, and online PayPal payments too—such a time saver. Before I deposit any student payments I enter it into MTH, and the parent is emailed a receipt and their online account is automatically updated. If a parent has a question about their account, they just log in to MTH. After a lesson time has passed, I like to used the Reconcile feature and quickly mark the lesson as Attended, Missed or Cancelled—details that will show up on any invoices MTH is set to automatically generate and email to every family each month.  Unfamiliarity with Studio Policies is a thing of the past since I pasted in on the end of the automatic invoice text!

Overall advice—MTH is a bargain, hands down.

The time spent setting everything up will be saved many times over.

Thanks to MTH I now spend zero time on the phone with students over scheduling or billing issues. Zero!!!

Click here learn more and save 10% on Music Teachers Helper


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Orchestra Director & Violinist Rosemary Ardner: "Great product =)"


Orchestra Director & Violinist Rosemary Ardner

It was so nice to receive this message with the subject line "Great product =)" in our InBox today!




Response from Ruth Brons:

Thank you, Rosemary -- it is great to hear form you.

And let's definitely be in touch about Illinois Music Education Association Conference 2016!

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Bow Hold Buddies® Accessories for Antonio Strad's Beginners!

Things 4 Strings® accessories in Antonio Strad Violin Shop

"There are so many complex aspects of playing, it is common for children to be discouraged by the endless preparation for the use of their bow. Bow Hold Buddies are a great way to ensure that your child is developing proper habits with their instrument." - Antonio Strad Violins, San Antonio, TX


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Honored at 22nd Annual New Jersey Family Business of the Year Awards!


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Kim Kashkashian, viola soloist: "Fantastic tool!"


Dear Ruth,
Claire Stefani showed me your bow hold inventions today,
and I wanted to tell you that it is a fantastic tool!
I am going to try it on a very talented 18 year old with a terrible bow hand. Thank you for making this!
All best wishes, Kim Kashkashian

Kashkashian endorses Things 4 Strings® Bow Hold Buddies® accessories

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Recognition from the New Jersey Office of the Governor!

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie letter recognizes Things 4 Strings LLC

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