Things 4 Strings Blog

Better Skills, Greater Joy: Posts from our String Studio

Bow Squares!

Amy Beshara, Suzuki Violin Program Instructor of theCenter for the Preparatory Arts

(John J. Calli School of Music, Montclair State University) writes:

"I can take a picture on my iphone and draw a square to show them the bow square. 

They love it!"

Try it with your own students, with the an app such the iOS app called Inkboard!


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1919 Hits

CelloPhant® Accessory for Very Young Hands Too!

The bow provides the breath of tone for string players.  While cello bow technique varies widely among fine players, all agree a primary focus of the cello bow hold is lack of tension, and a flexible thumb and fingers. 

The good news is that the CelloPhant® accessory instantly relaxes and supports the fingers of the bow hold! 

The various anatomical features of the elephant, such as toenails and legs, allow the cellist to feel reference points, for consistent bow holds from practice to practice.

The size of the accessory allows an open, relaxed hand, and the circle of the elephant's trunk directs a flexible thumb toward the intersection of the frog and stick, with alternate placements if desired.

Teachers appreciate the flexible-use design of this accessory, allowing for differences of pronation, depending on their own bow technique and student hand size. The accessory is useful for all hand sizes, age 3 through Adult.

Teachers of very young cellists have discovered the special features Martha Brons designed in the accessory for the very youngest Suzuki cello students: an alternate thumb location is to roll thumb tip around elephant's cheek (or between cheek and ear); and young ring fingers like to rest on the top edge of the elephant's leg.  Best tone results when the bow is rested on the string before the right hand is placed.

The accessory also is designed to deliberately add a touch of weight to assist beginning players to achieve a bit more effortless tone -- more tone with which to fall in love!Invented by master string teachers, award-winning Things 4 Strings® bow accessories help shape and stabilize bow holds – moving beginning players to a functional bow hold in an Instant!

The accessories uniquely train the hand to hold the bow correctly and naturally, through muscle memory, thereby freeing the player to learn and enjoy other elements of string playing.

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1770 Hits

Cellophant works for me too!


 I’ve been a cellist all my life, but about two years ago had an injury playing a rather robust piece and believe I tore a ligament. After playing for more than 18 months with constant pain, (even after a 2 month rest) with exrays and suggestions that I was suffering from arthritis (I am not) I was ready to give up my spot in the civic orchestra. I would come home and have to splint my hand for two nights until it felt better.

 I accidentally stumbled upon your Cellophant and thought about it for about six months before I saw one at Groth Music in Minneapolis and impulsively purchased it. I installed it and honestly I feel like I am playing with training wheels. Yet, even with it’s astonishing bright pink color (the only one they had) I haven’t received too many comments from other players—I notice it more than they seem to.

  I am constantly changing my grip to try and figure out how to best hold the darn thing! But the changes to my grip are just what I’ve needed. I think I am using other muscles in the process. 

 And as I try to figure it out, I play in a number of different ways. It really has taken the strain off the area that has been so painful.  I realized the other day that I’ve misplace my splint! I don’t have pain during or after practice, rehearsal and performances. I’ve just finished practicing for about an hour running some difficult passages again and again and here I am typing to you.

 So, there is a market for folk like me who are semi-pro or recreational players and who might have sustained a repetitive injury.  For sure they will find a Cellophant will keep me, and them, in the game!

Thanks for your invention,

Peg Thomas

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1863 Hits

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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1665 Hits

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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1693 Hits