Things 4 Strings Blog

Better Skills, Greater Joy: Posts from our String Studio

Tips from the Studio: The Four Vibrato Rules

Often students are familiar with the sound and mechanics of vibrato - but just aren't using it yet as a habit. 

The reason? They just don't know when to do it, and "all the time" is both overwhelming and incorrect!

So, to get them started, Ruth Brons has developed the following four rules to help students know when making the

effort to vibrate will yield the greatest rewards.

 

 

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1921 Hits

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

Brief Business History of Things 4 Strings LLC

2008: Violin/Violist and teacher Ruth Brons founds Things 4 Strings LLC, confident she and her mother, cellist and teacher Martha Brons, had developed a solution to a fundamental music education challenge of the bow hold for the beginning string player. First investment: intellectual property (IP) protection.

2009: Potential customer base established via advance marketing on social media and trade conferences. Investments in model digitization and tooling design. Achieved USA manufacturing for all product and packaging components: Made in USA! E-commerce website launches, offering Things 4 Strings® Bow Hold Buddies® & CelloPhant® accessories. Editorial features in several trade magazines, including The Strad Magazine, Strings Magazine and The American String Teachers Association Journal.

2010: US awards four Trademarks. First investments in industry publication/social media ads & featured reviews in trade publications nurture brand. Award of three European Design Registrations.

2011: US awards three Design Patents. Initiates dealer relationships with US and international retailers. New product introduced: Hold Fish® accessory.

2012: Retained Export Liaison builds export strategy & distribution network expands to serve over 50 countries, including Europe, the UK and Australia. US awards Utility Patent.  USA distributor assigned. Ruth's husband Steve Kimmons joins the team to manage increasing order volumes. New product introduced: discounted Things 4 Strings® Studio Kits.

2013: Enter Asia market & retain Sales Agent in China & Product Specialist in Hong Kong.  Ruth’s daughter, violinist/violist Rosalie Dumas joins team as Product Specialist, for a three generation presence at local and international trade events. Winner of local West Orange, NJ “Invention Lives!” contest. Continued conference activity brings total number of local, national and international exhibits since launch to over 50.

2014: Invested in responsive-design website re-launch. Website landing pages created in eight foreign languages, to better serve our global market.  NJ Family Business of the Year Semi-Finalist. Leading Woman Entrepreneur NJ Finalist. Product package re-design completes Phase One of Shipping Optimization Program. Patents awarded in Mexico and Australia. New product introduced: Things 4 Strings ® Magic Rosin®.

2015: Reflecting acceptance of Things 4 Strings® accessories as a main stream teaching tool in this conservative industry, American String Teachers Association awards Ruth Brons the prestigious national Kudos Award: “Kudos to Ruth Brons, and thanks to her for the tremendous impact she has had on music education in our string world!”  NJ Family Business of the Year Semi-Finalist. Product demo tour to over 50 shops in Colorado and California. Phase One & Two of re-tooling investment complete. Studio Kit package re-design completes Phase Two of Shipping Optimization Program. First product knock-offs appear in China.

2016: SBA NJ Business Action Center awards NJ STEP Grant in support of our activities at five international trade events. Start work with export.gov to identify trade partners in new markets. Phase Three of re-tooling investment completes Production Cost Reduction Plan. China Trademarks awarded; Chinese copy-cat patent successfully invalidated through litigation.  Honored sponsor of the European String Teachers Association International Conference (Slovenia). Canada Patent Issued. Russian website landing page added. NJ Family Business of the Year Finalist.

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1191 Hits

European String Teachers Association (ESTA) International Conference!

 

ESTA Slovenia is looking forward to hosting everyone at the forthcoming International ESTA-Conference in Ljubljana (European Green Capital 2016) from 26th to 30th April 2016:

"String instruments have been a major part of our European musical heritage for over a thousand years. Slovenia has always been at the crossroads of Slavic, Romance and Germanic culture. What could be more eloquent and appropriate than to describe the theme of the Conference as “the common heritage of all European peoples”?"

 

Things 4 Strings LLC is a proud Bronze Sponsor of this event. Things 4 Strings inventor and president Ruth Brons is looking forward to meeting her teaching colleagues at this event!

Things 4 Strings LLC is thankful and proud to have been awarded a grant (link to blog) through the NJ Step program to through the U.S. Small Business Administration's New Jersey Business Action Center.

The grant partially offsets the costs of this year's conference exhibitions, including the upcoming ESTA event, in support of New Jersey state trade and exports of products Made in the USA.

 

 

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1224 Hits