Things 4 Strings Blog

Better Skills, Greater Joy: Posts from our String Studio

Spring Cleaning!

(re-printed from our Spring 2015 Newsletter):

Hands down, this the favorite studio activity of the year.

At the first lesson or class after March 21st, I simply put some lemon oil or rubbing alcohol on cotton balls or small pieces of paper toweling.

The lemon oil is to clean "anything that's brown and shiny," andthe rubbing alcohol is to clean "anything that's black or silver."

I have been doing this for 30+ years, and am still amazed by how much the children enjoy and take pride in the shape and beauty of their most prized possession. Luthiers will tell you all that is needed is a daily wiping with a clean, soft cloth, but this once a year deep-clean brings the instruments back to their just-bought shine.

BTW, Things 4 Strings accessories are "dishwasher" safe -- or good with just a little soap and water!



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2667 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

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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3003 Hits

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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1855 Hits

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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2511 Hits