Things 4 Strings Blog

Better Skills, Greater Joy: Posts from our String Studio

Things 4 Strings®  accessories help beginning string players around the globe enjoy head starts on their musical journeys, and they have done so since 2009. Top questions are answered here! 

If we have missed your question, please email Ruth: info@things4strings.com

 

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

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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 a Bow Accessory?

Adult cellist with CelloPhant® accessory

The cost of giving the gift of music accomplishment includes not only money, but also invaluable expenditures of effort and time.

A Things 4 Strings® patented bow accessory is a bargain that will maximize your investment on lessons and accelerate musical abilities – and ultimately the joy of playing an instrument.

Even with a best effort on the part of both student and teacher, it can take years of lessons and practice for most students to accomplish a stable and effectively relaxed bow hold.

Things 4 Strings® bow accessories work to teach beginners to hold the bow correctly without undue concern about the placement of their fingers.  Once the hand is trained the product may safely be removed from the bow. The accessory can easily be reattached if needed.

* Beginners, young and old,  enjoy the rewards of playing sooner, and progress though lesson material faster, because less time is spent on bow hold corrections.

* Continuing players have found these accessories very useful for remedial work.

* Therapists have found many special applications for players with physical challenges in their bow hand.

* Great for Suzuki Violin, Viola & Cello students, traditional private lesson students, school orchestra programs, and self -learners.  Universal-Fit, for all beginning players, ages 3 to 103!

Engineered with solid pedagogy - and FUN. All will love the colorful frogs, fish, and elephants!

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What size cello or (French-style bow) bass accessory should I use?

CelloPhant® accessory n use by all agesThings 4 Strings® accessories are indeed universal-fit, One Size Fits All, useful for both children (as young as three) and adult hands.  

Things 4 Strings® accessories are indeed universal-fit, One Size Fits All, useful for both children (as young as three) and adult hands.

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

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.

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Are Things 4 Strings® bow accessories washable?

CelloPhant® accessory gets a bath

Yes! Accessories, when not installed on a bow, are washable in soap and water -- even the dishwasher, if necessary.

 

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