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Corwin Slack

My shoulder rest...

June 9, 2007 at 6:16 PM

Tough subject for the day -- My shoulder rest. I don’t have one and have not since the early spring of 1998.

While I was a teenager I read one of the Applebaum interviews with Nathan Milstein. I recalled very clearly that Milstein said that the function of the left hand was to hold up the violin. I intuitively said yes but I had neither the will nor the means to drop my shoulder rest. I had been steered into a dead end.

I can look around me and see many players who are much better than I am who use a shoulder rest. Perhaps it is right for them. I have some deep reservations but lacking their physical and mental make-ups, I’ll never know.

I do know that dropping the shoulder rest was like breaking a dam that was impeding my progress. I could not have done it without a very insightful teacher who himself had dropped the shoulder rest and who had gone through relearning process.

There were several fundamental understandings I had to gain to make this transition to no shoulder rest.

1. Lifting the shoulder was not a correct solution
2. There was no need to hold the violin up with my chin and shoulder. (There are plenty of pictures of great violinists tuning their instruments who clearly cannot turn just the peg but have to hold the scroll in their hand)
3. The adaptation of the left hand, if done properly, would improve my technique not limit it.

Several events started me forward:

1. I bought an early 20th century violin by a famous maker in the summer of 1997.
2. That fall I was asked to sit concertmaster (a rotating position) in a town-gown orchestra I was a member of.
3. The student conductor gave me bowed and fingered parts that had some errors in them. I asked him who did it and hired his mentor, the man who fingered and bowed the parts, to explain them to me. He became my teacher. (And he corrected the transcription errors made by the student conductor).
4. Teacher didn’t insist that I immediately drop the shoulder rest but he made life quite painful for me. It became clear I was going to have to change.
5. I showed my newly purchased violin to a prominent violinist who owned several by the same maker. He doesn’t play with a shoulder rest and he didn’t offer to let me use one when I played his instruments. I was humiliated.
6. After my turn as concertmaster I dropped my shoulder rest and never picked it up again.

How has it gone?

It was quite difficult at first. Changes and improvements happened in quanta not gradually or continuously. Vibrato never was a problem. Shifting upward on the first three positions was relatively easily mastered. Down shifting, especially on the G and D strings in the lower positions took a while. Learning to cross the bout efficiently and smoothly was a very long process. It took lots of adjustments.

It would be delusional to say that I have perfected the transition but I am clearly a better player today than I was before the switch. I would encourage others to make the jump but I offer several cautions.

1. Don’t lift your shoulder. Don’t lift it permanently, don’t lift it momentarily, don’t lift it to shift. Just don’t lift it. (The picture on my profile is my standard playing posture.)
2. Get someone to show you how to do it. Best choices
a. Someone who has made the change
b. Someone who never used a shoulder rest
c. Someone who doesn’t lift his/her shoulder.
3. Don’t linger between using it and not using it. Take the plunge.

There are several other things to consider.
1. Don’t drop your thumb under the neck (pointed back to the scroll) when you shift. The thumb will gradually drop as you shift upward.
2. Work early on to get rid of first finger dominance. The hand needs to be rotated to the neck and the balance of the hand should be between the second and third fingers. The violin should rest on the little shelf at the base of the first finger when you form it into a hook and push the base knuckle forward. This is easy to say but it takes a lot of concentration to make this work.
3. Don’t curve your palm too much. When you reach the bout the base of the palm should be under the violin, not hitting the bout.
4. Keep your elbow under the violin.
5. Practice Yost!
6. Practice legato as frequently as possible (including the Yost scales). You can hide all sorts of technical defects in between up bow and down bow. You have to hear your technique to improve it.

Don’t set unrealistic expectations. Don’t compare yourself to others. You will improve but this isn’t the hidden secret to greatness. It is a wonderful route to betterness.

From Nate Robinson
Posted on June 9, 2007 at 6:44 PM
I absolutely agree with you 100%. The key is to make sure not to lift the shoulder. I feel the shoulder rest does change the tone of an instrument quite a bit.
From Corwin Slack
Posted on June 9, 2007 at 10:57 PM
While it may be true, I prefer to avoid the "sounds better" debate. I think that there are a huge number of technical opportunities in tone production that have a huge payback and will make a bigger difference than having or not having a shoulder rest. There are advantages to having a lower posture that allows the fleshy part of the finger to contact the strings etc. but they are the by-product of the change in technique that may occur.
From Yixi Zhang
Posted on June 9, 2007 at 11:22 PM
Thanks, Corwin for making it so clear about dos and don’ts playing sr. I’m a recent convert as well, but I did on my own without much coaching from my teachers. I struggled for a few months and tried different things, including a lot of different shoulder and chin rests, sponges of all sorts. Now I’m fine. I find a high chin rest and (in my case a high center-mounted chin rest) can be very helpful for some people. Also, shoulder rest free means I’m lowing the violin, which gives better bow arm control.
From Linda Lerskier
Posted on June 10, 2007 at 12:06 AM
"There are plenty of pictures of great violinists tuning their instruments who clearly cannot turn just the peg but have to hold the scroll in their hand"

How else would you do it? You can always lean against the wall. ;)

Loving the repetition for effect. Don't lift you shoulder, don't lift it!! :)

From Corwin Slack
Posted on June 10, 2007 at 12:43 AM
Linda, Before I dropped the shoulder rest I could just turn the peg. Without the shoulder rest I have to cup the scroll in my hand and turn the peg from the bottom.

It is a very small price to pay.

From Chris Dolan
Posted on June 10, 2007 at 12:48 AM
I am only a beginner as I started just this last February, but have already run head-long into the issue of shoulder rest vs. no shoulder rest. I loath the shoulder rest, and find myself more free to move about the instrument without one, but on the bad days (of which there have been a lot lately), I sometimes find myself turning to the shoulder rest for comfort.

Intuitively I can tell, really tell, that the answer lies in learning the instrument without the use of a shoulder rest, and so I will continue to learn and develop in this manner. Beside that, should I stick with the shoulder rest now, I can see the day when I would be again faced with the decision of whether or not I should go on using this device. In short, I just know the day would come when I would have to drop the shoulder rest in order to develop into as good a violinist as I hope to one day become. I'd rather learn to do so now rather than after much of my technique has already developed. The way I see it, using a shoulder rest is kind of like smoking...sooner or later you're gonna want (or have) to quit, so why start?

Thanks for a GREAT blog, it came at a great time in the life of this emerging violinist's life!

From al ku
Posted on June 10, 2007 at 2:11 AM
corwin, very thoughtful post.

if i read your post correctly, you changed not because it was a physical issue to you since you did not mention any discomfort, nor was it a sound issue (in your reply to nathan); it is more like a social pressure issue, that others in different situations have influenced you into changing.

you state that you are a "better" player because of that. can you elaborate on that, because i am not too sure from your writing what you mean and your ideas of comparing the old you vs the new you since you have since grown musically with time and practice both of which may be independent of the sr.

don't get me wrong, i am all for people getting what they truely desire and what fit them, sr or not. even from your post i got a sense this issue is more than physical and acoustic. on an elementary level, it reminds me of kids buying certain brands of sneakers because celebrities endorse them.

my sympathy goes out to those who are using sr when they should not and those who are not using sr but should and particularly those who are using sr because they think others expect them too.

From Corwin Slack
Posted on June 10, 2007 at 2:50 AM
Good questions. I took my last real lessons at around age 19 and didn't resume again until about age 45. But I played continuously in the interim. I married a pianist and the opportunity to play regularly with accompaniment helped lot in my development (rhythmic and intonation) but I recognized that I was plateaued and I needed a breakthrough. I also had the nagging suspicion that dropping the shoulder rest was the answer but tentative attempts to do it on my own were not at all successful.

I would tell you all me feats and accomplishments but they would probably be underwhelming to most violinists; however, they are significant for me. I can solve left hand problems much more quickly, I shift more smoothly and I play much better in tune than I did previously. I always know where I am when I am in the upper positions. I credit most of this to dropping the shoulder rest.

From Pauline Lerner
Posted on June 10, 2007 at 5:48 AM
I don't understand. If you are holding the violin with your left hand, how can shifting be smoother? You said that your intonation improved, too. Was that just in the higher positions or everywhere?
From Emily Grossman
Posted on June 10, 2007 at 6:59 AM
Shifting becomes very intimate without a shoulder rest. You are now balancing the neck in the hand, and when you shift, you glide along, all the while continuing the balancing act. There is no hop. Gripping won't work. The only way it works is to glide the thumb while relaxed in the hand, until you reach your destination. You feel the shift quite nicely this way.

I made the transition a couple of years ago. I have since changed my left hand setup completely, so that the violin neck rests deeper, just above the middle thumb joint (not down in the flabby section). I can play without the contact of my index finger, although for faster passages it almost always touches (though it never supports). By balancing on the thumb alone, I am able to settle my fingers back a bit and center the pitches on the meatier part of my pads. I have a free, relaxed vibrato because I'm not obliged to keep contact with the index. I just balance it on the thumb.

This whole setup works for me only if I play restless.

From Corwin Slack
Posted on June 10, 2007 at 11:24 AM
I don't balance the violin on the thumb but rather on the the little "shelf" at the base of the index finger. The thumb, ever so lightly, provides just enough resistance to help keep it on the shelf. But the hand is now more organically part of the technique.

I don't mean this is a demeaning way but if you ride large tricycle it wouldn't matter how you leaned when you pumped the pedals of the tricycle. When you ride a bicycle your body has to move in a proper way to stay balanced and not fall over. You don't think that much about it and you can still do it. Playing without a shoulder rest is like riding a bicycle. Moment by moment you move in a way that almost tips the balance and then you recover it again but quite naturally.

From al ku
Posted on June 10, 2007 at 11:21 AM
couple points:

1. sr or sr-less, index finger should not touch the neck (other than fingertip pad), right?

2. if in trying to balance the neck (to counter the gravity in sr-less situation?), the neck now sits deeper into the ring formed by the thumb and index finger (with each other fingers as well), abutt the thumb, allowing the index finger to hover higher over the fingerboard, allowing execution of notes from a different angle, with different part of the fingertip pad, creating a differnt ?feel/sound, then why can't people using sr learn to reposition the thumb contact point and hand position as such to experience this different setup?

From al ku
Posted on June 10, 2007 at 11:40 AM
corwin, somehow, in terms of your analogy of bike vs tricycle, i would think tricycle, with more stability (thus less "freedom" as people say) equates the use of sr.

sr-less mandates one to balance with thumb (emily) and index finger "area" (you)....doesn't that sound more like a bike situation where one has to keep the balance in check or one may tip over the balance point?

between bike and tri, i would pick bike over tri because it is more fun:)
it is more fun because i know if i tip over the balance point i will fall:)

From Karen Allendoerfer
Posted on June 10, 2007 at 12:40 PM
Well, I'm not ready to give up my shoulder rest altogether, but interestingly I made some of the transitions that you mention anyway, on my own. I was taught as a child (in public school) to be able to hold the violin up with my chin and shoulder and just turn the pegs while tuning. I remember being proud of being able to do this. I sustained a left thumb injury when I was 11 (shut it in a car door) that meant that for several months I played without using my left thumb much at all because it was in a cast. Even after the cast came off, I think I had developed a playing style that relied on not using the left hand for support, which continued through high school and college--and was never disputed or questioned by any of my teachers. In my late teens I developed back pain when I played for more than half an hour or so. Orchestra rehearsals became difficult for me to sit through. When I went to graduate school at age 21, I stopped playing violin for several years. I started playing again in my late 20's, and then again recently in my early 40's, now also viola. I had an Alexander Teacher help me last time with the back pain, and it did seem to help, in that the way she showed me to hold my back and shoulders and to sit on my sitting bones diminished the back pain enough that I could again sit through entire orchestra rehearsals pain-free. But she also didn't address my left hand.

It was only recently that I realized that the viola was just too heavy for me to hold up with my chin and shoulder. When I did that with a viola, the back pain and tension in my left arm started within 15-20 minutes. It was from clamping down too hard with my chin, not so much lifting the shoulder, but that too. So I started holding the viola up somewhat with my left hand--balancing it, as people said--and paying attention to using my left thumb, the injury to which has long since healed, although it's about a half-centimeter shorter than my right thumb. I also sometimes just lift my chin off the chin-rest during a pause in the music to make sure I'm not clamping down.

Now I can play easily for at least an hour or so (unfortunately that's all the time I have to practice)without pain. And my vibrato is better, not worse, as I had feared, because my wrist and arm don't tense up. I still don't use my left thumb totally naturally--the tip was completely severed and partially re-attached, and the innervation isn't completely normal. But I can use that thumb much more than I have been, and the injury doesn't have to be an excuse, I can work around it.

I have a long neck and small, sloping shoulders and I'm still going to keep the shoulder rest. Even using my new hold that involves the left arm and thumb, I can't really play without one--I've tried. It's not just a matter of a "lower" hold. It's hard to explain, and I've decided that for now the extremes of the shoulder rest debate don't have relevance for me. But nonetheless I think the principles involved and articulated in your post have helped me--even *with* the shoulder rest!

From Raphael Klayman
Posted on June 10, 2007 at 1:02 PM
Congratulations on your personal search. I've been playing w.o. a rest since 1986, when I learned how to do so from Aaron Rosand. My own current approach is still closely based on that. You might want to take a look at it on my website -
Click on "writings", then "fundamentals of holding the violin". In a recent post I made an analogy between riding a bike with training wheels = using a rest, to riding w.o. = no rest. It takes some time, and a different technique. But once you get it, you feel more free, and a more intimate and organic connection with the instrument.

Obviously there are great players who use a rest, and rest-less players should not feel superior. But neither should rest users regard non rest-ers as oddities, and I do object when teachers advocate a rest as an automatic normal default procedure.

From Corwin Slack
Posted on June 10, 2007 at 8:06 PM
Al, The violin does rest ever so gently at the base of the index finger. That is what holds the violin up. Teacher uses the rubric "three points of contact", finger, base of index finger and thumb. Of course over the bout the points of contact change but it is still three points of contact.
From Corwin Slack
Posted on June 10, 2007 at 8:10 PM
Al, To your second question: Perhaps someone with a shoulder rest can learn to do that and perhaps some of the most successful sr users do exactly that. I am not in a position to iknow.

For myself necessity is a great motivator.

From Corwin Slack
Posted on June 10, 2007 at 8:18 PM
Raphael, I have read a lot about palying without a shoulder rest and there seem to be many ways to accomplish this. Since I am not a recognized virtuoso with the credibility that could come with that, I hesitate to take exception to other methods of achieving shoulder-restless playing.

My assessment of any method would be "does it allow the shoulder to remain relaxed?". Anything that includes an active shoulder has a degree of danger that I think should be avoided.

From Raphael Klayman
Posted on June 11, 2007 at 12:33 AM
I believe that my approach (-have you read it?-) does, indeed, allow the shoulder to remain relaxed. But relaxed does not mean immobilized - which, in fact is not relaxed. When we play, we are in motion - everywhere. It's most obvious in our hands and arms, of course. But the rest of our body comes into play as well, however subtly. When we change strings and positions, our hands and arms change angles. It would be a stiff, immobilized shoulder that did not move slightly and subtly as well. (Try to mime such motions w.o. the violin to easily see this.) We should feel that we are practically floating with the violin. Every part of our body should remain flexible.
From Corwin Slack
Posted on June 11, 2007 at 1:16 AM
I did read your and I am in no position to criticize it.

In my definition an active shoulder is one that has to be thought about. If you have to think about keeping it immobile it is active. If you have to think about raising it to some angle it is active. If it is just relaxed all the time I consider it inactive.

From Corwin Slack
Posted on June 11, 2007 at 1:20 AM
ps Did you see my picture in my profile. My shoulder is so far away from the violin I wouldn't know how to get it involved.
From Jon O'Brien
Posted on June 11, 2007 at 1:26 AM
Freedom is riskier, but it is also more fun.

That is the whole history of humanity wrapped up in one sentence. Al ku, did you know that you often come out with profound statements of philosophy?

From Jon O'Brien
Posted on June 11, 2007 at 1:38 AM
That enormous gap under your violin, Corwin: I had a teacher who wanted to fill that gap up. She told me to get a wolf rest, so I got one. Then I had to get some extra padding, as well (orange coloured felt stuff I found who knows where). My teacher cobbled all this crud together into some sort of (truly bizarre, and I do not exagerate!) monstrosity that wobbled and bobbled and creaked and groaned under my violin. The absurdity factor rose to alarming levels and I had to gracefully bow out of those lessons. thats why on my profile page I list myself as one of my teachers. I play restless, just like my very first teacher did.
From Raphael Klayman
Posted on June 11, 2007 at 2:03 AM
Yes Corwin, that is an enormous gap. If it works for you, fine. Most would feel the need to fill that gap with a rest or pad. My approach greatly lessens that gap w.o. one. To go into more detail on my approach would just be repeating what I've already said here and on my website. I'm a very active and experienced professional who learned this approach from one of the greatest virtuosos of our time. That still won't make it right for everyone. But for someone who wants to experiment, and is feeling "restless" - try it, you might like it!
From Corwin Slack
Posted on June 11, 2007 at 2:26 PM
There is a big gap between my feet and the base of the violin. But my feet have no more involvement in holding up the violin than my shoulder does so I think that it is largely an irrelevant gap.

My violin is resting on the corner of my collarbone. That corner seems to be at its highest point when the shoulder is relaxed. If I raise my shoulder then that corner rotates (or seems to rotate) slightly down which wouldn't be good. I don't see a need to involve any other point of my shoulder in contact with the violin.

From Jon O'Brien
Posted on June 12, 2007 at 1:25 AM
I've never admitted this before but I actually ripped a shoulder rest off the back of my violin once, screwed it and twisted it into a little ball (presumably i must have put my fiddle down carefully, first, I can't remember), and pitched it at full force to the other side of the room, where it bouced harmlessly off the wall and lay on the ground, dead. And I never thought I was a violent person.
From Raphael Klayman
Posted on June 12, 2007 at 1:26 AM
Non-sequiter re the feet. Obviously, the shoulder and the clavicle are next-door neighbors, and relate to one another quite significantly. Again, if you're comfortable, and play truly well with your unusual approach, fine. But consider some of the greatest violinists...Look at pictures - still or moving - of such greats as Heifetz, Elman, Milstein, Francescatti, Ricci, Rabin, Rosand, Nadien, Friedman, Perlman, Zuckerman, Oliveira, Mutter - just a few non-resters that come to mind. I'll add to the list some greats who used modest attached padding - Oistrakh, Grumiaux, Silverstein. Did (do) these great players all hold their violins the same way? No. There is a range, a continuum. Some have advocated placing the violin entirely on the shoulder; some on the collarbone - but never on a tiny point of it; some, like me, a little inbetween. Yet they all share a family resmblance, whereas none of them look remotely like you. Does that tell you anything at all? I was really trying to be supportive of your efforts. But don't make the mistake that I've seen before here on of some - repeat, just SOME - amateurs stubbornly refusing to seriously consider highly adept professional examples and advice. I wouldn't presume to argue with great success, however pecuiliar, though I might question how widely exemplary it might be. If Hilary Hahn played the violin with her feet, so be it. But I really think you may be cruising for a bruising with your violin teetering on that point.
From Jon O'Brien
Posted on June 12, 2007 at 2:33 AM
I hope I'm not cruisin for a bruisin by stepping in between you two pros, but I hope Raphael I'm not one of those too-proud-to-listen amateurs. I'd just like to say that use of the shoulder, for me, is fine (perhaps in moderation). I've clearly seen Elman, Francescatti (who I think used a small pad under his jacket), and Heifetz on video all using their shoulder (at least momentarily) to help hold the violin. The proof of the pudding is in the final result: the music that comes out of the instrument, and the longevity of the career. Sorry, but I find this a compelling topic.
From Raphael Klayman
Posted on June 12, 2007 at 11:01 AM
Jon - I agree that the proof of the pudding is in the eating. I thought I'd made that point with all those tasty puddings I'd listed. ALL of them, even those advocating the colar bone, make some use of the shoulder - at least to the extent of bringing it over a little - never up.

The fact is that it was NOT an argument between two pros. If there's any confusion as to which is which, look up our respective bios, and my website.

From Jon O'Brien
Posted on June 12, 2007 at 11:45 AM
Whoops! I made a boo-boo. I knew you were a professional Raphael, so at least I got that bit right.
From Corwin Slack
Posted on June 12, 2007 at 2:13 PM
Rafael, I just know that there are many talented people who play very well under a variety of circumstances.

I also know that there are talented people dropping out of the professional world with injuries from using a shoulder rest and from not using a shoulder rest (i.e. lifting their shoulder or some other defect) I take it that almost all of them were trained by professionals so you'll see what that appellation taken by itself means to me.

Nathan Milstein used to give demonstrations of playing with the violin resting on his upper arm. He didn't even seem to need his collarbone and chin (i.e. the guy knew the unicycle).

I have absolutely no knowledge of the Alexander technique but it strikes me that everything anyone says about it says that tension is bad.

I don't know what you do with your shoulder and I really don't care. I just want anyone that ventures away from a shoulder rest to be very careful about what they do with their shoulder. I am (scanty to be sure) evidence that it may not be necessary to do anything with it at all.

I am extremely guarded about my public statements about my capabilities. I am decidedly not a professional. Since I have no intention of offering a playing sample you'll either have to visit me personally or take my word for it that this works (for me).

From Corwin Slack
Posted on June 12, 2007 at 2:35 PM
ps Look at this clip of Nathan Milstein

Since there is no shot from the same angle as my profile (and I challenge folks to find pictures taken from that angle) I will characterize the difference as I see it.

He holds the violin where I do on the collarbone but he doesn't hold his arm up so high. I posed the picture in my profile for effect. I tend to keep my elbow relatively close to the body so the violin isn't quite so high. My normal playing posture looks very much like Milstein.

One other thing to note in this clip. Milstein's thumb lags his fingers in down shifts. This is as Teacher taught me and seems to go strongly against the grain of the pedagogues who published on shifting technique.

Regretably I can find no other sources of similarity between me and Milstein :) or is that :(

From Raphael Klayman
Posted on June 12, 2007 at 11:15 PM
I'm pretty familiar with how Milstein played. He was one of the ones I had in mind when I noted the continuum that included a coller bone adcocacy. But even he had his shoulder somewhat over - no big gap.
Few people, indeed, can resemble how he sounded!
From Corwin Slack
Posted on June 13, 2007 at 2:43 AM
Perhaps Milstein moved his shoulder but I doubt it.
From Raphael Klayman
Posted on June 13, 2007 at 4:41 AM
It's not that Milstein actively MOVED his shoulder much, which I never advocated. He HAD his shoulder over, w.o. any big gap. As Rosand says, "the shoulder and clavicle togeher form a table upon which the violin rests." Why anyone would prefer a lttle point rather than a sensible mesa is beyond me. I was just reviewing portions of "The Art of Violin". There's no doubt about it, re Milstein. To my continuum I'll also add - just from that film alone, Menhuin, Thibaud, Szerying, Kogan, and Ida Hendel. In fact this list is endless. It's not a question of 'many fine players'. It's EVERY great player I can think of. And these are people with very long careers, for the most part. (Anybody can develop a problem anywhere, no matter what they do. But my understanding is that more string players have actually developed serious problems in their right shoulder than their left.) Name me ONE great violinist who looks quite a bit like the photo of yourself that you've made a point of presenting. Do you really feel you've invented a better mouse trap? If so, everybody, as the saying goes, will eventually beat a path to your door.

Speaking of which, thank you for your invitation for me to come visit you and hear you, but I'm a little busy with my professional career. Not that I haven't travelled. In 1990 I made my European solo recital debut in Geneva, Switzerland. In 2001 I toured Japan in an orchestra. And I've recently been tentatively invited to perform as a soloist in China. But tell you let me know when you come to my neck of the woods - New York - to make your NY recital debut, as I did in 1991, and schedule permitting, I'll gladly come and hear you.

From Corwin Slack
Posted on June 13, 2007 at 4:15 PM
Rafael, Your professional accomplishments are outstanding, to be sure. But if I were choosing my course based on the accomplishments of my betters wouldn't I choose a shoulder rest like Maxim Vengerov, Gil Shaham, or Hillary Hahn? In an argument on their methods versus your method wouldn't I be forced to defer to their resumes?
I can see a video of Aaron Rosand playing Zapateado and he most certainly lifts his shoulder. The playing is fabulous and far beyond my capabilities but I am sorry I have no intention of copying his shoulder technique. You see the problem is that I don't see where lifting my shoulder would change anything substantial that would allow me to play like him. If there is something I can do to play like that it most for sure isn't his shoulder lift.

But I am not just an impudent amateur inventing it as I go. My teacher, like yours, is a grand student of Ysaye with his own accomplishments as a pedagogue and performer and my choices and techniques have been informed substantially by his teaching.

Let's leave the discussion like this: You (an accomplished professional and a student of Aaron Rosand) believe that the shoulder needs to be more involved in holding up the violin than me (a student of a fine teacher in the same tradition as Aaron Rosand) who believes that any tensing of the shoulder must be viewed very skeptically. We both hold our opinions in a world of numerous and diverse opinions held by players and teachers of greater accomplishments than you or me

From Michael Roth
Posted on June 13, 2007 at 6:12 PM
I too have recently made that transition from SR to no SR and I have certainly noticed a few big differences. The biggest of which is in my sound, it was as if I took off an invisible mute. Although I am going to have to relearn a few left handed techniques, I think I am going to stay SRless for a long time to come.

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