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Claire Luu

Hilary Hahn on getting the best set-up: choosing chinrests and shoulder rests

August 8, 2010 at 6:51 PM

After the "BREAKING NEWS" 3 days ago that Hilary Hahn is developing a book of etudes, it now appears that she is also developing a new chin rest that is more 'jaw friendly'. Will the wonders of this amazing woman never cease?!

From Michael Divino
Posted on August 9, 2010 at 2:07 AM

 :))))))))))))))))))))))))) I AM SO HAPPY!

From Michael Pijoan
Posted on August 9, 2010 at 4:50 AM

 I can't wait for Ms. Hahn's etude book!  I love etudes. 

From John Cadd
Posted on August 9, 2010 at 10:34 AM

Hilary   (I hope this goes to Hilary ), May I send you the shoulder rest that I have developed? It`s quite different to all the others and famous players like Smiley Hsu are very happy with it`s effectiveness.  It does not need any adjustment and removes the need to clamp down on the chinrest.   It will save a lot of pain and unhappiness in the violin / viola world.  Even Laurie hasn`t seen one yet. 

From Corey Worley
Posted on August 9, 2010 at 2:50 PM

I wish I saw this video before! I had surgery on my neck where my chin rest just killed my chin and made an internal infection (cyst). So I had a bump the size of a golf ball petruding from my neck until I had surgery to remove it.... I was in extreme pain when I would play (even after surgery) so I decieded to get a cloth...made with yarn,,,, as I would play I would sweat and the yarn would turn into a "wire brush" against my chin....I finally purchased a strad thing EVER!!! I highly recommend them now...but I think that I should experiment with different chin rests....

From Laurie Niles
Posted on August 9, 2010 at 3:36 PM

In a nutshell: since we all have different shoulders and necks, everyone has to find an individual solution. She gives a lot of ideas about how to go about doing that!

From robert keith
Posted on August 9, 2010 at 11:17 PM

 Your chin and shoulder rest are just starters.  You can use pads, baby diapers, etc... to feel comfortable.  And, they are cheap.


From Kenneth Choo
Posted on August 10, 2010 at 12:59 AM
Great content and practical advice. Thanks to Hilary (and to Claire for posting!) I think what Hilary mentions toward the end about posture and alignment can be too easily overlooked for too long, when our bodies are still capable of coping with the strain, but then we really pay for the neglect later in life. Good thing to catch early and build good habits (re: posture) to avoid problems. Cheers..
From Michael Divino
Posted on August 10, 2010 at 3:44 AM

 I also enjoy seeing "THE Hilary Hahn" on the title. 

From John Cadd
Posted on August 10, 2010 at 4:28 PM

Hold the phone !   What`s happening?  A brand new topic ! Shoulder rests ! The balloon never went up.Who`s on balloons this week?  Steam should be hissing from your ears.Wake up. It`s time to panic.

From Lora Staples
Posted on August 10, 2010 at 6:45 PM

I LOVED this helpful video! Some readers on my  blog ( have posted questions asking me to describe a good set-up for chin rests and shoulder rests, and I had planned to post a video, but this one is a great start, I'll just post a link to this video. (and for such practical advice to come from someone like Ms. Hahn is fabulous)

One brief, helpful tip which she touched on, but didn't elaborate on, is the fact that depending on what position we are playing in, or what string we are on, we may need to adjust  the position of the violin on our shoulder. (I hope that's what she meant) For that reason, I can't play with a shoulder rest which locks me too much in place. 

Thanks for posting this video. --Lora

From Rebecca Hopkins
Posted on August 11, 2010 at 3:34 AM

She is an amazing person, no doubt. Wanting to share so much of what she knows to make playing better for others. Wish all violinists had her humility and generosity of spirit.

From Ray Randall
Posted on August 11, 2010 at 2:34 PM

I've used those sticky pads from the drugstore on my chinrest and they do work very well. After awhile they get grimy so you rip it off, clean up the chinrest mess with alcohol and stick a new one on cut to size.

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