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How to Have a Comfortable Violin Hold when You Have a Long Neck

Zlata Brouwer

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Published: February 12, 2014 at 10:57 AM [UTC]

Phung asks:
Dear Ms Zlata Brouwer,
 I watched the video of yours about bow straight a couple days ago and i would like to consult your advices about playing violin. The most frustuating problem that i dont know how to deal with is: although i've play violin for 3 years, i have never felt comfortable when holding my violin. I have a long neck and a thin body and according to Maia Bang's violin book, which is the only one I consult besides my teacher, I suppose that my long neck is the obstacle. Also in the book, the Author said I should find the solution in raising chinrest instead of trying higher shoulder rests. However, raising chinrest seems impossible because all the violin shops i've visit refused to do that and suggest me to higher my shoulder rest, and they had no idea about raising the chinrest. My teacher thinks that I could use tower or handkerchief, but they just ease the problem rather than solving it completely.

I think that problem is the mother one, causing many other minor effects. When i play, my right shoulder holding the bow just keeps raising up, making me feel tired of that shoulder. For now i'm trying to balance my way of playing, and i think that you could suggest me some solutions.And for the last, I'm kind of curious about how can some violinists like Itzhak Perlman or Jascha Heifetz hold the violin without shoulder rest, evenmore, Heifetz's violin seemed to point up a small angle. I just want to feel comfortable and can play it with joy just like they did in their videos.

I would be very appreciated if you could help. Thank you and happy new years !

Best wishes,

Phung Quoc Trung

How to have a comfortable violin hold when you have a long neck?

Making your shoulder rest higher and higher is not the solution and can even cause injury on your right shoulder and arm.

Watch this video to find out what’s an easy solution to this issue (and it involves wine):

Is this video useful to you? Please let me know in the comments!



From Kelley Johnson
Posted on February 12, 2014 at 9:44 PM
Ignoring my long neck and getting various shoulder pads and sundry additions to my instrument did no good. I am also tall, slim, and have a narrow chest cavity. This problem actually caused some severe neck problems and I was in and out of the chiropractors twice a week during my doctorate work. Finally, as I graduated I was introduced to Frisch and Denig custom chin rests ( As soon as I had one made, I got rid of my shoulder pad and found instant relief. I did have to work to adjust my technique a bit and had to make one more chinrest but I haven't been back to the chiropractor since and can play with ease and comfort. I have much greater freedom of movement and my instrument has greater resonance. It has been a win/win and no wine experience :)... Since my discovery I have purchased a fitting kit and helped out quite a few of my own students, friends and colleagues.
From Ellie Phillips
Posted on February 12, 2014 at 11:41 PM
Thank you so, so much! I've struggled with this problem for a long time and have tried a ton of different combinations of shoulder rests/chin rests, none of which have worked all that well.
From linda van der heijden
Posted on February 13, 2014 at 5:38 PM
The Wittner Augsburg can be raised and tilted your liking and the good thing is that you only need €25 to purchase it, plus a small screwdriver to do the readjusting all by yourself. I have found that a few millimeters in height can make a world of difference when it comes to strain and pain.
The plastic material of this chnrest is not so nice to the touch, I have solved this by cutting a piece of silicon sheet to size and putting it between my skin and the chinrest.
From Zlata Brouwer
Posted on February 14, 2014 at 5:33 PM
Kelley and Ellie, thanks for sharing!

Linda, I just saw the Augsburg last weekend and it looks great. I will try one soon.

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