I'm giving my opinion in a very dangerous discussion here: whether to use or not to use a shoulder rest. Some people think you can't play the violin comfortably without a shoulder rest. Others say that shoulder rests ruined violin playing. The discussions around this topic can be very heated. People are very secure about their own opinion.
First of all I would like point out how dangerous it is to recommend someone to play with or without shoulder rests without analyzing how someone plays and what the shape of their body is. Chinrests and shoulder rests are very personal and must be adjusted to the individual player. Also the choice whether or not to use them is highly personal.
There are fantastic violinists playing without shoulder rest and there are fantastic violinists playing with shoulder rest. This proves to me that both is perfectly possible. If there would be ONE ideal shoulder rest (or none), every single soloist would use it. And they don't... so there is not one answer for everybody.
There are so many types and shapes and brands of chinrests and shoulder rests? Why? Because we all don't fit into the same shoes. Just like shoes there are various shapes, types, sizes and brands. Besides: wearing the same shoes every day isn't good for your feet.
It's good to change and it's good to walk barefoot once in a while. The same applies for chinrests and shoulder rests. Don't look for the perfect solution, but have a couple of option at home and change them once in while.
To help you on your way, here are three ways to discover which shoulder rest is ideal for you:
With most shoulder rests stability and freedom of movement are two barrels.
For example the Bonmusica shoulder rest is very stable. This can be nice for people who's violin wants to slide off their shoulder all the time. The Bonmusica has the advantage that it's very stable and solid, so you can relax. The disadvantage is that you are a bit locked into one position. It works for some, others don't like it.
Playing without a shoulder rest offers maximum freedom of movement, but it can feel less stable en can cause you to tense up. It works for some, others don't like it.
With my VLM Augustin Diamond rest I'm a bit in the middle. I have the stability of a shoulder rests, but as it's low I still have a lot freedom of movement.
If you have a long neck, you might prefer a high chinrest and a high shoulder rest. There is more space to fill up between your collar bone and chin. Otherwise you have to tilt your head too much and you might get an injury. I haven't seen much people with a long neck playing without a shoulder rest, but of course there can be exceptions.
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