May 26, 2008 at 4:24 PMOur recent round of threads on shoulder rest yes or no ended at a hundred posts with this interesting link posted by v.com member Willemijn Zwikstra. It is a very well produced series with students in the Utrecht Conservatory showing before and after effects of their efforts to reduce playing pain by changing their set up and employing Alexander technique. I think that it is very worthwhile and the six part series should be considered a "must watch".
While this documented study of setup and posture is very interesting, I feel that the students involved and perhaps their guides did not go far enough in exploring the possibilities of left hand support. The emphasis was all on support at the shoulder. This shoulder rest, that chin rest etc. etc. I do consider "no clenching at the shoulder" to be a very high value. I am skeptical of NSR advocates who lift or clench in ANY way. I am also skeptical that a change in SR/CR strategy is a sufficient answer.
I won't reject some support at the shoulder altogether but I do believe that much much more attention needs to be spent on understanding how to support the violin with the left hand. Laurie's interviews with Ruggiero Ricci and her blog post withTricia Ahern are worth a reread but we need much more on the use of the left hand to support the violin.
My neck is stiff from sitting here at the computer. I am going to go practice so that I can relax my neck and shoulders. I know I'll feel better. Alexander Technique for computer users anyone?
I am very much an advocate of using the left hand to support the violin. It took me a long time to learn how but I am an amateur and I didn't lose work or school time making the transition but it has truly liberated me and allowed me to ake progress.
I don't recall having pain with the shoulder rest (except at concerts where I wore a tux with suspenders [braces for some of you]), but the technical boost (for me) was phenomenal.
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