The lesson was great but a bit frustrating - I just could not get the SR 'right'. Sometimes its good but too often its infuriating (its been a long saga).
Went home - pulled out the violin, looked in disgust at the SR (its a very fancy Mach 1, but I own 5 or 6 different styles, none of which are ideal) and started playing without it.
And yes, it was great. No SR, no pad no nothing except a piece of chamoise leather tucked over the chin rest and along the back of the instrument. That serves mainly to stop slippage and to protect my neck from the end pin! The other thing was that I positioned the violin with my chin more over the tailpiece. Result? The violin hangs from my chin/chinbone to rest on my natural shoulder. No hands no stress - no thoughts about extra work for the left hand... go figure....
Its amazing - no problem shifting and no problem with anything. Indeed, a lot of the fast playing became easier. I honestly feel like I took the training wheels off. Its almost embarassing to admit but the sense of liberation is acute. Perhaps the biggest plus (which I don't think I've read, despite all the previous posts on the subject) is that the SR can get in the way when you are playing in very high positions, without you have maximum freedom.
Thats not to say I'm suddenly against SRs nor that I won't try them again. One thing I've noticed is that you have to be much more careful with your technique to not get muscle strain - which means relaxing all the time and adjusting the music stand height (for me as high as possible). Is this permanent? No idea - I'm not tossing the SRs out yet - but it certainly looks that way.
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