I'm an adult beginner (27 y/o) who's been playing the viola now for about six months, and it's coming along really well. I really love it. Right now my tone is just now starting to sound pretty decent and my vibrato is getting consistent (finally!). However, something I've been struggling with since day one is holding the instrument.
I had a rather unorthodox teacher for a few months who insisted on not using a shoulder rest. I've used a shoulder rest before and I like that too, but I'm now so accustomed to playing without one that I feel too locked in when I use one. My problem, however, is that I can never get the same security holding up the viola without a shoulder rest, which makes everything a lot harder: shifting, vibrato, etc. I can still do it but I just feel like I'm doing something wrong. And since I know it's basically impossible to get into the specifics of my particular hold over the internet, I just wanted to ask if anyone had any general tips about holding the viola without a SR that might be useful. Also, it's normal that the viola feels much less secure without a shoulder rest, right? Is it normal that I keep having to change and readjust the angle of my thumb (where the neck is resting) in order to vibrate?
Sorry that this is pretty vague; but any tips would be very much appreciated, as I can't really afford to get a proper instructor at the moment.
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