Collar Bone and violin
When I hold my violin without a shoulder rest, I would want to have a cushion in between so I will be able to grip it without hurting. Any products recommended?
To protect your collarbone, I would look for a soft sponge. You can find one very cheaply at a local shopping mall.
I now use a pad something like this one now at Amazon:
Chamois, doubled over as needed. Go to Auto Zone. They've got chamois. Soft and SUPER durable. And it's as cheap as sand.
You quickly got three different options, so now the rest of us can vote on these :-) I definitely vote for the chamois (I use one myself). Just drape it over the chinrest area, then bring your violin to your collarbone and it will stay put as it will be fixed by your chin and your neck/collarbone.
I also agree with the chamois solution, which I started using in 1973. I "graduated" to affixing the chamois patches to the top of my chinrests with velcro over 20 years ago and transitioned to the solution I proposed above sometime in the past 5 or 6 years.
Er, "so I will be able to grip it without hurting". Sorry but you are going the wrong way and need to seek proper instruction. The whole point of playing without an SR is that there is NO gripping. The violin floats on your collarbone and L hand. Occasionally there is contact with your shoulder but that is only as a transient table and not ever as a grip.
indeed Jimmy, without shoulder rest, the left hand keeps the violin up, good catch Elise! Jimmy: without shoulder rest you are not expected to be able to keep the violin up without your hands. it's a big difference with shoulder rest users who you often see tuning, turning a page, etc, doing stuff while keeping up the violin without their hands. without a shoulder rest, just forget about that.
You are probably right about not keeping the violin up without SR or hands, but my badge of valor back when my age was in mid single digits was being able to walk around wo SR (I didn't know they existed) or hands with the violin under my chin. Of course I did not grip it that way when playing. But when downshifting or using an arm vibrato you sort of need to.
Andrew - there is a video on UT of Yehudi showing how to hold the violin without an SR - and he hangs it from his chin without any force. Its not difficult - but of course you could not play like that :)
I'm old enough to remember the advent of the shoulder rest. I was a young teenage cellist in my school orchestra when two of the first violinists turned up at rehearsal with shoulder rests. The conductor's immediate reaction was, "what are those contraptions?", and then, "a shoulder rest you say? You don't need to rest your violins on your shoulders", and so on in much the same vein. We cellists just sat and wondered what was going on. A few weeks later all the violins in the orchestra had shoulder rests - apparently there were a few influential teachers around.
Why eschew the shoulder rest if you're uncomfortable without it? Passionate discussions on v.com notwithstanding, the vast majority of violinists use them in the two professional orchestras I play in, as do the vast majority of soloists who play with us.
Mary - I'm sorry, but why turn this into a 'use it or not use it' debate? I just assumed the OP had made their own decision to at least try. Can't we leave it at that?
I'm with Mary Ellen!
I was going to say what Elise said: when you play SRless, you are not supposed to grip and hold the violin only with your neck. You hold it with the help of your left arm, by the neck of the violin. You should be able to shift and move completely free all along the fingerboard, but still support part of the weight with your arm.
I play without a SR simply because I am an amateur, I can do what I want, I can make it work (on my modest level), and it *is* a different game than playing with one, so one more experience for me.
Jean - Anne-Sophie Mutter, Aaron Rosand and Itzhark Perlman 'play the violin for a living' - and don't use an SR. But again, that is off the point to the OP's question. Its possible that he wants to play HIP baroque - which would answer Mary Ellen's question above - we just don't know.
OP, simply ask yourself: do I make better music with a SR or without one? And from that, your decision should stem. Don't let peer pressure affect your decision.
I wonder if Jimmy is still reading this....
The OP said that he was uncomfortable without a shoulder rest. I think the possibility of using one is a valid point in the discussion.
You are allowed to support the violin with your shoulder when you play restless. Having it just balance on your collarbone and thumb 100% of the time is brutal and painful.
You asked about pads. I use something much like this pad. I bought it at my local violin shop.
Cotton, you will be happy to know that my SR design also allows for "restless playing", but you will still be able to rest the violin on your shoulder when necessary (or all the time) without dampening the tone. You will also be able to add sticky friction-y material without it directly touching the body of the violin.
First of all, I think it's important to differentiate between those who use standard shoulder rests like the Kun or Bon Musica, those who use a sponge or a piece of foam, such as a cosmetic sponge or Artino pad, and those who use nothing or just a small cloth or shammy to prevent slippage and protect the collarbone. By the sounds of it, the OP is looking for something to protect the collarbone from the hard surface of the violin and chinrest clamp metal, which is totally legitimate, especially if you don't use a shoulder rest. In the OPs case, a small cushion over the collarbone is likely enough.
For Pamela, I have a quick curiosity question that ’s a little off topic. Do you utilize the hook on your Bon Musica, or do you straighten it?
Perhaps some of us have more sensitive skin and prefer not to have a hard object sit on the collarbone. Wearing necklaces could make this pain worse. Wearing clothing that covers the collarbone will solve this, but not all clothing covers the collarbone, and we all wear clothing that doesn't cover the collarbone often.
Yes, the collar bone is the problem with playing restless. People have different models of collarbone so to say. And if one is very thin there is no fat ovet the collarbone or next to it. So it may be painfull to play just the violin on the bone, it sure is for me, well, actually it is not the violin that is the problem but the chinrest metals that dig into the area.
I play restless.
I absolutely agree with Maria that the shoulder joint should be completely free. An immobilized shoulder joint means an immobilized arm and tense shoulder muscles, which is not healthy at all. I think the problem here is how we actually use shoulder rests, not the presence or lack of one. Of course sponges and foam are better for the really young kids, but once kids are school aged, many of them can use shoulder rests in a healthy way. This doesn't mean everyone should use one though, as it depends on the individual's body type. One really good solution to the shoulder rest pressing on the joint problem is to put the shoulder rest on at a diagonal angle, rather than straight across the back of the violin as many are taught to do. To elaborate, I mean placing the shoulder side foot near the chinrest clamp so that the shoulder side is closer to the neck and off the shoulder joint, and the chest side foot will be closer to the middle bout for a snug fit. Also, I recommend setting the shoulder side foot to a relatively low height, just high enough for the shoulder rest to intersect the collarbone. The chest side, on the other hand, should be set to fill the space between violin and chest to prevent slippage and provide support. These solutions will not work in all situations, especially if you have extremely narrow shoulders, but it is always worth trying.
Ella, yes and it is also a problem that many times people dont really understand where their shoulder joint area begins, especially kids. I would argue though that at least half of the kids under 12 should not play with Kun because their shoulder just is not wide enough and the Kun usually sits very much on where the shoulder area begins. When it should be just on the collar bone are and not on joints. At least that is how it looks in my daughters orchestra. Therefore Kun is a devil as it needs very much thinking to get it to the right position which obviously kids that age generally cannot do.
Maria, Ella - I think you are onto a very important issue. I learned originally without an SR (perhaps no child needs one since there is no shifting). I only started to use one at age ~10 because we had a new teacher (a cellist) who insisted that all violinist must do so. However, it was different from the Kuhn, it contacted the shoulder much closer to the neck - explaining, perhaps, why I could never find an SR that worked on returning to the instrument many years later.
The late David Angel - 2nd violinist in the Maggini Quartet - used to play with a "violin necklace" as mentioned above. He had an elastic band around the neck that he slipped around the chinrest when playing.
Have you seen the Kréddle Cushion? You can read about it
I tried the Kréddle Cushion, but it's just a bit more substantial than I need while playing restless, and not being able to remove it since it's installed through the chinrest makes it so that it doesn't fit in the case at all. I wish it had some way to be put on and off...
Jimmy: I hope this is your lucky day (like it was my lucky day when I discovered an amazing product called the Chinrest Lip). This product seemed to be the quickest, easiest and most effective way to fill the space between the collarbone and your chin.
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