Hi have read a lot of different threads about playing without a shoulder rest but wanted a bit more specific advice. I’ve been playing for about two years and have used a few different rests (specifically started with an Everest which I thought was ok, tried a Kun but absolutely hated it, now using a Wolfe forte secondo) my teacher has said I really need to work on right shoulder tension, that I need to make it more supple and flexible. I have this feeling that a lot of my shoulder tension is originating in my left shoulder because it feels locked in place with the rest and then travels or is mirrored by the right shoulder (if that makes sense?) I somewhat accidentally tried playing without the rest a couple months ago after leaving it downstairs and was feeling too lazy to get it, I was stunned by how much more relaxed I felt shoulder wise! Still I found I got quite tired and my left hand felt tense after 10-15 mins without the rest. I’ve now attached a microfibre cloth folded a few times with a rubber band and it feels a lot better with a bit more support but still just generally feel pretty tired after 20-30 mins (but it’s not painful per se). So I mostly still play with the rest but spend a decent part of practice sessions with just the cloth.Just wondering what yalls experiences were with experimenting shoulder rest-less when you first tried it? Was it a process going from rest to no rest? If you ended up going back to rests why? Does it make sense to just switch back and forth within a practice session and not commit to either? Just not really sure how far I should pursue playing without a rest or if I should try different rests/chinrests combos first. My teacher has encouraged me to try different things but she hasn’t played without a rest so I guess I just wanted others’ personal experiences of “restlessness”. Thank you!
Initially there will be more wear and tear on your left hand because it has to do a little more when you do not use a shoulder rest. This should eventually melt away with practice and tutelage from someone expert in converting from SR to NSR playing.
I personally do use a shoulder rest, but it's a really individual choice.
I'd try a piece of chamois, simply draping it over your violin prior to bringing it to your collarbone, instead of that folded microfiber-cloth with elastic bands. Just a suggestion, as that is what I do. My own story? I learned to play, as a child, with a shoulder pad, not a full rest (although my teacher did use a full rest). Many years later I read about playing without a shoulder pad or rest (on this forum, actually). I tried it, it worked. One summer I re-worked my way through Kreutzer without a shoulder pad, and after that I was accustomed to it. But then I am an amateur so I can do what I like. The most important question is: are you a student preparing for a professional career, or just studying the violin for pleasure?
Ella may be on the right track for you.
I use small square of high density foam attached with rubber bands.
I been using the Super Kun for a long time and I like it. Lately though I have also been using the Resonans Rest (lowest height #1) and that has worked out very well for me. That rest has a tilt feature that doesn't lock. I hadn't seen that feature in other rests I've tried.
Thanks for the responses everyone - very helpful!
Some people put a pad under the shoulder of their jacket / shirt to rest the violin on when their hand gets tired or when they need stability. Personally I just use my shoulder in these cases. I've found it's acceptable to occasionally use the round part of the should for support as long as you aren't pushing it up into the violin and there is no tension in your body.
A few points about going completely restless, arising from my experience over the last few years. One is that without both SR and CR you get to hear, and feel, the real sound of your violin, perhaps for the first time. The second is that you will be aware that the violin is starting to become part of you, not least because you can feel your own body warmth in the instrument. Thirdly, you may expect your posture and playing to be that more relaxed.
Hello, I switched to going restless in my teens. I use a Kreddle chinrest now, which definitely helps relax my neck - you can consider trying one if you want to explore completely different setups as it is easily adjustable.
"Two ideas - the first is that, when playing in only one position, or only shifting up (ascending scales, if you have learned other positions), we don't need to use our head at all to hold the violin in place - try playing without any squeezing between head and shoulder (lift the head up and partly support the violin with the left hand)."