Setup for frozen shoulder
I'm in the midst of a "mild" bout of (not-violin-related) frozen shoulder on the left side -- gradually escalating pain for five months during which I was still able to play, followed by what has now been more than three months of having insufficient rotation in my shoulder to be able to place the violin in normal playing position on my shoulder.
At this point, cortisone, anti-inflammatories, and PT have just gotten me back to the point where I can hold a violin for short periods of time, albeit not in my normal playing position. It would be preferable to practice for a few minutes daily, to maintain some semblance of technical shape, and what strength and flexibility I can.
A full-size violin is a bit big to entirely comfortably handle at the arm extension required for first position. I can manage a 7/8ths (though a 3/4 would probably be better) more easily.
I need to hold the violin more centrally in order to accommodate the limited rotation of the joint. A center-mount chinrest like a Flesch is too high but I am guessing a side-mount Wittner with a broader cup that suits a more centered positioning might work.
I can't use a Kun-style shoulder-rest, not even my lightweight Korfker, because of the way the legs bite into the shoulder-joint. I've tried playing without a shoulder-rest but I need a touch more height and support, and I want to avoid supporting the violin with my left hand, as that's presently hard. So I need something that provides low, soft and comfortable support in a more centralized position.
Any suggestions for a chinrest/shoulder-rest combination? This is just for a limited amount of home practice, so I really don't care if it dampens the sound.
sorry to hear Lydia, get well soon, good PT is key, as well as asking your therapist for exercises to do every day yourself. no experience with shoulder rests so I can't help you with your actual question.
Oh my, good luck with dealing with this and may it pass sooner than later. Having had a frozen shoulder and other, larger, shoulder issues, I feel your pain.
Sorry to hear about your problems. Hope you're able to rest and recover.
The Wittner chin rest is a good one but it's higher than some others like the Kaufmann, so you need even less SR then. And with SRs there is a limit to how low you can go. One advantage of a wood chin rest is that you can shape it somewhat with hand tools.
Having suffered through frozen shoulder on both sides (at different times, thank goodness), I sympathize. Have you looked at the Wave chinrests? They have a bit of a projection, which I find is useful when trying to hold the violin more centrally without craning my neck forward. I use one of the higher ones, but they claim their Da Capo is only 3/8" above the front plate. As for the shoulder rest, would a Playon air or even a kitchen sponge with rubber bands do the trick? Best of luck with this. It must be very frustrating.
I have just recovered from a frozen shoulder. I managed to keep playing throughout with the exception of a few weeks. I didn't really need to change my setup in the sense I kept the same SR (korfker rest) and CR (Wittner Zuerich) though I did change position so that my shoulder was less rotated by moving the violin so it was less to the left and more to the front.
I had all kinds of neck and back troubles - also migraines. I used one of those Happinex slings and, instead of using it the way they suggested, hooked it around my chinrest. I also extended a Bon Musica shoulder rest so that the hook part was longer. It changed my life! Very soon I will do a video of this and post it here.
I like the Kreddle chinrest, as it has a broad, flat profile, and is adjustable in tilt, location and height. I have two models, and as a matter of personal preference, I prefer the original model chinrest, but the more recent one would probably work fine.
I worked with a PT/violinist/AT instructor previously when I injured my rotator cuff a few years ago. My setup was already good at the time, thankfully, though I did pick up some AT things (as well as a set of PT exercises that I've kept doing -- this latest issue is with a different part of the shoulder.)
Lydia, I am very sorry to hear that you are experiencing pain. Could I suggest that you try this product? This product has worked for me, my students and my friends.
Lydia, real sorry you have this problem. I hope you soon conquer it. I have no idea if my ideas will help at all but here goes. I've been fighting the effects of left-arm problems due to cervical vertebral nerve pinching that started over 30 years ago (~10 years before we met).
For a low and soft shoulder rest, what about a Playonair or a cosmetic sponge?
Hi Lydia, very sorry to hear about your pain.
I've tried a sponge, which isn't enough support. I've got a Zaret-type foam rest but it's for a fractional rather than a full-size, and can't be positioned where it needs to be, though I've ordered a saddle-shape foam to try. If that doesn't work my next plan is a Playonair. (If the pandemic made it more reasonable to go to a shop, my life would be much simplified.)
yeah totally, trying things at the shop helps. would stacking sponges or using a larger one or one with more shape be a good idea?
Lydia, having wrestled with shoulder injuries since 2015, I know what it is like. I sympathize with you and I wish you a speedy recovery.
I looked at that Chin Rest Lip video and the man demonstrating it looks like he's going to have a stroke. But it gives me an idea ... I wonder if I could apply a much more subtle "lip" to my violin by stacking up a few layers of molefoam.
I had previously purchased a Performa (I wrote about that in a previous post) but after experimenting with it for a while, I'd gone back to my Korfker.
Hi Lydia. I'm truly sorry to hear about your shoulder. It must be incredibly frustrating not to be able to play at all. I hope it heals quickly.
Sorry to know that Lydia, I had it in my both shoulders some years ago... I had about 80 physical therapy to cure each one...
At this point I have concluded that what I need is a firm foam shoulder-rest in the exact shape and height of a Performa.
For years now I've been using a Happinex sling. Actually now I just use a loop of lycra under my right arm and over the chin rest. I do this in combination with a specially adapted shoulder rest. I don't have to use my head anymore. I'm going to be doing a video on this soon for all you poor violinists with injuries, neck problems etc.
I have been using a 'type' of the Happinex sling. I have a special clip that clamps on the chin rest area with a clamp mechanism like the chin rest has. I have removed the chin rest and I don't need a shoulder rest either. The strap goes over my left shoulder, through the clip and through my trouser belt on my right side, because it is very uncomfortable under my right arm. The violin can be detached from the strap very quickly.
I just hook mine around the chin rest. I can put my head on the chinrest occasionally if I want to. That way may be better for 'regular' violinists who just want to switch occasionally to rest their neck.
Lydia, good luck on your search, please let us know what you settle upon. I'm taking notes.
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