Shoulder rests

Shoulder rests

Shoulder rests    17:04 on Thursday, October 11, 2007          

(3 points)
Posted by freznow

Hey there

Okay. I don't have a shoulder rest, I've never had one except a sponge my first year of playing. I'm well into my 5th year of playing viola, and have had no problems. I was told by my teacher (who was thought of as one of the best teachers in the area, I had been recommended to her multiple times, and knew people who took lessons with her, and she had many famous in the area students) that I should not use a shoulder rest.

I've been told many times by other people that there are multiple health and playing problems associated with not using a shoulder rest. I will say I have had none of these problems, and last year we took grade 6 music to festival, and got 1's and 1+'s, and my arm and shoulder feel fine.

My question is not to hear multiple people say "Go get a shoulder rest or your arm will fall off," but rather, can anyone think of a valid reason for not using a shoulder rest? I really don't want my arm to fall off (haha well don't want my playing to suffer or to get carpal tunnel or whatever) so if no one can come up with a reason, I'll go buy one. I just can't help thinking that this praised teacher must have had some reasoning behind this. Why else would she tell me so?

Re: Shoulder rests    20:05 on Tuesday, October 16, 2007          

(259 points)
Posted by arabians207

Its probably because they can't play without one..

personally i find it very painful (and impossible as i would probably drop my violin lol) not to use one, but i don't think theres a real health reason not to..

But maybe try one out sometime, you may find that it makes playing easier/more comfortable, or maybe not :P

Re: Shoulder rests    19:55 on Tuesday, January 22, 2008          

(9 points)
Posted by Orch_Dork

It might be a bit old, but I've had this discussion with my own private teacher multiple times before giving up my shoulder rest.
Shoulder rests were invented for people with rounded shoulders and for people lacking in collar bones. They became a fad, and now everybody uses them. Most people who use shoulder rests use them for comfort, and if you're comfertable without one, don't start. Most people have a better tone without one. Plus if you get one of those thick ones, it'll hurt you more and place more stress on you than without. Especially if you're not used to it. My advice: stick to the sponge. Even if you don't agree with the theory behind it, big huge shoulder rests make you look less poised.

Re: Shoulder rests    23:34 on Friday, March 07, 2008          

(156 points)

yeah, some of them are really uncomfortable, i went through a couple before finding one i liked. some of them do also affect the resonance of the instrument or make sounds as the violin/viola vibrates against it because it does not fit well. also i think that sometimes it doesn't really improve playing at all, some people don't put them on properly which effects their technique and well you know where im going.
if you have played without one for fove years, then i don't think there really is any problem. i have seen national orchestra players (more then one!) playing with just a cloth between their shoulder and viola.


haha fove, whats an education!

plus they can sometimes damage your instrument, i've seen nasty gouges from metal ones where the rubber has worn away.


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