I have been playing the Violin for 30 years, and for 29 of those years, I’ve had shoulder pain when I play (and after I play!) I have tried Alexander Technique (named after Frederick Matthias Alexander, is an educational process that develops the ability to realign posture and to avoid unnecessary muscular and mental tension,) Feldenkrais Technique (a system designed to promote bodily and mental well-being by conscious analysis of neuromuscular activity via exercises that improve flexibility and coordination and increase ease and range of motion) Yoga, Physical Therapy, Chiropractors, and all sorts of crazy things (lying on tennis balls, hanging upside down, getting my kid to pound her little fists on my back) to no avail.
(here is a pic of myself and my friend Jane from 2015, playing in the Wichita Symphony together. We love to have the opportunity to be stand partners! www.wso.org)
I have also tried every shoulder rest on the planet, trying to find the perfect solution to my problem.
The wolf is too slippery, the kun is too short (I’m very tall) and the comfort cradle I’ve been using has sprung a leak (a hole in the leg covering which really scratched up my violin before I noticed). What’s a Violin Player to do?
I finally realized that by clamping my neck down in exactly the same way day after day, I’ve created a scenario where my shoulder simply can’t feel better because it’s the same repetitive motion that is causing me all this grief!
My new solution is a different shoulder rest for every day of the week.
I ordered (or already owned) these shoulder rests and have made a nifty chart so I can remember which to use each day. Please know these are amazon affiliate links, and the proceeds go to keeping this website up and running!
Also, the kind of shoulder rest I prefer is ones with legs that are not collapsable, and this is because I HACKED my case to fit my comfort cradle (much to the dismay of my luthier!)
The Kun (because i’m so tall, I opt for the longer legs as well.)
The Mach One
Kun Solo (collapsible)
As you can see, I now have a different rest for each day. To remember, here is the handy chart I made;
Want more fun tips for your productivity, teaching and studio? Be sure to download my new book: