Hi guys! I use a shoulder rest and always have. For a long time, I used a PlayonAir Violin Shoulder Rest. (Click here to see it). This shoulder rest is nice because it’s very soft and pliable. Some people don’t like it because it actually touches the violin, and they feel it dampens the sound. I never noticed this to be any problem.
Later I used the Resonans Violin Shoulder Rest. (Click here to see it). I liked this shoulder rest because it provided a little more height, and I could tilt the part that goes across the violin back toward me or more flat for a better fit. I went back and forth between these two shoulder rests for years.
Then in my professional years, I noticed when I had to play more demanding music, my violin wasn’t as secure and stable as I wanted it to be. This has a great deal to do with a persons unique physical build and how the shoulder rest works for each person. I noticed other symphony players using the KUN Violin Shoulder Rest (Click here to see it). So I tried it and have used this shoulder rest ever since. It has adjustable height and width. It can be positioned for broader or not-so-broad shoulders. It doesn’t touch the violin (except on the sides, of course). Get the full size version for 1/2 size violins and larger, as it is adjustable and will save you having to buy a new one when you move up to a larger violin.
I recommend the KUN Violin Shoulder Rest for everyone now. All my students, at all ages, use this shoulder rest successfully.
It’s important to be able to hold the violin without the help of your left hand. If your violin slips down when you let go, you need to stabilize that. Shifting and vibrato will be really limited if the violin is being held by the left hand. Advanced music places demands on the left hand that will be near impossible if it has to help hold the violin. Sometimes, people who don’t use a shoulder rest can be seen to push the shoulder up to meet the violin. Keeping the shoulder hunched up to maintain violin position can cause injury over the long term.
So make sure you keep working with a straight back, shoulders down and relaxed, violin position balanced with heavy head only. Keep your scroll level with your chin, no lower, and choose a shoulder pad that helps your left hand be free for shifting and vibrato. Happy playing!