What to use for the shoulder rest?

Emily said: Sep 25, 2015
Emily Drexler
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Viola
Ooltewah, TN
2 posts

I am starting my first students after taking my Bk. 1 Teacher training last summer. I am trying to figure out what kind of sponge to use for beginners instead of a shoulder rest. Anyone have suggestions? Thank you :)

Michelle McManus Welch said: Sep 25, 2015
 
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Viola
Lindenhurst, IL
42 posts

Upholstery foam cut to the size of the instrument. Use 1/2″ for the tiny instruments, 1″ for bigger violins. The nice thing about this is it compresses down a bit if necessary, and is inexpensive at Jo Ann fabrics.

Michelle Mc Manus Welch

Mengwei said: Sep 25, 2015
Mengwei Shen
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Piano, Cello
Jersey City, NJ
120 posts

I learned in teacher training that the Large size of this Zaret Shoulder Rest http://www.sharmusic.com/Accessories/Shoulder-Rests/Zaret-Shoulder-Rest.axd#sthash.tJcX9Lwd.dpbs works for EVERYONE. The trainees were dubious but I tried it when I got home to my students and it really worked! The trick is to get the large size (even though it’s marketed only for 3/4-4/4) because you can secure it to the violin in different positions to fit the contour of the child’s body (the excess length of the sponge would extend past the left or right side of the violin).

One caveat is that I could not really get it to fit for one student who in particular doesn’t have much neck space to fit anything.

The teacher trainer called it something else so he might get it from a different vendor but I happened to have that one from Shar.

Nina Westbrook said: Sep 27, 2015
 
Suzuki Association Member
Cello, Viola, Violin
Burnsville, MN
7 posts

Hi Emily, I go to the auto department of Target or Wal Mart because it is
convenient for me as I am often at those places; and get dry sponges and
cut them to fit the size of violin & child. When I have time, I cut
several sponges up to different sizes and then keep them handy in a gallon
size baggie in the lesson room, so they are handy and ready to find during
lessons when needed. Then when the child is ready and used to holding the
violin up and playing—maybe in a year and depending on age 6 or up, I
recommend the Kun shoulder rest because that gives such great support.

On Fri, Sep 25, 2015 at 11:00 AM, SAA Teachers’ Corner Discussion <
[javascript protected email address]> wrote:

Sharon Neufeld said: Sep 27, 2015
Sharon Neufeld
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Viola
Greenfield, IN
14 posts

In over 20 years of teaching, and 37 years of playing, my hands-down top pick is Michael Kimber’s Poly-Pad.

It is similar to the Zaret, but the shape of the Poly-Pad fits the shoulder so much better. I love it so much that I’ve tossed out my own “fancy” shoulder pads (which I’ve sometimes paid as much as $60 for!), and use the Poly-Pad myself on my own violin & viola. They are so comfortable, and really inexpensive! (7.50 each, 6.50 if you order 5 or more)

Here’s his website: http://m_kimber.tripod.com/mkpolypad.html

Here’s to your students having many years of comfortable and happy playing!

JoAnn said: Sep 27, 2015
 Violin, Viola
20 posts

I totally agree with Sharon. In 33 years of teaching young kids, I have done every type of sponge thing imaginable- upholstery foam, Zaret pads and others like it, cosmetic sponges, kitchen sponges, you name it. Poly-Pads have been the sponge type shoulder rests I have used for my students, especially the young ones, for at least the past seven or eight years and they have almost 100% been the perfect choice. They come in many sizes, including very small ones, which are great for 16th size violins and really large ones for long necked kids. They have a nice “ramp” to keep the violin up but have very little bulk near the collarbone- which I think is important. I just make sure to have one of each size to size the kids with- but usually stock a few of each of the sizes I use the most so I can get the discount and just let the parent purchase it from me- saves time, money and is convenient.
Plus, Michael is very nice, is a professional violist and composer and runs this business solely himself. The internet is the only place to order them unless you give a heads up to a local dealer and they agree to stock them (which one does near me, so when they rent an instrument I just let them know what size to ask her for).
I have one caveat- I do not like the rubber band set up that he sends with the shoulder rests- It is too big and does not firmly hold the pad in place. You need to definitely use a rubber band set up that allows it to be attached on both sides of the violin to keep it from slipping around. If slipping is still a problem, you can attach a piece of rubbery shelf liner readily found in stores to the pad with rubber cement.
If anyone wants to know more about this, send me an email at [javascript protected email address] and I will explain in more detail the way I attach the rubber bands and the liner.- it is really easy. (can send a picture too.)

Sharon Neufeld said: Sep 28, 2015
Sharon Neufeld
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Viola
Greenfield, IN
14 posts

JoAnn,

Have you seen Michael’s new triple-rubber-band setup? He basically just knots three rubber bands together to form a sort of triangle. I slip one rubber band through the cord that holds the end button in place, then loop the other two rubber bands on each side of the ribs of the instrument.

I also like the liner idea. That has worked really well for me too!

~Sharon

JoAnn said: Sep 28, 2015
 Violin, Viola
20 posts

Hi Sharon,
Yes- I still think the triple rubber band is too big, so I just knot two together and do what you do- slip it under the tail gut and usually tie it in a knot around the button and then loop the two ends onto each corner.
JoAnn

Alice Wright said: Sep 29, 2015
Alice Wright
Suzuki Association Member
Violin
Anchorage, AK
11 posts

Who carries the poly-pad?

Sent from my iPhone

Sharon Neufeld said: Sep 30, 2015
Sharon Neufeld
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Viola
Greenfield, IN
14 posts

Michael Kimber—http://m_kimber.tripod.com/mkpolypad.html

Emily said: Oct 2, 2015
Emily Drexler
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Viola
Ooltewah, TN
2 posts

Thank you, everyone! Your answers are very helpful :)

Brecklyn Smith Ferrin said: Oct 3, 2015
Brecklyn Smith Ferrin
Suzuki Association Member
Violin
Kaysville, UT
28 posts

I am a huge fan of the playonair, but I think every person needs to experiment with their setup. We’re all so different! Many of my students are using a playonair/sponge combo.

My sister, McKenzie Clawson (another Suzuki violin teacher) actually wrote a blog post about fitting shoulder rests—what pitfalls to look for, etc. Here’s the link if you are interested.

This is really one of the hardest things we do as teachers. I’m not totally happy with a few of my students’ set up right now…

Jacob Litoff said: Oct 3, 2015
 
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Cello, Viola
Millis, MA
46 posts

Shoulder horns are what I use.. nothing beats those http://www.magicmountainmusic.org/pdtSH.html

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