shoulder pain


Rebecca said: Nov 2, 2009
 Violin, Piano
6 posts

I have a student whose violin I have recently moved from being more forward and resting on the violin; to on top of his shoulder. The edge of his kun is to his shoulder seam. He is complaining of pain on the rear of his shoulder—on his back. It’s not close to his neck though; it is just lower than where the kun stops. Has anyone ever experienced discomfort there? I can’t figure out where the pain is coming from.

I don’t think his left shoulder is very tight, either.

Jennifer Visick said: Nov 3, 2009
Jennifer VisickForum Moderator
Suzuki Association Member
Viola, Suzuki Early Childhood Education, Suzuki in the Schools, Violin
1069 posts

Does the student ever feel this pain at other times (that is, when doing something besides playing the instrument)?

Could there be another aggravating factor that causes that area to be over-sensitive to any new strain? —e.g. starting a new sport, recently picked up something a bit too heavy, etc?

How old is the student?

Rebecca said: Nov 3, 2009
 Violin, Piano
6 posts

He is 11 or 12, and he says he has only had that pain w/ the new violin position. It doesn’t seem like he’s been doing anything physically out of the ordinary.

Diane said: Nov 4, 2009
Diane AllenViolin
244 posts

Here’s a couple of quick ideas from years of working with Kuns:

When I adjust a shoulder rest what I do is work backwards. I hold the violin on the shoulder at the angle I want it to be with the shoulder rest on. I ask the student to pretend they never held a violin before and not put their head onto the violin yet. Point the nose to scroll without lowering the head at all. At this point usually the student’s head is floating over the violin. I can now see what to raise and what to lower on the Kun.

Kuns have a longer screw on one side and a shorter screw on the other side. I usually end up swapping sides the longer screw is on.

I also look underneath the violin as the student is holding it. The curvy part is supposed to have a shoulder in it! Oftentimes I find a gap of air in this spot. To fix that I remove the feet and shift them over 1 hole.

Regarding pain—if you are really confident you’ve got the Kun in a great spot—ask the student to give it a couple of weeks to get used to it. If after a couple of weeks there is still pain then you need to consider another set up.
Don’t forget chinrests! They are huge in the mix.

Videos of student violin recitals and violin tutorials.

Jennifer Visick said: Nov 4, 2009
Jennifer VisickForum Moderator
Suzuki Association Member
Viola, Suzuki Early Childhood Education, Suzuki in the Schools, Violin
1069 posts

Working “backwards” like that is a great idea. Adjust the chinrest and shoulder rest to the student’s body—not the other way around.

You can order “extra parts”—particularly, extra feet in short, long, and extra long sizes. The Kun comes with one short and one long “foot”—sometimes a student with a longer neck requires two “long” feet.

OR, if the student has a shorter neck they may need less height. A (very) few students are quite comfortable using only one of those red rubber sponges for “grip” and don’t need the tallness that comes from a shoulder rest.

All that being said, it’s very hard to provide specific help for this kind of issue without actually seeing the student.

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