Little ones learning to hold violin under chin/jaw.

said: May 16, 2009
 145 posts

I’m starting to teach 3 and 3/4 yr old boys. Finding it difficult for them to feel having the violin under the chin can be comfortable.They find it hard to get the violin right in against the neck and often complain it hurts. Any tips ?!!

Connie Sunday said: May 16, 2009
Connie SundayViolin, Piano, Viola
667 posts

I have all my students that age get one of these:
**
Kinder Chinder

As the child grows, you can add a little foam pad underneath the back.

Free Handouts for Music Teachers & Students:
http://beststudentviolins.com/library.html#handouts

Jennifer Visick said: May 16, 2009
Jennifer VisickForum Moderator
Suzuki Association Member
Viola, Suzuki in the Schools, Violin
998 posts
  1. You can customize the setup: experiment with a different shape of chinrest. I find Wittner chinrests to have softer corners and flatter barrels than most others. Or you can use sandpaper to smooth down the chinrest if it looks like just taking off a couple of sharp edges will help. Also in this vein, check out the “Impressionist” which is supposed to be a custom forming chinrest add-on. there are some reviews at violinist.com

  2. As with the Kinder Chinder, you can put something soft between the instrument and the student. Besides the Kinder Chinder, a clean handkerchief might work. Or sometimes I use some dr. Scholl’s molefoam or moleskin to the shape of the chinrest and the barrels, and I stick it on the instrument.
    dr. scholl’s moleskin

  3. You can make sure the students aren’t clamping down too hard with the jaw, that the instrument is not to heavy for the student, that it’s not too far forward or back, sitting at the right angle, etc. Also make sure the parent is taking care to place the instrument in the same place every day… and of course make sure that the practice sessions are very short (the younger the student, the shorter the session).

  4. You can tell them to stick it out, because after a little while, the tender part under your jaw can get used to holding something there, and become somewhat calloused. I don’t recommend doing this without first repeatedly working at the other 3 options!

Cynthia Faisst said: May 25, 2009
Cynthia Faisst
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Suzuki Early Childhood Education
Irvine, CA
127 posts

I am wondering if the child is feeling the metal parts that are holding the chin rest on, on the back side of the instrument.

Most sponges fail to cancel out the metal lump under the violin which feels like its the size of a walnut sitting on the collar bone.

To make matters worse, Our violin maker likes to put extra cork between the metal foot and the violin which makes the complete height of this bump even higher. :evil: :( Unlike my chin rest they are not bothering to taper these pieces of metal for the small chin rest.

:idea: I have been getting sheets of craft foam about 1/8 inch thick, from the hobby/art shop and trimming it like a puzzle piece up against the raw edge of the metal fitting on the back of the violin with an exacto knife.

Take the chin rest off and trace around the offending piece of metal on a small rectangle of foam. If you place it about one inch in from the edge you will be able to put the flap under the screws of the chin rest at the button end of the violin. Trace the metal foot with a pencil then use a very sharp exacto tip to trace and cut out exactly on the line you want to cut out, so it will fit snug around the metal foot. Place the chin rest over the foam which is folded over the back and bottom end of the violin next to the button. Fit the cut out around the metal on the back of the violin and screw it all down together. The flap that you made should fold under the legs of the chin rest and keep it snugly next to the offending piece of metal on the back of the violin.

The craft foam is stiff and fills in the negative space made by the metal and should fit flush against the metal surface so the lump disappears. Sometimes the metal is lower than the surface of the foam around it. Yey!! Now you can put anything on your violin for a shoulder rest and you will not feel that piece of metal digging into your collar bone. :D

I have students who do not need anything more than a thin sheet of skid proofing and and I have students who need a significant amount of foam to fill the drop off in front of their chest even when they are standing quite tall.

Either way this seems to get rid of the ‘Princes and the Pea ‘ effect that comes with that irritating piece of metal used to keep the chin rest on.

This is a trade secret from our studio at the Talent Education Center in CA.
I will do a demonstration when I get a chance and put it on You Tube if this is not enough.

Ms. Cynthia
Studio:
Talent Education Center: Suzuki Violin
Director of Santa Ana Suzuki Strings located at the
Orange County Children’s Therapeutic Arts Center
Volunteer, bring music to under-served communities around the world. Create Sound Investments and Futures.

Jennifer Visick said: May 25, 2009
Jennifer VisickForum Moderator
Suzuki Association Member
Viola, Suzuki in the Schools, Violin
998 posts

a simple picture would do. If I am understanding your post correctly, I do a similar thing with the dr. scholl’s molefoam.

Cynthia Faisst said: May 28, 2009
Cynthia Faisst
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Suzuki Early Childhood Education
Irvine, CA
127 posts

Be Careful with the mole foam because eventually it will stiffen and take the finish off of the back of the violin.

One of my families actually tried that with their violin. It was great until they had to trade in the violin and the violin maker tried to take it off. or if you have to change the chin rest.

Of course you could do it with out taking the backing off of the mole skin or back it with an alternative material. The mole skin is much more expensive than the craft foam.

I do add those oval shaped Dr. Scholls pads to the topside of the chin rest. I encourage the parents to keep a package around so they can refresh it when it gets grimy.

Give me a chance to catch a student who has one and can stay long enough for me take a picture of this. Its such a neat idea I should patten it. I don’t know why they don’t just make chin rests that come with something like this stamped out to fit around the foot of the chin rest.

Ms. Cynthia
Studio:
Talent Education Center: Suzuki Violin
Director of Santa Ana Suzuki Strings located at the
Orange County Children’s Therapeutic Arts Center
Volunteer, bring music to under-served communities around the world. Create Sound Investments and Futures.

Mikaela said: Jul 24, 2009
Mikaela CashViolin, Viola
28 posts

[color=FF0040]I have a similar difficulty with one of my students, age 9. As I was attempting to get her to grip the violin between her jaw and shoulder (she was supporting it too much with her left hand and thus ruining her posture), I realized that she could not remove her left hand from the neck without dropping the violin. Further investigation revealed that:
1. She had the violin wedged at an angle into the space between her jaw and shoulder (with the scroll pointing ridiculously high) when asked to hold the violin without her left hand. When playing, she wedged and then pulled the scroll down with the left hand to achieve a semi-presentable posture.
2. The chin rest “hurt.”
3. The metal apparatus is not the culprit, because cushioning did not help, and that was not the area she claimed hurt.
I think that the ultimate difficulty is the “ledge” on the edge of the chinrest, as someone else referenced here. It is too high for her short neck, and thus the need to put the violin in at an angle to “get over” that ledge. I try to avoid the soft covers suggested here, and I’m not sure they would solve this problem anyways, but can anyone recommend any other solution? I would love recommendations on specific chin rests, perhaps, that may do away with this ledge problem. Thanks![/color]

Jennifer Visick said: Jul 25, 2009
Jennifer VisickForum Moderator
Suzuki Association Member
Viola, Suzuki in the Schools, Violin
998 posts

Wittner chinrests seem flatter than some others.

No reason you can’t sand the edge of the chinrest down yourself. Then finish it with very fine sandpaper and then steel wool.

Or no chinrest at all (but then you do have to have some left hand support).

And I know you said you try to avoid soft covers, but why?

Not mentioned yet is the gelrest, which can be found at shar and other online music stores, which has the advantage of being soft but not slippery (as some of the cloth-type things might be).

Mikaela said: Aug 3, 2009
Mikaela CashViolin, Viola
28 posts

Thanks for your help…ironically, I didn’t even consider sanding it down myself. If that doesn’t work, I’ll check out the Wittners. I am leery of soft covers because the little ones must learn to have a secure grip between the jaw and shoulder, independent of the left hand. Although a thin piece of moleskin or something would not affect the grip, I would need a thicker “cushion.” This could actually harm the posture in the long run because the child wouldn’t be able to achieve the grip needed when his/her chin is pillowed on the violin. Just my way…there are as many different ways as there are chinrests, I think! ;-)

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