Kun shoulder rests

Laura said: Jun 9, 2009
Suzuki Association Member
358 posts

OK, a question for all you violin/viola teachers! (I’m a violin parent)

Why do Kun shoulder rests fall off so often? It’s almost comical during group class. Is it because of the kids fidgeting with them, or do the shoulder rests just not fit very securely? (and if the latter is the case, why use them?)

My kid uses a sponge, so I have no idea about the Kun rests.

Jennifer Visick said: Jun 9, 2009
Jennifer VisickForum Moderator
Suzuki Association Member
Viola, Suzuki in the Schools, Violin
998 posts

Commonly known as “Kun-disease” or “Kun-itis”, this malady afflicts hundreds of upper string players every day. :oops: Like the common cold, there is no known cure. :confused: However, also like the common cold, there are multiple “remedies” and “home-remedies” to be seen the world over.

Analogous to chicken soup (in the “can’t hurt, might help” line), we have :idea: the application of rubber bands placed around the Kun and lower bout of the instrument, especially as a precaution during concerts. Some do-it-yourself Kun healers claim that :idea: a light application of rosin dust to the feet of the Kun will cure the strange symptoms of this dis-ease.

Others more radically insist that the Kun itself is inherently flawed, :!: and that, like a burst appendix, it needs to be removed entirely and the string player must learn to play without it. Some musicians are genetically pre-disposed (by virtue of a short neck) to play an upper-string instrument easily without any kind of support (except perhaps a piece of cloth, or a thin rubber sponge) between instrument and shoulderblade. Among these are those who loudly insist that to play without a shoulder rest is the cure-all of not only Kun-itis, but also many other ills that commonly befall a violin or viola player (such as excess shoulder or neck tension, etc). They speak of the “freedom” that comes from playing shoulder-rest-less and the ease of playing. :cool:

However, many who have longer necks but have also had their Kuns removed have resorted to other shoulder rests. The Wolf, the Viva, the BonMusica, and the Comford, among others, have all gained a fair portion of use in the string playing world. The Comford fixes the problem by using four feet instead of two (but is notoriously difficult to fit inside the case), the BonMusica is stiffer and has stickier gripping feet and a more customizeable shape (but is also more expensive), and the Wolf can be tightened infinitesimally (wherease the Kun can only be tightened discretely for each different size instrument, due to a “one-size-fits all” mentality). Among this camp are also those who use more eclectic combinations of foam and rubber sponges and blocks of wood, plastic, velcro, rubberbands—many quite ingenious combinations have thus been invented!

It must be acknowledged that a certain mystique surrounds this phenomena. Some imaginative people have postulated that a magical force holds the Kun in place, and that the Kun dis-ease is an evil scheme of Lord Voldemort :evil: to take over the orchestras of the world. For motivation they cite Voldemort’s arch-enemy, Dumbledore, as once having told his students that music “is a magic far beyond all we do here”. If this is true, then You-Know-Who must of course be planning to thwart all musicians. (However, music students must note that all Suzuki teachers have been informed of this ploy and that the excuse “You-Know-Who kept me from practicing” :roll: will no longer be accepted at lessons.)


Laura said: Jun 12, 2009
Suzuki Association Member
358 posts

Ha ha—thanks!!! :D

So the problem seems to be with the rests, then.

said: Jun 14, 2009
 17 posts

It’s not just Kuns. My old shoulder (a Mach 1) rest fell of during practice, rhearsal, concert, you name it!

said: Jun 14, 2009
 18 posts

I don’t know why they fall off so much, but we solved the problem by putting the shoulder rest on slightly diagonally across the back of the violin so it spanned a wider section. (the end under the chin rest is slightly closer to my son’s neck and the other end is farther away)

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