Vio Strap

Jennifer Visick said: Jun 26, 2011
Jennifer VisickForum Moderator
Suzuki Association Member
Viola, Suzuki Early Childhood Education, Suzuki in the Schools, Violin
1069 posts

OK—Has anyone here ever used this or seen anyone using it?

The concept of using leverage from a hook or strap around the neck intrigues me, not least because I desperately wanted something like this when, some years back, I was recovering from a car accident and couldn’t hold the instrument up for more than 5 minutes at a time. (My physical therapist, after sizing up the problem, suggested that the ideal thing would be to have the instrument suspended from the ceiling at the ideal height so that I could just walk up to it and play without having to hold up the weight while I was recovering).

I’m considering getting one just to see how (well) it works. Seems like it might be a little uncomfortable around the neck…

(On the much, much more expensive side, there’s this thing: which looks like it would do a better job of what my PT suggested, more comfortably… If I had known about it back then, I just might have been desperate enough to pay the asking price for it)

Cynthia Faisst said: Aug 6, 2011
Cynthia FaisstViolin, Suzuki Early Childhood Education
Irvine, CA
126 posts

Hey Jen :

I’m most curious if you made a decision about the violin rest. I have seen Jesus Florido wearing one with his electric violin. I have wondered if it could possibly be used for other instruments.

He might let you try the feel of his before you decide. The trick is to catch him in town.

Ms. Cynthia
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.

Teresa said: Aug 6, 2011
Teresa Skinner
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Viola
69 posts

Aloha RaineJen-
I went to the Balanced Shoulder Rest web site a couple of weeks ago and inquired if they made this rest for viola. Still haven’t heard back, which is sad. I’d be willing to get one if I knew it would fit my gigantic viola!
Great idea this shoulder rest… customer service? Not certain.

…if you listen to the music, it tells you what to do…

Ruth Brons said: Aug 6, 2011
Ruth Brons
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Viola
West Orange, NJ
150 posts

Actually a HAPPYNEX® violin stretchy cloth support tie found its way into my studio this spring,
and it sat on my piano unused in my basket of tricks for a while.

Then, in a desperate moment to keep a violin on a the shoulder of a 3 year old student long enough to actually get some work done,
I decided to give it a try and I admit I was surprised how well it worked.
The student thought it was funny, the violin stayed put and the lesson got done with joy.
I sent it home with that student, and when she was done with it I sent it home with another little one.
At this point I am not sure where it is spending the summer!

Comfortable, secure, and ridiculously simple, it could definitely be of use anyone of any age needing assistance keeping the violin up.

Anna said: Aug 9, 2011
 145 posts

Yes it looks like it would be fantastic for these very heavy electric violins.
I saw a viola player about 30 years ago using a piece of chord round his neck to support his enormous viola. He was a great player too, played in a 1st class string quartet the Allegri Quartet who were on a power with the Amadeus Quartet

Jennifer Visick said: Aug 10, 2011
Jennifer VisickForum Moderator
Suzuki Association Member
Viola, Suzuki Early Childhood Education, Suzuki in the Schools, Violin
1069 posts

Ok, so what is the happynex made of?

Ruth Brons said: Aug 10, 2011
Ruth Brons
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Viola
West Orange, NJ
150 posts

The Happynex fabric, cut like a long scarf, seemed to be a elastic-y sort of synthetic knit fabric, very similar to that which most of my go-to concert black long skirts seem to be made of. I was half tempted to just go upstairs and take a scissors to an old skirt to make some more violin slings. The one I came across was black, but their website has white and some color options as well. I remember my young students liking the silky, soft feel of the fabric. The fabric had enough stretchy give to it to be comfortable, yet no so much that one feared the instrument would droop.

Alison Fujito said: Aug 19, 2011
 6 posts

Hi, Rainejen, I had a bad accident a few years ago, too, and really wrecked my left shoulder—severe dislocation, torn tendons, torn ligament, torn cartilage, etc, and surgery (ugh). My disability insurance had me work with an ergonomist, who wondered why there was no such thing as a violin strap.

That was when I ended up switching to the Bon Musica (after trying literally every shoulder rest in creation, as is and modified!). It took a lot of tweaking to get it to fit the way I needed it to—but it is extremely tweakable! (I just wish it were more attractive, but at least it works the way I need it to.)

I hope you have fully recovered!

Jennifer Visick said: Aug 19, 2011
Jennifer VisickForum Moderator
Suzuki Association Member
Viola, Suzuki Early Childhood Education, Suzuki in the Schools, Violin
1069 posts

I settled on a BonMusica as well (for my viola)—and I spent a good amount of time tweaking it. A little on the expensive side for a shoulder rest, but designed with customization in mind (although I think I twisted, bent, tweaked and customized it more than the original designers had in mind).

I once forgot my shoulder rest when I went to a music festival in Prague, and one of the violinists in my quartet at the time lent me a Resonans (which is a very cheap, and not-so-great-right-out-of-the-box shoulder rest). To which I promptly rubberbanded a few red cosmetic sponges and then bent and twisted the frame into a shape very similar to my BonMusica. After which the violinist looked at it and said something to the effect of “I didn’t know you could do that—now it actually looks like a use-able shoulder rest”.

In any case it wasn’t as “stable” or as tall as a BonMusica can be, but it was much, much better than the original shape and better than nothing. Which just goes to show that with enough physical strength and the right kind of goal in your head, you can (and should) bend any shoulder rest with a metal frame until it’s closer to the inverse natural shape of your own shoulder (or your student’s shoulder). Oh, and always keep a few of those invaluable red rubber sponges handy.

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