Fiddleheads.ca Technique Advice and FAQs
Q: I just purchased a Bon Musica shoulder rest and I'm afraid I really don't understand how to fit it properly. Are there any suggestions that you could give me?
Any suggestions would be most gratefully appreciated!
Answer from Rhiannon
Thank you for your email. I strive to serve my customers exceptionally well and hope my input is the best you will receive.
I have fitted many of these rests on my students and customers and the best bit of advice I have is to make the rest contour your body.
Most players do not fit the angle of the rest, so you may have to lean it one way or another. By this I mean you should have the long black band lean to one side or another and not be parallel to the back of the violin.
That said, I usually place the feet of the rest at the widest point of the violin, straight across the violin's "hips." By swivelling the feet a bit you get different balance points, this can change where it rests on your chest.
And remember the metal parts are bendable, so make the flat part with foam contact as much of your body as possible. The more of you the rest can touch, the more the violin can lean into you and be more an extension of your arms. So feel free to lightly bend the metal hook and opposite end so that they touch your body and there is no space between the Bon Musica and your chest and shoulder.
As for where the Bon Musica rests on your body, the place where straps rest on your shoulder is the most natural place for things to sit and feel comfortable. It's almost like adjusting a bra or a heavy packpack on your shoulders; you know the best fit!!
Finally, make sure your shoulder is in a completely relaxed, non-playing position when you try the rest on. No raised shoulder at all. This will keep your shoulder rest doing the job for you and keep your neck, shoulder, arm and everything relaxed and pain-free.
The first time you fit it may be a 2-person job to get it right.
This advice is useful for adjusting a violin or viola Bon Musica shoulder rest and applies to all sizes and for all players.
Please let us know if my advice made a difference for you.
Feedback from the original customer seeking input
I just wanted to thank you for your helpful advice and let you know that I LOVE my Bon Musica shoulder rest. I think I still have some minor adjustments to do but I'm really happy with it.
My viola teacher was trained by the 'you-should-never-need-a-shoulder-rest' method and she only uses a small sponge (although she admits her professor was a big jowly man who didn't need any kind of padding, his was 'built in'!) Thankfully, my teacher believes that anything that makes playing more comfortable should be used by her students.
Thanks again! -