Price: Ranges depending on size
Best Place To Buy: Ebay
Size: All sizes available
My Rating: 9.5 out of 10
Why Use Bonmusica
Correct beginner technique is the single most important thing that a developing violinist can work towards and since discovering the Bonmusica violin shoulder rest, my students have experienced greater and quicker success with their developing technique.
For many years, I used and recommended the Everest violin shoulder rest and while I still use the Everest myself, I have begun recommending the Bonmusica to my students; especially those who are just starting out or who have issues with the way they hold and support their violin.
Holding your violin correctly and comfortably is an exceedingly important part of good technique. Your violin belongs on your left shoulder up and to the side and if it doesn’t stay there, this will have a negative impact on a plethora of important technical skills, especially those that must be developed with strength in the first year of learning.
Essentially, if you’re going to spend money on a shoulder rest, you might as well buy something that does the job REALLY well rather than something that might only make minimal difference.
Beginner technique is just SO important and although a better violin will enhance your sound quality, if it’s a choice between a supportive shoulder rest and an expensive instrument, I’d recommend the supportive shoulder rest every time.
The following slides show how Natalie holds her violin using the Bonmusica Violin Shoulder rest; note how her violin is simply unable to slip into the incorrect position.
Encourages Correct PostureEliminates the need to ‘grab’ the violn with your shoulder or chinPosition Remains CorrectViolin sits and STAYS on your shoulder
Playing The Violin Shouldn’t Hurt!
A few months ago, I received a phone call from Elsa’s mum. Elsa had stopped learning violin because of the extreme discomfort and pain that she was experiencing whenever she played. As well as using a violin that was too big for her, Elsa was tensing up her shoulder and neck in order to keep her violin in place.
Before even meeting with Elsa, I was quite confident that the correct shoulder rest would make all the difference. As soon as I fitted her violin with one of my Bonmusica shoulder rests, Elsa was able to loosen up and hold her violin without the pain or discomfort that she had previously experienced.
This is because the Bonmusica violin shoulder rest is designed to ‘grab’ onto your shoulder and prevent the violin from slipping out of its correct position.
I am happy to say that Elsa doesn’t want to quit her violin journey anymore and is moving forward very nicely.
Bonmusica Encourages Correct Posture
It goes without saying that if you’re tensing up your shoulder and neck, posture and stance are also going to suffer. Indeed, Elsa could not hold her violin up and to the side and was pushing her left hip forward as she used her body to ‘grab’ the violin and hold it in place.
Because the Bonmusica shoulder rest holds the violin in place, there is no need for you to use any part of your body to do this.
Correct posture is an absolutely fundamental aspect of beginner technique and when not developed early on, can lead to many problems later on.
Bonmusica For Your Left Hand Also
Before using the Bonmusica shoulder rest, Elsa’s violin was slipping off her shoulder and to the front far too much. This created an unnatural angle for her left hand and fingers. To compensate, she was lying her left wrist to the side and unable to create the mouse hole. As well as her fingers needing to lie to the side when on the A and E strings, she was not able to loosen up her wrist or thumb, thus creating tension and discomfort.
Because the Bonmusica violin shoulder rest essentially forces you to hold your violin up and to the side, your left fingers and hand fall naturally into the place they are supposed to go; it is virtually impossible to lie your left hand to the side and squash your mouse when the placement of the left hand is correct.
Bonmusica Helps Develop Straight Bows
Straight, controlled bows are just another essential aspect of beginner violin technique. It might seem unreasonable to attribute good bowing technique to a quality shoulder rest but there is definite merit in choosing a shoulder rest which keeps your violin in the right place as you play.
If your violin is falling to the front of your body too much, straight, controlled bows will only be possible if you commit one or more of the following technical sins:
- – Moving your right shoulder backwards too much
- – Allowing your right bowing wrist to tense up or change orientation
- – Allowing your left arm to close up and become tense and misshapen.
Because the Bonmusica violin shoulder rest keeps your violin up and to the side so easily, crooked or weak bows will not result from the position of your violin; employing correct right hand and arm technique will guarantee straight, controlled bows.
So What’s The Catch?
At nearly $100.00 (AU) a pop, Bonmusica is an exceedingly expensive shoulder rest, especially if you’re only playing on a $200.00 violin!
This being said, you just cannot put a dollar value on the development of correct technique. Sure, you might be lucky and not need an expensive shoulder rest to keep your violin in the right place but even just for the superior comfort, I think it’s definitely a worthwhile investment.
Some beginner or intermediate students will buy an expensive Gliga or Suzuki violin and then use an inferior shoulder rest. Sure these better quality instruments can make a superior sound to many of their cheaper counterparts, but you will be unable to access this superior sound due to poor technique. Indeed when you’re first starting out, a better shoulder rest trumps a better violin every time!
Another downside of the Bonmusica is that you need to buy a new shoulder rest for each size violin that you use. With many shoulder rests, one model will be suitable for a number of different sized violins. So over the years, although an investment in your musical future, the cost of working with Bonmusica will add up.
What Else Is Out There?
There are many different brands of shoulder rests that I’ve worked with in the past. If you’re not wanting to splash out on a Bonmusica, I’d recommend the Everest which comes in a variety of great colours and offers reasonable support as long as you fit it correctly and put your violin in the correct position.
Whatever you do, avoid shoulder rests that are ‘fixed’ in their position; everyone is different and no matter what shoulder rest you buy, you want to be able to move it around to suit your individual body shape.
Best of luck with your shoulder rest shopping!
I hope you’ve found this review useful and please remember that if you ever you have any questions about shoulder rests or anything else violin related, leave a comment in the comment section below and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible.
Founder of myviolinbff.com